APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

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APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by APOD Robot » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:06 am

Image Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland

Explanation: What's going on behind that volcano? Quite a bit. First of all, the volcano itself, named Kirkjufell, is quite old and located in western Iceland near the town of Grundarfjörður. In front of the steeply-sloped structure lies a fjord that had just began to freeze when the above image was taken -- in mid-December of 2012. Although quite faint to the unaided eye, the beautiful colors of background aurorae became quite apparent on the 25-second exposure. What makes this image is of particular note, though, is that also captures streaks from the Geminids meteor shower -- meteors that might not have been evident were the aurora much brighter. Far in the distance, on the left, is the band of our Milky Way Galaxy, while stars from our local part of the Milky Way appear spread across the background. This weekend the Perseids meteor shower will peak and may well provide sky enthusiasts with their own memorable visual experiences.

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Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by ta152h0 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:36 am

WOW not only a work of art but instructional as well. I like the annotated version. Now how did you get the points of light ( stars ) to be focused and the volcano also to be focused ?
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Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by Boomer12k » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:16 am

Wow....Awesome...

Wolf....if you go to the big picture you should see that the stars are not all that focused but have a small streak to them...because of the 25 second exposure...

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Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by geckzilla » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:01 am

Boomer12k wrote:Wow....Awesome...

Wolf....if you go to the big picture you should see that the stars are not all that focused but have a small streak to them...because of the 25 second exposure...

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I'm sure that the majority of the elongation is caused by the lens distortion that happens near the edges of a wide angle shot like this and not the rotation of the earth.
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Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by fausto.lubatti » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:25 am

Wonderful shot!

grids7

Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by grids7 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:08 am

Great pic! Why do some stars show as points, while others show as streaks, in the reflection off the water? Are those streaks processing artifacts?

jambo

Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by jambo » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:39 am

(...had just BEGUN to freeze...)

jambo

Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by jambo » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:44 am

(What makes this image of particular note...)

K1NS

Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by K1NS » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:12 pm

One other thing makes this image "of particular note." There are no trees.

When Europeans first arrived in Iceland, I believe in the 12th century, the land was about 50% forested. They cleared the land for agriculture and grazing, and today Iceland is nearly treeless. This is another sad example of humans abusing their home planet, but I guess it makes it easier to see the stars, yeah?

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Post by neufer » Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:01 pm

K1NS wrote:
One other thing makes this image "of particular note." There are no trees.

When Europeans first arrived in Iceland, I believe in the 12th century, the land was about 50% forested. They cleared the land for agriculture and grazing, and today Iceland is nearly treeless. This is another sad example of humans abusing their home planet, but I guess it makes it easier to see the stars, yeah?
  • And it makes it easier to see the forest: :tree: :tree: :tree:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceland wrote: <<When [Iceland] was first settled, it was extensively forested. In the late 12th-century Íslendingabók, Ari the Wise (Ari hinn fróði) described it as "forested from mountain to sea shore". Permanent human settlement greatly disturbed the isolated ecosystem of thin, volcanic soils and limited species diversity. The forests were heavily exploited over the centuries for firewood and timber. Deforestation, climatic deterioration during the Little Ice Age and overgrazing by sheep caused a loss of critical topsoil due to erosion. Today, many farms have been abandoned and three-quarters of Iceland's hundred thousand square kilometres are affected by soil erosion, 18,000 km2 so seriously as to be useless. Only a few small birch :tree: :tree: :tree: stands now exist in isolated reserves.
......................................................
In the years 2003–2007, following the privatization of the banking sector, Iceland moved from being a nation best known for its fishing industry toward having an economy based on financial services and investment banking. It was quickly becoming one of the most prosperous countries in the world before getting hit hard by a major financial crisis. Relative to the size of its economy, Iceland’s systemic banking collapse is the largest suffered by any country in economic history. The crisis resulted in the greatest migration from Iceland since 1887, with a net emigration of 5,000 people in 2009. Iceland's economy stabilized under the government of Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, and grew by 1.6% in 2012, but many Icelanders remained unhappy with the state of the economy and government austerity policies.>>
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Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by neufer » Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:06 pm

jambo wrote:
(What makes this image of particular note...)
[It] also captures streaks from the Geminids meteor shower --
[pronouns] that might not have been evident were the aurora much brighter.
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Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by BDanielMayfield » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:10 pm

Volcanoes, meteors, and aurora, oh my! This is an absolutely GREAT PHOTO! I love photos of aurora, especially ones including red.

