South Taurid Meteor Shower and Northern Lights!

photo date/id: view larger here: and yes, feel free to share!

FIREBALL!, photo by Ken Scott

Well, my farewell tour to Autumn lasted a whole day. What can you do with things to share like this though?

Yesterday NOAA’s Space Weather tipped us off that there was a chance of strong geomagnetic storms producing northern lights. Now NOAA forecasters are saying there’s a good chance of a strong, G3-class geomagnetic storm during the next 24 hours that could bring auroras as far south as southern Michigan and even into Illinois & Ohio! Top that off with clear skies in the forecast and that means EVERYONE in Michigan should make a point to get out to someplace dark tonight for better than average chance of seeing some killer aurora action!

It gets better though! EarthSky shares information about the South Taurid meteor shower that peaks on November 4th & 5th and is underway right now.

The meteoroid streams that feed the South (and North) Taurids are very spread out and diffuse. That means the Taurids are extremely long-lasting (September 25 to November 25) but usually don’t offer more than about 7 meteors per hour. That is true even on the South Taurids’ expected peak night. The Taurids are, however, well known for having a high percentage of fireballs, or exceptionally bright meteors. Plus, the other Taurid shower – the North Taurids – always adds a few more meteors to the mix during the South Taurids’ peak night. In 2015, the slim waning crescent moon coming up before dawn will not seriously obtrude on this year’s South Taurid meteor shower. The South Taurids should produce their greatest number of meteors in the wee hours – between midnight and dawn – on November 5. Remember, it’ll be possible to catch a fireball or two!

Late night November 12 until dawn November 13, 2015, the North Taurids

Like the South Taurids, the North Taurids meteor shower is long-lasting (October 12 – December 2) but modest, and the peak number is forecast at about 7 meteors per hour. The North and South Taurids combine, however, to provide a nice sprinkling of meteors throughout October and November. Typically, you see the maximum numbers at around midnight, when Taurus the Bull is highest in the sky.

Read on for info about where to look for the best chance – short answer is to the east between midnight and dawn!

Ken writes:

My friend Annette came up for a visit from Detroit and I wanted to show her some Perseid Meteors, so I got permission to work in the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Park after dark (thank you folks!) and well, we got more than we bargained for … a 4+ second fireball and unknown to us because they were hid by the trees and very dim … Aurora Borealis!!
and did I mention 2 ISS flybys!!
She paraphrased ‘we don’t see this in Detroit’ . . .
It was a good eve

View his photo bigger, see more in his massive Skies Above slideshow and enjoy this timelapse!

More northern lights and more meteors & meteor showers on Michigan in Pictures!

Autumnal Splendor at Lake of the Clouds

Autumnal Splendor

Autumnal Splendor, photo by Eric Hackney

True confession: I was asked to share less from northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. True answer: It’s really hard to turn my back on incredible visions like this! I will try and do better tomorrow. Promise. 

Also – new design for the blog. Not finished, but at least the pics are bigger. Thoughts & comments are appreciated.

Lake of the Clouds is one of the main attractions in the Porcupine Mountains State Park. Be sure to check out this interactive map & photo presentation from the Park that includes a 360-degree panorama from the spot atop Cuyahoga Peak where this photo was taken!

View Eric’s photo bigger and see more in his Landmarks & Landscapes slideshow.

PS: There’s more photos from Eric on Michigan in Pictures


(U.P.) Weather Gone Viral

Lake Superior Weather Channel Thunderstorm

Thunderhead over Superior, photo by Lake Superior Photo

Regular Michigan in Pictures contributor Shawn Malone of Lake Superior Photo created the official music video for David Helpling’s “As The World Falls Away.” It features her latest cinematic time-lapse work filmed entirely in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan merged with sequences from NASA’s ISS to form a stunning visual & auditory journey.

It will appear on the The Weather Channel in their “Weather Gone Viral” episode that airs tonight on The Weather Channel. She says they’ve told her 10 PM EST, but check your local listings.

View Shawn’s photo bigger on Facebook and see more of her work at Lake Superior Photo!

