Friday, August 8, 2014

Sprites 2014

Sprites and airglow over Laramie

The Sprites 2014 campaign has concluded, and we mostly got burned by the weather. This year, instead of doing an aerial campaign, we set up at Wyoming Infrared Observatory on top of Jelm Mountain, WY. The first night was very good; for a while we were seeing about a sprite per minute. I got around 30 new dSLR images of sprites during that time frame, but since they were visible above the Laramie light pollution most of them were too faint to be very interesting. The best was the one above, and this one with the Andromeda Galaxy on the left was nice:

Sprites, airglow, Andromeda Galaxy

But after that first night, the weather never really cooperated again to give us a good amount of sprites in a clear part of sky. The sky at 10,000 feet and Bortle class 1 was very nice so I took a few pictures of just the Milky Way and airglow:

Milky Way, airglow, and storm over Fort Collins, CO

Milky Way from Wyoming Infrared Observatory

And I spent a couple hours one night setting up to do wide field astrophotography (the best kind :P) of the constellation Cygnus with the North America Nebula which turned out pretty nice:

North America Nebula in the Cygnus constellation

I really need to figure out the cold weather issues with my clock drive so I can do these kind of shots from Alaska where the sky is dark and super stable due to the cold.

I also flew the drone around the observatory a few times, this one it was too windy so I immediately brought it back down to land:

Then a few days later it was calm enough to get a good flight:

And then the last morning there I tried one more flight on another calm wind morning, but for some reason my drone throttled up but wouldn't throttle down, so I watched it disappear into the sky and never saw it again :(

I've since been back on the White Salmon River in Washington, from Monday evening until now. I've been doing trip photography for All Adventures Rafting and made a little money, and I expect we'll see some of my photos on their website and Facebook page. Today I'm heading out to drive north back to Alaska. Later y'all.