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Photo feature: Back to black

Posted: Sunday, September 05, 2004

The aurora borealis fills the sky between the Big Dipper and the Chugach Mountains and reflects in the still water of Harriman Fjord recently. The aurora, or northern lights, is always present but it takes the dark skies of winter to set the stage for its late-night performance.

 

Photo by M. Scott Moon

A meteor cuts a path across streaks left by stars during a long time exposure. The night sky offers an ever-changing panorama and is filled with interesting objects for careful observers.

 

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Truck lights leave a white and yellow trail as they move past city lights reflecting in a puddle in Kenai in an early-morning time exposure. Below, Tammy Groshart works under a constellation of artificial lights at the gas station at Fred Meyer last week. Electric light will replace many hours of daylight in the coming months.

 

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Now that summer has waned, the midnight sun is setting earlier and earlier in Alaska. Blooming fireweed and spawning salmon are sights that won't be around for much longer, but they are replaced with views of the aurora and other nighttime phenomena. For information on what to see at night, check out the following Web links and the astronomy column by Andy Veh.

Aurora information and forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks: http://www.pfrr.alaska. edu/aurora/index.html.

Information on spotting satellites and other man-made objects: http://www.heavens-above.com.

Learn how to become an astronaut or study life on and off earth at NASA's home page: http://www.nasa.gov/home/index.html.

Information on space weather, including the aurora borealis: http://www.spaceweather.com.

Photographing the aurora: http://www.ptialas ka.net/~hutch/aurora.html.



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