Albany, Missouri: 40 degrees North Latitude
A most remarkable northern lights (aurora borealis) display as seen from here in Albany, Missouri. There were two previous solar storms of note in recent times occurring in 1991 and 2001. They both occurred in early November while this one occurred just a few days earlier in late October. This display was very similar to the one in 2001 but did not equal the intensity, longevity, and visible movement of the "Great Aurora" of 1991. I used my old and trusty Nikon FG camera and Albinar 28mm wide angle lens to get the main shot below. The aperture was set to wide open at f/2.8. These images were scanned directly from the prints that I have. The camera was mounted on a tripod for about a 45 second exposure. The view is looking towards the north from my home on 13th street in Albany, Missouri. There are streetlights in the shot with differing types of lamps (Mercury - Sodium) which account for the different colors visible.
Below is a picture of the sunspot that caused the aurora above. I took this picture of the sunspot four days before the aurora event above occurred not really knowing that it would produce such vivid auroras. The sunspot group photo was taken with a properly filtered telescope and digital camera. Only part of the sun is visible in the photograph. For scale the earth would probably be about the size of the letter O that I have typed here.
Below are my posts to the Internet typed while the aurora event was going on. It captures my thoughts as the event was unfolding right before my eyes.
0:38 UT 10-30-2003
I am reporting a solid green auroral band across my northern horizon
from here in Albany, Missouri. Reaches about 20 degrees up right
now. No movement noted other than it was first noticed in the
northeast and moved to the northwest. No reds noted yet. I'm going
WOW WOW WOW
I am reporting vivid greens and reds and in shafts. This is bigger
than 1991. Reaching 40 degrees up plus... Heading back out.
The activity has moved on to the northwest and has subsided. Ghostly
green glow still hugs the horizon with some reds to the northwest.
Incredible but brief display. I take it back about being better
than 1991. Impressive visually but not a long display like
1991. . Auroral curtains were incredible for a little while
reaching 40 degrees and higher. Maybe that was only round #1
Photographic Technical Details:
Camera: Nikon FG
Lens: Albinar 28mm set at f/2.8
Exposure: several minutes on each shot.
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