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April 16, 2015 Auroras

Chippewa National Forest

Earth entered a high speed solar wind stream today, and that sent Bz south for a bit.  Auroras were visible as soon as it got dark enough to see dark skies to the north.  I left home just before 10:00 PM and headed to the north side of Grand Rapids to take a few shots to see what sort of event it was shaping up to be.  I should have just headed straight to an open lake shooting location because the show was actually pretty good.  Reflections in the water would have been nice, but the black spruce provided a nice foreground, too.  The first few shots are from the north side of Grand Rapids.  The glow was pretty nice along the northern horizon, and some structure soon appeared above.

Nice Auroras
Auroras on the snowmobile trail.  24 mm shot.
Nice Auroras
Here's a wider angle view at 16mm.
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Back to 24mm.  More structure appearing.
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16mm view of that same structure.

I decided to head north and find a lake. I'm usually pretty indecisive because there are not that many at close range with good access on the south side. I decided to start at Pughole Lake and take a couple pictures there.

Nice Auroras
View from the Pughole Lake public access.

I looked at the clouds moving in from the south, and wasn't sure whether to head east or west for fewer clouds. Since there weren't as many good viewing locations immediately to the east, I decided to head west. I stopped at Moose Lake on County Road 19.

Nice Auroras
Moose Lake pullout on County Road 19 looking northwest.
Nice Auroras
16mm shot at Moose Lake pullout on County Road 19.
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Moose Lake canoe access.

I continued a little farther west to a quieter location where there would not likely be as many cars (not that there were on County Road 19 at this time of night, anyway). I found myself at Cottonwood Lake inside the Chippewa National Forest, where there are no houses and nobody visiting the campsite where I stopped. After I got there, it was just another few minutes before another substorm started.

Nice Auroras
The auroral oval on Cottonwood Lake, about to enter substorm mode.
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Here we go!  Actually, I overexposed the shot a bit.
Nice Auroras
The substorm is spreading.
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Now the structure fills the northern sky.
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Same sequence at 16mm: auroral oval right before the substorm.
Nice Auroras
Same sequence at 16mm: auroral oval right before the substorm.  Trying a little cooler color temperature here.
Nice Auroras
Auroras fill the northern sky (16mm).

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