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                   Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 9:28AM CDT

October 24 aurora borealis event

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
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I debated posting these, as I thoroughly missed out on the best of this event. But, due to the search traffic the site is getting for auroras/northern lights (and to make up for all of the non-weather/sky subject matter this month) I decided to post something up. The best of these occured roughly an hour before I saw the social media frenzy about it and finally made it outside. By then, the show was for the most part over - aside from a faint red and green glow invisible to the eye, but enough for a camera to pick up with a long exposure. The intensity of the auroras tonight was totally unexpected, a result of a rather weak and non-earth-directed solar coronal mass ejection (CME). Compounding the problem of missing the show was thick cirrus clouds, though there was just enough of a break to catch the red arc higher in the sky.

These are both just outside of New Baden, both two minute exposures at F4.5 and ISO 400 at 10mm.

October 24 auroras
Click to enlarge

October 24 auroras
Click to enlarge

Based on the photos I've seen, the brightness of the auroras at their peak was comparable to the good displays I saw and shot in November 2001 and November 2004, though unfortunately they only lasted a very short time this night. The sun has been active lately, so there may be more of these shows to come over the next few months and beyond.

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