Here’s the full video:

Way above the Mighty Mac

Mackinac Bridge from Above

The Mackinac Bridge, photo by FotoLense

Well while we’re up in the air (see yesterday) why not stay there?

View this photo background bigtacular and see more including some more aerials from the area in FotoLense’s Mackinac Island July 2013 slideshow.

There’s some great facts about the Mackinac Bridge if you click the photo and a ton more on the Mighty Mac from Michigan in Pictures!

Free Birds

free Birds

Free Birds, photo by David Clark

Here’s a pretty cool shot taken last weekend from high above the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Lake Michigan. For reference, if he took this from where I think he did, those people are above a dune bluff that’s several hundred feet high.

View David’s photo big as the sky and see more in his Sleeping Bear 2015 slideshow.

Twilit Aurora from the Keweenaw Peninsula

Twilit Aurora Borealis

Twilit Aurora, photo by Eric Hackney

Wowzas!!! Here’s the northern lights as seen last night from the Keweenaw Peninsula. Space Weather is saying that there’s a good chance of more strong northern lights tonight!

I’ve written about the science behind the colors on the Northern Lights, but how about some highlights of the beliefs about colors of the aurora from ancient people around the world?

In Bulfinch’s Mythology, Thomas Bulfinch claimed in 1855 that in Norse mythology: The Valkyrior are warlike virgins, mounted upon horses and armed with helmets and spears … When they ride forth on their errand, their armour sheds a strange flickering light, which flashes up over the northern skies, making what men call the “aurora borealis”, or “Northern Lights”.

The Algonquin think the lights are their ancestors dancing around a fire.

The northern lights in Scotland were known as “the mirrie dancers” or na fir-chlis. The dance often ended in a fight – “the mirrie dancers bled each other last night”. The appearance of the lights also predicted bad weather.

In Latvian folklore the aurora borealis, especially if red and observed in winter, are fighting souls of dead warriors especially if it is red and seen in the winter. It is an omen foretelling disaster.

Russian folklore associates the northern lights with the fire dragon (“Ognenniy Zmey”). The dragon came to women to seduce them when their husbands were gone.

The Finns named the northern lights revontulet, or fox fires. According to their legend, foxes made of fire lived in Lapland. And, the fox fires were the sparks they took up into the atmosphere on their tails.

Click for more including photos!

View Eric’s photo bigger and see more in his 9-7-15: Northern Lights V slideshow.

Many more Michigan aurora pics on Michigan in Pictures!

Waterspout at Muskegon State Park

Lake-Michigan-Waterspout Muskegon Beach

Waterspout at Muskegon State Park, photo by Joe Gee Photography

Summer of 2015 has definitely featured some wild weather. Photographer Joe Gee captured this dramatic photo last Monday at Muskegon State Park. mLive featured Joe’s waterspout photo along with an explanation of the phenomenon by meteorologist Mark Torregrossa:

This is the waterspout season on the Great Lakes, but tonight’s waterspout did not occur in the classic waterspout weather pattern.

Waterspouts form mostly due to a large temperature difference between the water surface and the air a few thousand feet above. So the classic waterspout weather pattern would have a large, cold upper level storm system moving over the Great Lakes. That storm system is still well to our west, and won’t pass through until Wednesday.

This waterspout still most likely formed due to a temperature difference between the water and the air. The cold air aloft wasn’t really detectable because it was so isolated.

The other weather feature probably contributing to the development of this waterspout was a lake breeze or even possibly an “outflow boundary” from another storm. The lake breeze blows a different wind direction into the storm and can cause additional rotation. An outflow boundary coming off another thunderstorm can do the same thing.

So this waterspout is a less threatening rotation as compared to a tornado. Usually these waterspouts dissipate before they come onshore.

This time of year is the typical time for waterspouts because of two weather features. First, the Great Lakes water temperatures are usually warmest right now. Secondly, we have to mention the word fall. Cooler, fall-like air starts to move in at this time of year. The temperature difference is largest now through September.

You can purchase a print right here and follow Joe and his work at and on Facebook.

More wild weather on Michigan in Pictures!