Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dispatch from an Undisclosed Location!

Melinda and I are on the road, at a location which, for the moment, will remain undisclosed. Our last post revealed we're in the Midwest, so you know a little of where we are.  The photo at left shows us on a little walk before dinner, across the road from where we're staying, so you can see we have water to our west towards the setting sun...

Dinner was great!  It was on the second floor of our motel, appropriately called "The Second Floor"!  Did you ever had a meal that made you sad when you finished, 'cause it was over?  That is how I felt about this meal.  It was a rib-eye steak dinner for $20, which included locally grown veggies and potatoes and in-house baked bread.  Everything was cooked perfectly and just melt-in-your-mouth good!

After dinner we returned to the same water-side location, and now the clues start to come in to our location.  As we waited for the first stars to come in from the twilight, Antares and Mars came into view very low to the SW.  Shortly after, Saturn popped into view closer to the horizon to their right.  And to their left, the Teapot Asterism of Sagittarius was also low in the sky.  Compare this picture to my self-portrait from last weekend atop Kitt Peak.  They were much higher in the sky from Arizona.

Looking to the north a little later - I was actually on the lookout for Northern Lights!  We've been north of 45 degrees latitude the last couple nights...  Though we had some local light pollution, I shot with the 14mm Samyang, as the above exposures are too for a wide-angle view.  This is a 30 second exposure that shows both the Big Dipper at lower left and Polaris, the North Star at top center.  From Southern Arizona, the Big Dipper would be diving below our northern horizon, so we are indeed considerably north!  While the stretching brought out a little green, I'm thinking it might be airglow other than aurora.  There is also a possibility that it is illuminated thin cirrus, or even scattered light from the local lights.  I'm going out in a few minutes to look again...   Locals have said they saw them a couple nights ago...

The last shot is a 40 second exposure to the SW now that it is totally dark.  It shows the sky glow of Green Bay at left, about 60 miles to the SW, and at right the glow of Marinette, Wisconsin and Menominee, Michigan, about 20 miles to the west.  Yes, we are on the north shore of the Door County peninsula, combining a Fall foliage trip with a search for aurora.  Last night was our best chance with an unstable geo-magnetic field, but of course it rained a good part of the night.  Today under clearing skies we had a pleasant drive from northern to eastern Wisconsin with lots of Fall colors, and our trip out to Ephraim showed a wide variety of orchards, cheese shops and shopping of all kinds.  Tomorrow requires our return to Illinois with Melinda's HS 40th reunion festivities tomorrow night and Saturday.  Sounds like a fun weekend!

No comments: