This spring has been big for fans of the aurora borealis. Shelby took created this photo of five, 1-min tracked shots blended with an untracked foreground shot the night of March 13/14th in Copper Harbor. It shows a phenomenon I’d never heard of, a Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement aka STEVE about which Space.com says (in part):
A typical aurora — sometimes called the northern lights or the southern lights, depending on the hemisphere in which it’s located — occurs when charged particles from the sun interact with Earth’s oxygen and nitrogen molecules. This interaction excites the molecules and causes them to glow.
But STEVE, formally known as Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, is different. In the Northern Hemisphere, the phenomenon is visible from areas farther south than a typical aurora, and it looks like a ribbon of pink or mauve light. Sometimes, STEVE even has a “picket fence” appearance, with green columns of light passing through the ribbon. Auroras, by contrast, usually are shimmering green ribbons.
…The new study examined satellite data gathered above STEVE events in April 2008 and May 2016. The measurements included information about Earth’s magnetic and electrical fields in the magnetosphere, the region of Earth’s atmosphere where the planet’s magnetic field is stronger than any influence coming from the sun. Then, scientists compared the satellites’ findings with amateur photos of STEVE taken from the ground at the same time.
When STEVE was on display, the study authors realized, energetic electrons were pouring into Earth’s ionosphere, the layer of the planet’s atmosphere where atoms lose electrons due to solar and cosmic radiation. The friction that flood creates heats particles, which creates the pinkish glow, almost like an incandescent light bulb.
Satellite information further revealed how the “picket fence” aspect of STEVE develops. The data revealed waves moving from Earth’s magnetosphere to the ionosphere. In this region, the waves can both energize electrons and move them out of the magnetosphere, creating the picket-fence appearance, which happens simultaneously in the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
Lots more at Space.com.
Lots more northern lights on Michigan in Pictures!
Depending on who you ask, there’s as few as four Great Lakes because Michigan & Huron are sort of the same lake, and as many as six if you include Lake St. Clair. Whatever the case, we’ll allow it for the purposes of this photo of the blue waters of St. Clair. Have a great weekend & see more in Emanuel’s Michigan gallery on Flickr!
Shelby got an absolutely stunning shot of the aurora borealis on Saturday night on Lake Superior’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Head over to ShelbyDiamondstar Photography on Facebook for more!
My friend Noah lives in Frankfort & shares:
I just actually hit one of my dream shots 30 minutes ago. I have been waiting years for this one. Felt so good to line it up, realize my timing, rise to the occasion, and just all smiles and tears. Completely made my day. Thankful for these moments and how happy photography can make me. #puremichigan #michigan
Rode up to Mackinaw yesterday and checked out the blue ice. Huge chunks and most phenomenal. The ice, however, is not actually turning blue. The color is a result of the way sunlight is bouncing off this particular ice.
Sometimes, weather conditions — such as a lack of high winds — allow water to freeze slowly and evenly, resulting in ice composed of large crystals (unlike snow, which is formed quickly and made up of small crystals).
When light hits these big ice crystals, it can travel deep into the structures (compare this to snow, wherein light hits a sharp edge and reflects off of it right away, resulting in blinding white). When the light travels deeper into slowly formed ice, some of the red wavelengths of sunlight — which is the longest wavelength of visible light — get absorbed into the ice structure.
The blue, which is the shortest wavelength of visible light, bounces back out, meet our eyes, and results in a deep aqua color.
See more in her Winter gallery on Flickr!
We’re getting to the portion of the winter where the ice begins to build out on the Great Lakes. As a person who grew up on Lake Michigan, I’ve enjoyed the ice safely for decades & will undoubtedly continue to do so and also to share photos of the incredible beauty of the frozen lakes. I want to make sure however that folks understand venturing on the ice in winter can be deadly, particularly if you don’t take precautions. Though EMT workers know this and train to help people in peril, if you fall into one of the Great Lakes, you will very probably die. You can read more of my thoughts on this post on Michigan in Pictures.
Bill took this last weekend in South Haven & writes:
It’s 16 degrees at the beach – this is what the cool kids are wearing on South Beach, South Haven. These three are with the South Haven Area Fire-Rescue-EMS and were out to practice a little cold-water rescue, ‘cuz, unfortunately, someone is gonna need it sooner or later.
This is one of the best shots I’ve seen showing how the structure of pancake ice is basically “round iceberg”. The Weather Channel explains the science behind pancake ice:
The circular slabs you see can range anywhere from one to 10 feet in diameter and up to four inches thick, typically forming in areas with at least some wave action and air temperatures just below freezing.
Pancake ice can begin as a thin ice layer (known as grease ice) or slush on the water surface, which accumulates into quasi-circular disks. The “lily pad,” or raised-edge appearance of pancake ice, can form when each disk bumps up against one another, or when slush splashes onto and then freezes on the slab’s edge.
Julie caught this picture last week in Charlevoix’s channel to Lake Michigan. See more in her Coronavirus Times 2021 gallery on Flickr.
The Leelanau Ticker reports that the Michigan Fish Producers Association (MFPA) has filed a class action lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to protect the future commercial fishing in Leland’s Fishtown and the rest of the Great Lakes:
In its lawsuit, the MFPA alleges that the DNR is retaliating against the industry’s opposition to a series of bills considered by the Michigan Legislature last year. The complaint also alleges that the imposition of new rules under the DNR’s Fishing Order 243.21, which took effect January 8, was an attempt to punish commercial fishers for their involvement in the political process.
Fishtown Preservation Society (FPS) Executive Director Amanda Holmes says the complexities surrounding the laws for commercial fishing is nothing new for the State of Michigan and for Fishtown. “One of the reasons that Bill Carlson and his family decided to let go of Fishtown was because of the challenges to the commercial fishing industry — they fought long and hard and then decided to let it go.” (In June of 2006, the nonprofit FPS reached an agreement to purchase Fishtown for $2.8 million for the Fishtown real estate and $200,000 for the two fishing boats, fishing licenses and equipment from the Carlson family.) Carlson’s Fishery continues to operate as a processor and distributor, buying fish from commercial fishers and selling it locally and through wholesale channels.
Holmes tells the Leelanau Ticker, “Fishtown the place would continue without commercial fishing, but one the things that makes Fishtown so exceptional and special is its unbroken and documented heritage of commercial fishing for nearly two centuries.”
If the new fishing order rules stand: “The limitations on the fishing depths and the season alone will make it a challenge to fish out of Fishtown. What this means is that…a way of life is at risk of closure,” says Holmes.
Read on for more in the Leelanau Ticker.
Mark took this photo back in December of 2018. See his latest at Downstreamer on Flickr