This display had a long lead time in terms of warnings, and I was well-prepared for this one. In fact, I had warned several people about the impending display. This included an administrator here at the University with whom I chatted at a new faculty orientation earlier in the day. I got a "thank you" call from him the following week, since he and several of his friends and family went out and saw it. (OK, so this is apropos nothing, but I don't get the chance to impress a University bigwig very often ;)
OK, back to the aurora. First, during dusk just before I left for the 15 minute drive to my observing site, I filed this report in my weather log:
SP 2055 I believe it's already visible NW with significant twilight! good clearing along N, heading out
It had been mostly cloudy during the afternoon with isolated showers and thunderstorms. In our dry climate, showers usually die off by sunset, but on this night, scattered t-storms lingered in the Laramie Valley past midnight. Luckily we had some breaks in the clouds at times and had some good viewing during the peak of activity. I say "we" because about 10 minutes after I arrived, graduate students Matthias and Sarah showed up (I had been in contact with Matthias most of the evening as we monitored Internet sources for geomagnetic field information).
All times are local time (UT minus 6 hours):
The Boulder K-index peaked at 8 during the height of the display, but gradually decreased through the rest of the night and I didn't go back out.
I didn't advance the film far enough so I lost the first photo. However, the next three photos came out quite nice and I have included these. The photos were all taken with a 35mm f/2.8 lens set at f/4 on Kodak Royal Gold 1000.
I want to comment on the colors in the photos. This is the first time I've seen a violet color in my photos and this also appeared in Matthias' photos. I spent about 20 minutes studying the negatives from these and other auroral displays, and the typical red color appears as a fairly pale green on the negatives. However, the violet color in these photos appears as an olive green or army green on the negatives. Thus, I believe that this color is real. In addition, I did include a "normal" photo on the roll and the processor did a good job with the color balance on that one.
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File last modified: 04 December 2004