An astronomical week

Despite being in the center of the city with lots of light pollution, I was able to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights on Tuesday. Once I realized what I was seeing, I rushed to grab my camera and tripod and headed toward the water, hoping to find a darker location than my apartment building. Unfortunately the intensity faded quite a bit by the time I located a somewhat dark spot atop a rock outcropping. It’s quite crazy that after trips to Iceland and Lapland, my first viewing would be this far south, but in a way it was better that it was a bit of a surprise. I also made the mistake of forgetting my remote shutter release and a flashlight. So I’ll call this a learning experience. Hopefully my next encounter will be in a spot where I’m not fighting against ambient light that makes long exposures difficult.

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A glimpse of the aurora not being enough astronomy for one week, today I got to see the solar eclipse. And I can’t think of a better way to view it than with a class of nine-year-old kids. The principal made an announcement that students weren’t allowed to go outside for their usual break from 10:30-11:30 because it was feared that they would all stare at the sun. Fortunately the teacher I was visiting brought welding glass, and some kids also brought welding shields from home. So we safely watched from inside the classroom.

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