In early 2012 I spent nine weeks based in Canada's Yukon Territory on the biggest astronomy and photography adventure I've ever tackled. The primary reason for going all the way up to the Yukon was of course to photograph the northern lights. But the conjunction between Venus and Jupiter in February/March provided a nice sideshow. So consider this a teaser video before I can produce something more from the three and half terabytes of aurora timelapse footage that I captured.
Well my nine weeks chasing aurora in the Yukon has come to an end. A happy end.
Here's the (long) final blog for the series, until such a time as I can actually produce a video from my 187,792 image files which take up three and half terabytes of disk space, more than my entire ten year collection of digital images taken prior to this.
Aside from drowning in data on a completely inadequate netbook computer, things in the Yukon are going well. My second New Moon has come and gone, but I have a lot of photos to show for the miles I've driven and nights I've spent around the Yukon in the last two weeks.
After nearly two weeks waiting for the Full Moon to come and go, things are getting hectic again. Sunday night (12th Feb) was the first great aurora show since 31st Jan, and my first time out on location away from the house. I drove a little further up Lake Laberge and got some nice images and footage despite a few clouds. The moonrise was a surprisingly successful feature that night too.
20th January, the day I left Melbourne, I woke to a text message alerting me to the news that there had a been a major eruption from a sunspot on the sun, which had hurled a 'coronal mass ejection' (CME) towards earth. This was the first significant eruption in many months from a sun still emerging from an extended minimum. So for the next 48 hours, I would be racing that CME across the solar system to Whitehorse in the Yukon. Kaz dropped me at the airport for the start of the journey, both of us looking forward to Part II of this adventure when she joins me in Scotland in early April.
Following my attempts to photograph Comet Lovejoy before Christmas, I also managed to record some timelapse sequences over six consecutive mornings after Christmas. All this while I was Summer Camp Director for Camp Cooinda on the Gippsland Lakes!
We just had an eclipse in July, but the next one is not till 2014 so I wanted to make the most of this one. A number of looming deadlines made the weekend away for astrophotography hard to fit in and unlike the eclipse in July (winter!), the weather for this eclipse was definitely not cooperating either. Still, I guess you could say we got lucky and it just about worked out ok.
Phil has a great love of the night sky which he shares in the form of infinite patience and a ‘no question is stupid’ approach.
Liz, June 2011
The course was well balanced with a good mix of theory and hands-on practical. Great weekend, great information.
Merri-Lyn, June 2011
These pictures of bioluminescence in the Gippsland Lakes in my gallery have proven quite popular, so it seems time to provide a story to accompany them. But this is not a short story, rather a convoluted one of fires and floods, of microscopic algae and the inspiring, remarkable and surprising beauty of nature.