But Wow, if only the volcano had been erupting! Imagine it shooting out a fountain of red hot lava, with a stream or two cascading down the side! And then, if the photo had also included a smoking exploding bolide meteor! What a shot that would have been! It would have looked like a snap shot from the Precambrian.

I have zero chance of seeing aurora at my latitude. This may account for my whining about what could have made the shot even better. Ahww, I don’t want to be a whiner! :facepalm: :wink:
Just as zero is not equal to infinity, everything coming from nothing is illogical.

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Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:32 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:I have zero chance of seeing aurora at my latitude.
It's happened, and fairly recently. You have a small, but certainly non-zero chance to see an aurora from the south of Texas. You probably even have a fair chance of imaging a photographic aurora like this one from your location.
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Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by Ann » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:49 pm

K1NS wrote:One other thing makes this image "of particular note." There are no trees.

When Europeans first arrived in Iceland, I believe in the 12th century, the land was about 50% forested. They cleared the land for agriculture and grazing, and today Iceland is nearly treeless. This is another sad example of humans abusing their home planet, but I guess it makes it easier to see the stars, yeah?
I have been to Iceland only once, when I spent four hours there on my way to New York. We did get to some of the landscape near the Keflavik Airport. The ground looked like boiling lava which had coalesced before it had time to cool. Large, broken bubble-like basalt structures with razor-sharp edges were seen everywhere. I could hardly believe my eyes.

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Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by neufer » Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:21 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
BDanielMayfield wrote:
I have zero chance of seeing aurora at my latitude.
It's happened, and fairly recently. You have a small, but certainly non-zero chance to see an aurora from the south of Texas. You probably even have a fair chance of imaging a photographic aurora like this one from your location.
  • However, Bruce has a zero chance of seeing aurora with that attitude.
http://sciencefocus.com/qa/what%E2%80%99s-furthest-south-northern-lights-have-been-seen wrote:
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
<<Produced by fast-moving particles from the Sun smashing into molecules in the upper atmosphere, the Aurora Borealis is normally thought of as something visible only above the Arctic Circle. Yet at times of high solar activity, they can be seen much further south: during the great solar storm of August and September 1859, the colours typical of aurorae were seen in Honolulu, just 21° north of the equator.

Historians have uncovered evidence suggesting that the southern hemisphere counterpart of the Northern Lights, the Aurora Australis, may have been witnessed even closer to the equator, with reports of the phenomenon being seen from Samoa in 1921, at a latitude of 13° south, and a disputed report from Singapore at just 8° south during the storm of 25 September 1909.>> - Tony McCrossan, Dublin
Last edited by neufer on Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by BDanielMayfield » Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:30 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
BDanielMayfield wrote:I have zero chance of seeing aurora at my latitude.
It's happened, and fairly recently. You have a small, but certainly non-zero chance to see an aurora from the south of Texas. You probably even have a fair chance of imaging a photographic aurora like this one from your location.
I'd say that you've got to be kidding Chris but I don't recall that you ever have. I live a little north of Corpus Christi at about 28 deg. 1 min. N.

And dosen't it take very powerful solar events hiting the earth just right (or wrong, if you depend on the grid for electricity) to drive an aurora this far south? With the weak solar maxium we're now going thru and the forecasts of continued sunspot weaking very deep aurora will likely be on the decline, I would think.

