November 5, 2013
This is a frightening statistic. More people vote in ‘American Idol’ than in any US election.
You’ll become a statistic whatever you do today. Here’s hoping you become one of the statistics who took a little time to make decisions about your community.
September 30, 2013
Make this the evening of October 2nd & 3rd – I misread the alert!
The latest Space Weather forecast says that S1 (Minor) solar radiation storm conditions are expected
tonight and tomorrow night Wednesday & Thursday night due to particle enhancement associated with the 29 Sep coronal mass ejection (CME). They have revised Thursday up from Minor to Moderate too!
That’s good enough reason to check in on Shawn Malone of Lake Superior Photo. Shawn takes amazing pictures of the Northern Lights and all things Upper Peninsula. This summer, her incredible North Country Dreamland video won the Viewers Choice in the 2013 Smithsonian in Motion video contest.
Much (much) more about the aurora borealis on Michigan in Pictures!
September 12, 2013
August 14, 2013
“I am beginning to love the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”
45 hours on the road with just few hours of sleep, in search of that one spot to capture the Perseids. The lashing rain, the forecasted aurora that never turned up and the hide and seek with the clouds – it was all fun. Was it all worth it, you bet! The road trip took me to one of the darkest skies of Mid Western US – Bond Falls. Would like to share with you a moment in time from that night. This was one of the two meteor I was able to capture on frame, but loved how everything came together in this shot. I do love when a plan comes together :)
The deafening sound of 500 gallons of water / second from 50 feet
The tranquil silence of the dark night
Milky way adorning the skies
A (Perseids) meteor fireball streaking across the horizon
Definitely a moment of serenity and one I would cherish!
More about Bond Falls at Michigan in Pictures.
August 6, 2013
EarthSky.org’s Meteor Shower Guide explains:
The Perseid meteor shower is perhaps the most beloved meteor shower of the year for the Northern Hemisphere. The shower builds gradually to a peak, often produces 50 to 100 meteors per hour in a dark sky at the peak, and, for us in the Northern Hemisphere, this shower comes when the weather is warm. The Perseids tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn. They radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus the Hero, but, as with all meteor shower radiant points, you don’t need to know Perseus to watch the shower; instead, the meteors appear in all parts of the sky. They are typically fast and bright meteors. They frequently leave persistent trains.
Every year, you can look for the Perseids around August 10-13. They combine with the Delta Aquarid shower to produce the year’s most dazzling display of shooting stars. In 2013, the Perseid meteors will streak across the short summer nights – August 10-13 – from late night until dawn, with little to no interference from the waxing crescent moon. Plus the moon will be near the planet Saturn in the evening hours, giving a colorful prelude to late-night Perseid show. Best mornings to look: August 11, 12 and 13.
Check out Everything you need to know about the Perseid Meteor Shower on EarthSky and also don’t miss Star Trails, the Perseid Meteor Shower and the Tears of St. Lawrence in the Michigan in Pictures archives!
More meteors on Michigan in Pictures.
One of my favorite photoblogs is the Earth Science Picture of the Day (EPOD), and sometimes you’ll see photos from Michigan in Pictures there and vice versa. The EPOD is produced by the NASA Earth Sciences Division, and every day their stalwart blogger Jim Foster works with photographers all over the planet to highlight amazing things. In June the EPOD posted a cool photo of a roll cloud over Calgary, explaining:
Roll clouds are a type of arcus cloud often associated with turbulent weather. As is the case here, they sometimes look like a horizontal tornado. Although these cylindrically shaped clouds look quite fierce and may be observed to roll about their horizontal axis, they don’t usually generate dangerous winds. Roll clouds are typically found behind outflow boundaries but unlike shelf clouds are detached from any close-by cumulonimbus cloud.
More wild Michigan weather on Michigan in Pictures!
June 18, 2013
March 19, 2013
March 14, 2013
Sometimes I see photos of certain places so much that I figure I’ve said all there is to say about them. Such was the case with one of one of Michigan’s most iconic lighthouses. I realized that although I’d seen hundreds of photos, I had no idea how “Big Red” in Holland got its name. Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light tells the story of the Holland Harbor Light from the construction of a timber frame beacon on the south pier in 1870 up until the 1930s when:
The Holland Lights were electrified in 1932. Equipped with a 5,000 candlepower incandescent electric bulb, the Fourth Order lens was now visible for a distance of 15 miles. The old steam-operated ten-inch fog whistle was removed from the fog signal building the following year, and replaced with an air operated whistle powered by an electric motor-driven compressor. In 1936, a square tower was erected at the west end of the fog signal building roof peak, and capped with an octagonal cast iron lantern, the lens from the pierhead beacon moved into the new lantern. The steel pierhead beacon was then removed from the pier and shipped to Calumet, where it was placed at the south end of the breakwater.
A Coast Guard crew arrived in Holland in 1956, and gave the combined fog signal building and lighthouse a fresh coat of bright red paint in order to conform to its “Red Right Return” standard, which called for all aids to navigation located on the right side of a harbor entrance to be red in coloration. Local residents thus began referring to the fifty year old structure as “Big Red,” a name which has stuck through the years. The Fourth Order lens was subsequently removed from the fog signal lantern in the late 1960’s, and replaced with a 250 mm Tidelands Signal acrylic optic.
Much more including photos at Seeing the Light.
Many more Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures!
The aurora borealis are one of the world’s most rare and wonderful sights and Michigan – especially the Upper Peninsula – is blessed with more than a few nights every year when this elusive phenomenon makes an appearance.
The Library of Congress page What Are the Northern Lights? calls on NASA’s Dr. Sten Odenwald, author of The 23rd Cycle, Learning to Live with a Stormy Star, to provide insight to how northern lights are formed:
The origin of the aurora begins on the surface of the sun when solar activity ejects a cloud of gas. Scientists call this a coronal mass ejection (CME). If one of these reaches earth, taking about 2 to 3 days, it collides with the Earth’s magnetic field. This field is invisible, and if you could see its shape, it would make Earth look like a comet with a long magnetic ‘tail’ stretching a million miles behind Earth in the opposite direction of the sun.
When a coronal mass ejection collides with the magnetic field, it causes complex changes to happen to the magnetic tail region. These changes generate currents of charged particles, which then flow along lines of magnetic force into the Polar Regions. These particles are boosted in energy in Earth’s upper atmosphere, and when they collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms, they produce dazzling auroral light.
We focus on the beauty, but as he explains:
“Aurora are beautiful, but the invisible flows of particles and magnetism that go on at the same time can damage our electrical power grid and satellites operating in space. This is why scientists are so keen to understand the physics of aurora and solar storms, so we can predict when our technologies may be affected.”
One benefit from the economic & security concerns of predicting space weather is that you can get some great northern light forecasts. My favorite is NOAA’s Space Weather Service. They reported a G1 storm on March 1st – it’s the lowest intensity on the Space Weather Scales but as you can see is still able to produce auroral activity!
Greg took this photo Saturday night just before midnight at Presque Isle in Marquette – check it out on black and in his slideshow. You can see more of Greg’s work on Michigan in Pictures, at michigannaturephotos.com and definitely follow him at Michigan Nature Photos on Facebook.