STEVE: Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement

Five Minutes with STEVE by Shelbydiamondstar Photography

Five Minutes with STEVE by Shelbydiamondstar Photography

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.

You can comment on Shelby’s photo right here. For sure follow her on Facebook and view & purchase her work at shelbydiamondstar.com.

Lots more northern lights on Michigan in Pictures!

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Waterfall Wednesday: Houghton Douglass Falls

Houghton Douglass Falls by Michigan Nut Photography

Houghton Douglass Falls by Michigan Nut Photography

Waterfalls of the Keweenaw says that Houghton Douglass Falls on Hammell Creek is:

A wildly tall and impressive waterfall, Douglass Houghton Falls was once a popular destination for locals and Michigan Tech students alike. Crumbling cliff walls and numerous accidents, many of them fatal, pushed the land owner to cut off access. While the falls are still reachable by following Hammell Creek upstream from Lake Linden, the danger of a careless visit cannot be understated.

This waterfall is well over a hundred feet with several plunges bouncing off the sharp, volcanic rock. Steep walls make it difficult to reach the small drops in the meadow above, but a great view down towards Torch Lake can be made down the green creek valley. A small exploratory shaft is drilled into the side of the falls only a few feet above the creek. While it’s hard to reach and dangerous to explore, this waterfall is one of the highlights of the Copper Country.

More about how to visit at Waterfalls of the Keweenaw.

John took this pic back in October and notes that at 100′ feet, Houghton Douglass is Michigan’s tallest waterfalls. You can read the comments on the pic right here, follow the Michigan Nut Photography Facebook page for more, and view & purchase photos at michigannutphotography.com!

More Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!

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November Gales batter Michigan

November Gales by Kevin Pihlaja

November Gales by Kevin Pihlaja

WOOD-TV has a report on the high winds that ripped Michigan this weekend:

Peak wind speeds reached 68 mph in some areas, causing intense waves along Lake Michigan. Waves at the Ludington buoy peaked at 13.5 feet.

…According to the Consumer’s Energy power outage map, 27,704 were without power across the state as of 5:20 a.m. Monday.

Norton Shores was tops with gusts of 68 MPH, and it was blowing hard in Jackson (64), Grand Rapids (63) & Lansing (54). The Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus recorded a 61 MPH gust as well. 

Kevin took this photo of waves on Lake Superior battering the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse on the Keweenaw Peninsula last November. See more in his Lake Superior photo gallery on Flickr.

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Waterfall Wednesday: Potawatomi Falls on the Black River

Potawatomi Falls on the Black river in Gogebic County Michigan by Tom Clark

Potawatomi Falls on the Black River by Tom Clark

Waterfalls of the Keweenaw entry for Potawatomi Falls says in part:

A short distance below Great Conglomerate Falls is an awkward duplicate: Potawatomi Falls. Like its twin, Potawatomi is a split drop over a dome of conglomerate rock that creates two tall, curving waterfalls. However, this one is not split evenly. Much of the water is pushed to the eastern bank by an uneven riverbed to create a wide and multi-tiered drop. A few small streams converge for the other side and make for a smaller, but more direct, plunge.

As a bonus, it’s walkable to another beautiful waterfall, Gorge Falls.

Tom took this last month and you can see lots more in his excellent Waterfalls, Rivers & Streams gallery on Flickr & definitely follow Tom Clark Photography on Facebook for more great pics from his travels!

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Keweenaw’s Colorful Canvas

Upper Peninsula by troops

Upper Peninsula by troops

Here’s a stunning Upper Peninsula vista taken the other day from Brockway Mountain on the Keweenaw Peninsula which CopperHarbor.org says:

…is the highest paved road between the Rockies and the Alleghenies. The drive is 10 miles long and has many pull-offs enabling visitors to stop and take in the scenery. There are two nature preserves along the drive that are worth visiting too. At the top, 735 feet above Copper Harbor, you will find a breathtaking 360° view of Lake Superior, the surrounding woodlands and inland lakes. On a clear day you can see Isle Royale about 50 miles away!

See more in Troops’ Keweenaw Peninsula gallery on Flickr!

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Michigan’s Fall Color is Just Down the Road!

US-41 by Wu Lan

US-41 by Wu Lan

mLive shared an update on Michigan’s fall color progression that says in part:

The frost and freezing temperatures for two or three days in a row last week have sparked the fall colors. A leaf’s nutrition supply is cut off from the main tree with a freeze. The underlying color pigments in the leaf then emerge for our fall splendor.

The western half of the Upper Peninsula has about 50 percent of total fall color. The eastern U.P. is around 25 percent changed now. The northern third of Lower Michigan has 25 percent to 50 percent fall color. The southern half of Lower Michigan runs from 10 percent to just spotty color from north to south.

You can also check out Pure Michigan’s Interactive Fall Foliage Map & definitely check out past fall color on Michigan in Pictures from more cool photos including the science behind fall color!

Wu took this photo back in 2015 on US-41 US-41 near Copper Harbor on the UP’s Keweenaw Peninsula. See more on their Flickr!