As to odds, I'd say that unless I travel way north my odds of photographing an aroral display would be much less that that of an Icelandic photographer capturing a photo of a bolide exploding during a heavy metor shower while auroras light up the sky over an erupting volcano. :ssmile:
Just as zero is not equal to infinity, everything coming from nothing is illogical.

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Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:52 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:I'd say that you've got to be kidding Chris but I don't recall that you ever have. I live a little north of Corpus Christi at about 28 deg. 1 min. N.
During the last solar max, between 2001 and 2004, we had some spectacular auroras in Colorado, and they were seen well down into the northern states of Mexico (indeed, in a few cases, in the tropics). Powerful auroras certainly are observed occasionally at your latitude (a few times a century, anyway). And photographic auroras are much more common.
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Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by Anthony Barreiro » Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:59 pm

Ann wrote:
K1NS wrote:One other thing makes this image "of particular note." There are no trees.

When Europeans first arrived in Iceland, I believe in the 12th century, the land was about 50% forested. They cleared the land for agriculture and grazing, and today Iceland is nearly treeless. This is another sad example of humans abusing their home planet, but I guess it makes it easier to see the stars, yeah?
I have been to Iceland only once, when I spent four hours there on my way to New York. We did get to some of the landscape near the Keflavik Airport. The ground looked like boiling lava which had coalesced before it had time to cool. Large, broken bubble-like basalt structures with razor-sharp edges were seen everywhere. I could hardly believe my eyes.

Ann
I spent a week in Iceland this past March. Our tour group stayed in Reykjavik and took day trips to the south coast and the interior. My understanding is that the aboriginal forest extended inland from the coast in most areas, but the geologically young volcanic interior was just as desolate as it is today. During the second world war the Americans built the airport on the Keflavik peninsula because the terrain was flat, open lava flows. During recent decades the Icelanders have been making a concerted effort to reforest their island. Because Iceland is so far north and the soil is so poor, trees grow very slowly. If you get lost in an Icelandic forest all you have to do is stand up and look over the tops of the trees to find your way.
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Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by neufer » Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:08 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
BDanielMayfield wrote:
I'd say that you've got to be kidding Chris but I don't recall that you ever have.
I live a little north of Corpus Christi at about 28 deg. 1 min. N.
During the last solar max, between 2001 and 2004, we had some spectacular auroras in Colorado, and they were seen well down into the northern states of Mexico (indeed, in a few cases, in the tropics). Powerful auroras certainly are observed occasionally at your latitude
(a few times a century, anyway).
  • So you should definitely get outside at night more often...maybe go see a show.
http://www.auroraartstheatre.com/about-us.html wrote: <<The Aurora Arts Theatre is a non-profit community theatre located on the southside of Corpus Christi, Texas. The goal and mission of the Aurora Arts Theatre is to provide live theatre entertainment for the community and patrons alike. We maintain a professional environment and hope to be a new staple in the growing circle of arts in the Corpus Christi area. Aurora Arts Theatre will bring a variety of works to the stage and in addition will encourage and promote work such as the Hispanic Arts and other local artists. With the talents and efforts of our community, the Aurora Arts Theatre will bring a variety of quality theatre to be explored and experienced by our growing community. It is our belief that the community will be enriched by the array of talent and theatre they will experience at the Aurora. Providing theatrical opportunities for people of all ages will enhance the theatre and attract new audiences. It is our hope that patrons will experience live theatre and find it an enriching form of entertainment and expression. The Aurora has a commitment to provide the community with a theatrical venue where the elements of theatre can be enjoyed, practiced, learned, and shared. It is our hope that all who enter our quaint theatre as a patron, guest, or volunteer will have a fun experience that will enrich their lives for years to come. You are sure to get a solid and fullfilling theatre experience in our quaint 100 seat house, as you enjoy a full consession of soda, beer and wine, as well as other edible goodies.>>
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Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by RJN » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:06 pm

