Starry Night at Stoney Point

I read a rumor that last night had the potential for decent Northern Lights. NOAA does their best to forecast when the Aurora Borealis will be at its peak, but it’s a lot like the weather – sometimes the forecasters get it right, and sometimes what actually shows up (or doesn’t) surprises everyone. Since I had to be up late (waiting for my daughter to return from the Book Across the Bay ski race), I thought I’d take a chance.

I headed up to Stoney Point to try to get away from the lights of Duluth and got out of the car several times to check the sky and to look at the angles (the sky, the lake, the treeline, etc). I took pictures facing in a number of directions, including this one, which was facing south, toward Duluth:

Night Sky and City Lights of Duluth

Because the constellation Orion has so many very clearly visible stars, it’s fun to get that one in a picture. The jet flying through the scene was a fun little bonus.

Although I wasn’t seeing any Northern Lights with my own eyes, sometimes the camera can pick things up that we miss. I set up with a northerly facing and set the intervalometer to take a large number of photos, once every 30 seconds. I figured I would either get lucky with the Aurora or I’d get a cool time lapse. Neither thing happened. About half an hour into the series, I got a text from my daughter that she would be back in the next 30 minutes or so.

A good night sky timelapse might require three, four or more hours of images. I let the camera keep going for another 10 minutes or so, but I finally decided that I wouldn’t be getting the images I went out for and called it a night. That’s okay. It’s always fun to be outside, and with the very cold weather (it was about -10F), there aren’t a lot of people out and about. And I did manage to get a decent shot without the lights of the city:

North Shore Night Sky

The other good thing is that I get to go out and try again!

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