Northern Lights and a Proton Arc!

Milky Way, A Proton Arc, and the Northern Lights

The Milky Way, A Proton Arc, and the Northern Lights!, photo by Eric Hackney

Last night I got a couple of texts that the northern lights were out. By the time I got to the beach here in northern lower Michigan, they had died back to a soft arc on the horizon. Up on the Keweenaw however, they were pretty spectacular!

In addition to being spectacular, Eric’s photos introduced me to a new northern lights term, the mysterious proton arc or proton aurora. which NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day explains in this link filled post (picture is below):

What are auroras made out of? Triggered by solar activity, normal auroras are caused by collisions between fast-moving electrons and the oxygen and nitrogen in Earth’s upper atmosphere. The electrons come from the magnetosphere, the region of space controlled by Earth’s magnetic field. As the excited oxygen and nitrogen molecules return to their low energy state, they emit light, seen as the auroral glow.

Sometimes, however, auroras can be caused by collisions with heavier protons, causing a more energetic display with strong ultraviolet emission. In addition, protons can temporarily capture an electron and emit light for themselves. Such a proton aurora is seen above, recorded by the IMAGE satellite. A special feature is the bright spot near picture center, embedded in a ring of auroral emission around the north magnetic pole of planet Earth.

Most solar wind protons never reach the Earth to cause auroras because they are completely deflected away at a great distance by the Earth’s magnetic field. The bright spot in the auroral ring indicates a particularly deep crack in the Earth’s magnetic field where protons were able to flow along a temporarily connected region between the Sun and the Earth, relatively undeflected, until they impacted the Earth’s ionosphere.

Read on for lots more. The good news? It looks like the wide coronal hole that was responsible for last night’s aurora will continue to kick out the celestial jams for a couple of days, meaning this weekend offers a great chance to see the northern lights in Michigan!

View Eric’s photo bigger and see more in his 9-1-16: Northern Lights IX slideshow.

Much more about the northern lights / aurora borealis on Michigan in Pictures!

Photo courtesy NASA:

Proton Arc Nasa

Rainbow Falls and the Waterfalls of the Black River

Rainbow Falls Ottawa National Forest

Rainbow Falls, Ottawa National Forest, photo by John McCormick

GoWaterfalling’s page on the Waterfalls of the Black River Scenic Byway explains that this section of the river is Michigan’s waterfall alley:

The Black River Scenic Byway is located in the western corner of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Dedicated in 1992 as a National Forest Scenic Byway, it starts just north of Bessemer Michigan and ends at the Black River Harbor in the Ottawa National Forest, following the Black River on its way towards Lake Superior.

Along the way it passes five main waterfalls, as well as some minor ones. The five main waterfalls are all located on the last three miles of the river before it reaches Lake Superior.

The waterfalls are Great Conglomerate Falls (profiled last week), Potawatomi, Gorge, Sandstone, and Rainbow Falls which is:

the last of the main falls on the Black River before it enters Lake Superior…The waterfall has carved out a large pothole. Most of the river falls into the pothole, but some of the water, depending on how high the river is, goes around or jumps clear over this hole.

Head over to GoWaterfalling for more pics, directions, and info about the falls in the area.

Check out John’s photo bigger, see more in his Michigan Waterfalls slideshow, and definitely follow John’s Michigan Nut Photography on Facebook for lots more like this shot of nearby Gabbro Falls, also on the Black River!

Many more Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!

Waterfall Wednesday: Great Conglomerate Falls on the Black River

Great Conglomerate Falls

Great Conglomerate Falls, photo by Gray McCormick

GoWaterfalling’s entry on Great Conglomerate Falls says (in part):

The first of the five main waterfalls on the Black River. This waterfall is named for the large piece of conglomerate rock that divides the two segments. It is hard to see all of this waterfall at once, but that is no reason not to visit.

Great Conglomerate Falls is the first of the five main waterfalls on the Black River Scenic Byway. Here the river slides down 20 feet around a large chunk of conglomerate rock, hence the name of the falls. It is hard to get a picture of the full waterfall from the observation area. The two segments of the waterfall are pictured separately below plus a composited image of the entire falls.

Read on for directions and info about other nearby falls!

View Gary’s photo background big and see more in his Black River slideshow.

More Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!

Evening clouds after rain

Evening Clouds After Rain

Evening clouds after rain, photo by Anne Fisher

Ann says she never tires of Bass Lake in the Upper Peninsula near Gwinn. I can see why! View her photo background big and see more in her 2016 UP slideshow.

More summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures and here’s a link to a map of Bass Lake.

 

Behind O-Kun-de-Kun Falls

Behind O-Kun-de-Kun Falls

Behind O-Kun-de-Kun Falls, photo by Michigan Nut Photography

See a view from the front and get directions in Don’t Lose Your Bowl at O-Kun-de-Kun FallsThe waterfall is in Ontonagon which came to be named in a pretty hilarious story:

The name “Ontonagon” is derived from the Ojibway word “nontounagon,” which means “I lost my bowl.” Local legend surrounding the name stems from the story that a member of Chief O-Kun-De-Kun’s band was washing bowls near the mouth of the river when she was startled by an unkempt stranger in a canoe. The woman inadvertently dropped one of the bowls into the river and exclaimed “nontounagon”. The white man took her declaration to be a reply to his question about the name of the area.

John writes that a few years ago, he didn’t see a way to get behind the wild and scenic O-Kun-de-Kun Falls, but he found a way this time … and got a nice shower in the process!

See his photo bigger and view & purchase photos at Michigan Nut Photography.

More Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures.

Big Eric’s Falls on the Huron River

Big Eric Falls

Big Eric Falls, photo by Aime Lucas

Go Waterfalling’s Minor Waterfalls page says that:

Big Eric’s Falls is located on the Huron River east of Skanee. The falls consists of a series of drops, each of which are only a few feet high, but around 100 feet wide. It is named for Big Eric Erickson, a logger from the 20’s. In addition to the falls, he also has a road, a bridge and a campground named for him (although sometimes the name is spelled ‘Erick’, so maybe they were named for his father?). Big Eric’s Bridge Campground is right next to the falls. The falls are just below the bridge.

To reach the falls head east on Skanee Road until it ends. This is also the end of the pavement. Head right on Erick road for a mile until you reach the bridge. Beyond the bridge are rough, unpaved road, and some wild waterfalls such as Forty Foot Falls. Big Falls, a much larger drop on the Huron River, is several miles upstream.

View Aime’s photo background bigilicious, see more in her Michigan Waterfalls slideshow, and be sure to follow her on Facebook!

Lots more Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures.

 

Red barn with Lilacs

Red barn with Lilacs

Red barn with Lilacs, photo by Ann Fisher

While lilacs are fading in much of the state, they’re just getting going in the Upper Peninsula!

View Ann’s photo background big and see more in her 2016 UP slideshow.

More barns on Michigan in Pictures.