After a good email exchange with a professional geologist who visited Kirkjufell only last week, I am changing the description of the object in the forground from "volcano" to "mountain" in the APOD text. Yes, it sits on -- and was created by -- old lava floes. But its shape was made by glaciers, and so it is wrong to describe it as a volcano. I apologize for the oversight. - RJN

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Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by BDanielMayfield » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:14 pm

neufer wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:
BDanielMayfield wrote:
I'd say that you've got to be kidding Chris but I don't recall that you ever have.
I live a little north of Corpus Christi at about 28 deg. 1 min. N.
During the last solar max, between 2001 and 2004, we had some spectacular auroras in Colorado, and they were seen well down into the northern states of Mexico (indeed, in a few cases, in the tropics). Powerful auroras certainly are observed occasionally at your latitude
(a few times a century, anyway).
  • So you should definitely get outside at night more often...maybe go see a show.
http://www.auroraartstheatre.com/about-us.html wrote: <<The Aurora Arts Theatre is a non-profit community theatre located on the southside of Corpus Christi, Texas. The goal and mission of the Aurora Arts Theatre is to provide live theatre entertainment for the community and patrons alike. We maintain a professional environment and hope to be a new staple in the growing circle of arts in the Corpus Christi area. Aurora Arts Theatre will bring a variety of works to the stage and in addition will encourage and promote work such as the Hispanic Arts and other local artists. With the talents and efforts of our community, the Aurora Arts Theatre will bring a variety of quality theatre to be explored and experienced by our growing community. It is our belief that the community will be enriched by the array of talent and theatre they will experience at the Aurora. Providing theatrical opportunities for people of all ages will enhance the theatre and attract new audiences. It is our hope that patrons will experience live theatre and find it an enriching form of entertainment and expression. The Aurora has a commitment to provide the community with a theatrical venue where the elements of theatre can be enjoyed, practiced, learned, and shared. It is our hope that all who enter our quaint theatre as a patron, guest, or volunteer will have a fun experience that will enrich their lives for years to come. You are sure to get a solid and fullfilling theatre experience in our quaint 100 seat house, as you enjoy a full consession of soda, beer and wine, as well as other edible goodies.>>
Thanks for the info on deep auroras y’all. And I don’t recall hearing about any widespread solar storm induced electrical mayhem during the period Chris mentioned. That’s good, since I wouldn’t want to hope for anything that would cause massive damage. (Not that hoping for anything could make it happen – not superstitious.)

Therefore I stand corrected, (although the northern states of Mexico are still mostly to my north). But I’m only conceding that my chance is non-zero, not that my odds are greater than an Icelandic photo of a volcanic eruption with lava under an aurora filled sky during a meteor shower with exploding bolide, IMO.

Wow, Art. I thought I had served up a nice hanging curve ball for you (looking forward to seeing a funny SNL “I don’t want to be a whiner” clip), but I guess that wouldn’t be abstruse enough. And thanks for the reference to the Aurora theater in Corpus. I live here but had never heard of it. My wife and I will have to check it out.

So seeing an aurora is based partly on latitude, is effected by attitude, but does being at higher altitude also help? Certainly being away from clouds and light pollution would be important too. My location down here is very often lousy for night sky observation due to clouds, high wind, morning fog, dust from caliche roads and farmers plowing up drought parched fields, and ever increasing light pollution. So, can you see why my attitude has become so hopeless Art? I think I’ll go get a glass of wine to go with my whining.
Just as zero is not equal to infinity, everything coming from nothing is illogical.

Rusty Brown

Re: APOD: Meteors and Aurorae over Iceland (2013 Aug 07)

Post by Rusty Brown » Thu Aug 08, 2013 3:31 am

The link to this year's Perseid Meteor shower is actually for 2012. Which explains why I couldn't get my mind around the moon rising just before dawn in the east. This week, the new moon is following the sun, not leading it.