30 October 2003: Boulder, Colorado

This was the second "night" of activity. I only observed in the evening, so this was still on October 29th Mountain Time, but October 30th Universal Time.

As I recommended to other people, I arrived at my site about 6 miles west-southwest of Boulder before it got dark. With significant twilight still present, I could see what I thought was hints of some red auroral activity. This photograph confirmed that impression and should serve as a reminder that activity can occur at any time of the night if conditions are right:

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By the time it got dark, that had faded to just a weak green glow low in the north. However, this glow began to creep higher in the sky and get very bright. Luckily, the clouds mostly stayed away during this time. By the time the following photo was taken, the glow was an eerie, huge semicircle reaching up above the North Star and stretching from just south of northwest to just south of northeast. The photo doesn't really do the scene justice. You can see the Big Dipper lying horizontally along the bottom of the frame. The pointer stars on the right are pointing to Polaris, just off the top of the frame.

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After this, two things happened. First, the display started to weaken. Second, the local utility company arrived at the parking lot to work on a power pole, shining their floodlights all over the place. With the auroral activity calming down, I decided to head back toward Boulder to the summit of Flagstaff Mountain, just west of town.

On that day, a significant wildfire had developed less than 10 miles northwest of Boulder. Although a strong cold front and attendent snow and freezing drizzle shut down the fire overnight, during the day more than a dozen homes in the rugged foothills terrain were lost. This photo shows a weak auroral glow peeking through the clouds, and overlooking the glow from the fire and smoke at about 8pm:

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I missed the 3rd night of activity due to lingering winter weather. It may have been the best of the bunch.

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File last modified: 01 December 2004

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