Solar storm, 7 October 2015

A solar storm hit Earth on October 6th and 7th, 2015, and with it came amazing aurora displays throughout two nights. Lots of shapes and colors made my head spin, not knowing what to capture. Cold nights let the lakes slowly start to freeze, making near-perfect aurora reflections a special treat. But look for yourself… 🙂

Copyright: Thomas Kast

 

Copyright: Thomas Kast

 

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Another night out (Sep 12, 2014)

A few days back, a solar storm hit Earth and produced wonderful auroras. Luckily the weather was good, so I was out with my camera for many hours. Read through the captions of the photos below how the night went and what I saw 🙂

Copyright: Thomas Kast

On the left is still twilight from the sunset while on the right the moon was rising just above the treetops. It was dark enough for the first auroras and I was glad to catch their reflection in this lake. First stop: Somewhere near Yli-Ii.

Copyright: Thomas Kast

After a longer break, the sky slowly filled up with colorful auroras and rays became visible. As always, the camera sees those colors stronger than our human eye.

Copyright: Thomas Kast

I thought about a photo like this over the summer (inspired by other selfies I’ve seen) and with the moonshine so bright, I decided to go to the other end of the lake onto the sand. The idea was that rather being a big part of the photo, I wanted to blend in and – at the same time – to stand out (wearing that red jacket).

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Just at that moment, I realized the rays in the sky got stronger and that a corona would be soon unfolding. So I ran back to the camera and caught this beauty just in time. One of those goosebumps moments.

Copyright: Thomas Kast

An hour later, clouds moved in and I was forced to change location. I went to the rapids of Koitelinkoski in Kiiminki, second stop. There I was able to take a few photos before the clouds caught up with me.

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Racing further South, I reached the Baltic Sea and captured these reflections in the Baltic Sea – the last stop of the night. I felt like trying out different angles as you can see. After that I went home, trying to sleep with all these images in my mind. It took quite a while 🙂

 

And so it starts..

Last night I’ve been out for the first time in this young aurora season. I was lucky to the Northern lights in the sky three times before from my porch at home which was nice. But going out to chase the lights and find good spots really starts the fire inside me, it’s what I love to do. With fog in the air my expectations weren’t high and so the weakish auroras didn’t bother me at all. Being out under the stars in silence is what it is all about. Northern lights are just a bonus 🙂

So here is one of the photos which shows a rowing boat I found walking along the water line. There will be more nights out and this was a great start 🙂

 

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Weak auroras in a foggy night

Season’s end? (aurora)

Every spring those of us who chase auroras fight a hopeless battle. A battle against growing daylight which cannot be won. Days are getting longer and eventually the midnight sun takes over every last bit of darkness.

I love summer nights too, the light and colors are so special – and it’s not cold either. Plus I’m really looking forward to more sleep. After being out so many nights throughout the winter, the last weeks were a bit of a stretch. Fatigue and sleepiness are on the daily menu and I look forward to a change of diet. Sweet, precious sleep without checking the webcams, going out one last time to see if there are auroras in the sky. Sounds like holiday, doesn’t it? 🙂

So last night I went to Haukipudas, Finland, trying to see one more time auroras and around the darkest point at 1.30am my eyes caught something very faint. The twilight was strong, so I had to take a test photo with my camera

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Aurora fades literally into the twilight

 

As you can see from this photo the aurora is barely visible above the horizon and also on the left (yes there is a bit). A stronger display would have pushed the lights higher into the darker part of the sky but soon that is no longer an option.

From my experience (and reading it once a long time ago), the sun should be about 10 degrees below the horizon. Tonight that will be between 11.30pm – 2.40am, so very little time. On April 30th will be the last chance with a very short time between 12.35am – 1.50am.

So, this is it – probably. Northern lights make room for Nightless nights. A deal I can agree to 🙂

 

An April aurora adventure

A few nights back on April 11/12 2014, wonderful auroras appeared in the skies above Oulunsalo, Finland. I’ve been out with my cameras for six hours, almost half of that time waiting for clouds to go away. At times I couldn’t see any stars but more often than not…

Copyright: Thomas Kast

… auroras were visible through through the clouds. Here you can see an arc rising and on the right are some needles. Wind brought more clouds and I was considering to leave.

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Fortunately I didn’t give up and later the clear skies revealed a wonderful surprise for me. There was an aurora arc and it went all the way up over my head and down on the other side!

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Around 1am the arc got stronger and wider and suddenly exploded over the frozen lake revealing countless needles…

Copyright: Thomas Kast

… which turned into a corona right above my head. The feeling when those rays spread out in all directions cannot be described. Look at this!

Copyright: Thomas Kast

An hour or so later, another strong but not so colorful corona was visible…

Copyright: Thomas Kast

… and I stayed until dawn made it difficult to see auroras. On the right you can see the beginning of the sunrise. An amazing night came to an end and it took me a long time to fall asleep 🙂

Bang! – last night (11/12 April 2014)

Last night I witnessed a stunning and unexpected aurora show in the skies of Oulunsalo, Finland. I had to wait many hours for the skies to clear completely and was rewarded with this view! It’s hard to describe the feelings I had, but I’ll try to do that in my next blog post 🙂

 

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Corona building up over the frozen lake.