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Eagle River, Keweenaw County

Eagle River-Keweenaw County by Kirt E. Carter

Eagle River-Keweenaw County by Kirt E. Carter

Kirt took this photo of the Eagle River with an ONDU 6×9 Pinhole with Ilford Pan F developed in Rodinal 1:50. You can see lots more through his Flickr & check out kirtecarterfineartphotography.com for other photos along with his writings about how he shoots these stunning pics & a link to his book on Northwest UP rivers!!

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Loooking at yourself in the mirror: Portage Lake Lift Bridge edition

Reflections by Eric Hackney Photography

Here’s a #TBT (Throwback Thursday) pic from 3 years ago of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge between Houghton & Hancock on Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Wikipedia’s Portage Lake Lift Bridge entry says:

The Portage Lake Lift Bridge connects the cities of Hancock and Houghton, Michigan, USA, across Portage Lake, a portion of the waterway which cuts across the Keweenaw Peninsula with a canal linking the final several miles to Lake Superior to the northwest. US 41 and M-26 are both routed across the bridge.

The original bridge on this site was a wooden swing-bridge built in 1875. This was replaced by a steel swing-bridge built by the King Bridge Company in 1901. This bridge was damaged when a ship collided with it in 1905. The center swinging section of the bridge was replaced and a similar incident almost occurred again in 1920, but the ship was able to stop by dropping its anchor, which snagged on the bottom of the lake. In 1959, this bridge was replaced, at a cost of about 11-13 million US dollars (sources vary), by the current bridge which was built by the American Bridge Company.

As its name states, the bridge is a lift bridge with the middle section capable of being lifted from its low point of four feet clearance over the water to a clearance of 100 feet (30 m) to allow boats to pass underneath. The Bridge is the world’s heaviest and widest double-decked vertical lift bridge.Its center span “lifts” to provide 100 feet (30 m) of clearance for ships. The bridge is a crucial lifeline, since it is the only land based link between the north (so-called Copper Island) and south sections of the Keweenaw peninsula.

You can view the photo & more on Eric’s Facebook page and see a stunning shot of a rainbow over the bridge & more from Eric on Michigan in Pictures.

More bridges on Michigan in Pictures.

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The Calumet Children’s March and the Keweenaw Miners Strike

Children’s Parade, Calumet Copper Miners Strike — RPPC by Calumet New Studio, Calumet, Michigan, photo by Wystan

Here’s a throw back Monday for you – a photo from July 23, 1913 of children marching in Calumet during the tumultuous miners’ strikes of 1913. It’s an interesting case study for our modern world given that the driver was the same driver that’s beginning to impact our labor market – automation. The excellent article Labor unions, strikes and violence in the Keweenaw: The Copper Miner Strike of 1913 – this is seriously great work by Frank Zawada’s descendent(s) – the says that there  had been strikes in the Keweenaw in 1872, 1874, 1890 and 1893, but they hadn’t turned deadly. And then:

Around 1910, the mining companies sought to cut back the expenses of mining, and they started to consider lighter machinery such as the J. George Leyner rock drills. Leyners drills were 154-pounds heavy, compared to the 293-pound drills then in use at the mines. Not only that, but the smaller drills could drill just as much as the larger drills but with only one person to man it, instead of two.

The mining companies tried these drills out with the miners, and it was pretty unanimous; the miners didn’t like the new drills. First of all, the men complained that the drills were still too heavy for one man to carry, set up and operate. Secondly, losing a drilling partner opened up safety concerns – who would watch out for the guy alone on the drill if something should happen to him in the loud, darkened mine? Third, but related to number two, was worker concern of being displaced to a lower-paying job or of losing one’s job altogether when the one-man drills became the standard.

Discontent brewed amongst the workers in the mines, and some miners refused to use the drills. Some got into fights with the management about the drills. And some miners walked off the job or were told to leave for disobeying the new rules. Before things could get too crazy, winter set in and so the miners calmed the labor unrest. By early 1913, tensions were running at maximum capacity between workers and the mining companies on the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Read on for more about this strike that turned into one of Michigan’s most deadly labor struggles, including the Italian Hall Massacre of Christmas 1913 in which dozens and dozens of of these children lost their lives.

View the photo background big and see more in Wystan’s slideshow.

Waterfall Wednesday: Paul’s Falls on the Sante River

Sante River, April 2017-19, photo by Invinci_bull

Paul’s Falls on the Sante River at Waterfalls of the Keweenaw begins:

Finding a sizeable river that flows east from Toivola/Twin Lakes is tough – finding a waterfall along one is even harder. Paul’s Falls on Sante River fulfills both of those criteria with an impressive drop down into a sandstone bowl. While much of the river is a meandering flow along a gentle rocky bed, here the water plunges over a lip of sandstone and pours down onto a steep slope of mossy rock. The river banks steepen to dangerous levels below the falls and create a descent cave on the north side.

Read on for directions, map, and more!

Nathan took this photo in April and writes “I decided to check out the remote and topographically intriguing Sante River gorge, deep in the heart of the Keweenaw Peninsula. I wasn’t expecting to find Paul’s Falls at the end of it!”

View it bigger and see more inNathan’s Sante River Exploration – April 2017 slideshow.

More Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!