September 4, 2012 Syracuse NE Sunset and Auroras

Short little chase this day down near Lincoln Nebraska. In short, storms fired in hot dry air(102/50something). Very high based storms almost reach 90s/70 air, but are too high to really use it anyway and die. I sat at this lake, praise owl rec area or something like that. I didn't search water out, just happened upon it getting off the highway and onto some gravel roads to stop and watch the storm die. Thankfully Evan, Tyler, Cody and Randy all showed up, which resulted in us all staying through sunset. Otherwise I'd have been halfway back home by the time this happened.

We had been blowing off the sunset potential just messing around, throwing rocks. Then all at once we began to notice it was going to go a little nuts. Grabbed our stuff and shot one of the most amazing ray displays I've seen, over almost glass water I really need something after the 10-22mm and before the 100-400mm lenses, other than my 50mm. I've gotten by this way for, oh, 10 years now lol. 50 was just too close and 10-22 just too wide. But they both worked I guess.

Tyler getting the low angle op.


Clouds in the water.

Rocks and clouds in the water. The sky color makes the water look crazy blue in a way.

So the storm sucked and that was a let down. The sunset made it easier to take. Then on the way home, I see space weather obs showing a big increase in solar wind velocity. Before I can get back, there's a KP6 level warning for the display. KP numbers are only so useful. Seen better stuff at KP4 than this KP6. But anyway, I'm driving back with that going on and keep thinking, there's lightning to the north, I'm going to get lightning and auroras. But really, just getting auroras is a bit of a chore here. After an hour or so, who knows, of me sitting on this road, finally....auroras. Reds were rather high up, a good 30 degrees. All the while I had storms to the north-northeast flashing with lightning, a good two times a second. But yeah they couldn't squeak out a dang cloud to ground or even any visible bolt. You have any idea just how hard it is to get aurora activity here AND then have it be timed with some storms too? Not good odds. Yet here it was, if only barely and if highly teasing the hell out of me. I knew sooner or later the blocking clouds would clear better and there'd be a visible tower or two with lightning, or at least a decent shot of that. Just needed auroras to keep going and get better.

That orange on the right is from those storms flickering away with lightning. I kept saying, do a dang cg! But no. There is crazy epic potential if you had a nice lit up tower without much else around and auroras. Sigh. This was oh so close to that.

Again I found myself wishing I had a lens between the 10-22 and 100-400, a fast one of course. The 50mm wasn't quite wide enough.

Give me a cloud to ground bolt or any bolt one can see! No, hidden incloud flashes is all. Yeah yeah better than nothing.

Here is the gap to the left/northwest where you can see down lower and the green arc in place.

Oh yeah and with this all was a nearly full moon providing light on things. This above is a two shot pano stitch. Once I lost the high up reds, which was fairly quick, I was lost in trying to get the lightning with the green arc. Least I thought to do this real quick.

Awhile later in the night, waiting on auroras to come back. You can see a super faint green low tinge up there. That's all there was to see now. I kept picturing a nice display with the moon-lit clouds, corn, and barn scene. But no, auroras are a fickle deal this far south. Least I got them. With some persistence it's not that hard to get them, even here. It is hard to get a great display of them though, even with a ton of persistence. You have to sit in the car for hours when you really think it's not going to happen and just want to go home and sleep. Solar wind obs help, but they only do so much.

I then get teased further with some towers finally producing cloud to ground strikes up there. I thought, why couldn't that red be there again now. But no lol.