Winter Stars
January 21, 2005

One of these days I hope to see the Northern Lights and maybe bring home a photo or two. Though rare, the Aurora, as it’s also called, does sometimes make its way down to the Ozarks. I even saw it once, but I’ll save that embarrassing story for the day I get to publish my own pictures.
When I can remember to, I check a couple of web sites that give Aurora forecasts. Conditions were about as good as they get on the night of Monday the 17th, so I headed north out of town and away from the bright lights and ended up at Natural Dam. The sky was pretty bright with a three-quarter moon still high in the west, and there was no Aurora that I could see. But I still set up the camera to take a few shots, because as I learned back in November, the camera can record an Aurora that our eyes can’t see. The camera didn’t pick up anything either, but I got real lucky and came up with the photo above.
A couple of days later I learned that  a photographer in Arizona captured the Aurora on film just a few hours after my Natural Dam visit. Nice to know I’m not crazy.
With more Auroras in the forecast, I got up at 3 Friday morning and drove to Shores Lake for another try. During the drive the moon sank behind the mountains to the west, giving me much blacker skies than I had on my previous outing. Still there was no aurora, and a short exposure with the camera didn’t pick up anything either. The water was so still I could see their reflections, so I set up the camera to take a series of long exposures then retreated to the truck for some heated air and a cat nap.