Observing with Street Lights

Observing with Street Lights
Dark sky sites not always necessary to see the Milky Way (This image was taken ouside of a B&B in Julian, CA)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Offsite in Iceland and Bergen, Norway; Geysers and clouds; NOAA aurora prediction website

Greetings from Palmia Observatory (offsite somewhere in the North Sea)

We are offsite this week on the "In the. Wake of the Vikings" cruise.  We hope, in addition to having fun and seeing the local sites, to have dark enough skies to see the Milky Way and especially see the Northern Lights.  So far, the skies have been just on cloudy to see much of anything of lights or even stars.  We can share a couple of photos of geothermal activity along the intersection of the tectonic plates that bisect Iceland and show a great NOAA site for aurora predictions.
This first image, with Resident Astronomer Peggy posing for the camera, was taken at the Thingfellir National Park, which is located right at the intersection of the North American and the
Eurasian tectonic plate.  The distance between the two plates is just a couple of miles at this location.



Resident Astronomer Peggy poses at the tectonic plate spreading location in Iceland
Resident Astronomer Peggy poses at the tectonic plate spreading location


Another indicator of the highly geothermal activity in Iceland is this image of one of the geysers.  This geyser shoots off every 8-10 minutes.


Geyser, in Iceland, does its thing about every 8-10 minutes while we were there
Geyser, in Iceland, does its thing about every 8-10 minutes while we were there



This image shows a collapsed caldera Now filled with water.  Pretty neat!
Collapsed caldera in Iceland now filled with water
Collapsed caldera in Iceland now filled with water



So, we have had a wonderful time so far, but the night skies have been pretty much clouded out.  Take a look at this photo taken from the airplane as we flew to Bergen, Norway.  This view above the clouds was pretty neat and provided blue skies above, but wow, when you are below these clouds there is not much opportunity for astronomical observing.


View outside the airplane window on the flight from Copenhagen to Bergen, Norway
View outside the airplane window on the flight from Copenhagen to Bergen, Norway


We found one good website for getting aurora predictions at www.swpc.noaa.gov
The prediction for last night was for low chance of seeing auroras at our current location,  it seems that our chances of good aurora observations will be getting much better as we get closer to Greenland.  We will have to wait and see.  By the way, we should thank another cruise passenger, Nomad of Spirit, Billy, who I bumped into out the sun deck late at night as we both were looking for a good aurora observation point.  Thanks for that recommendation, Billy!


Screenshot from NOAA Aurora forecast webpage (Source: www.swpc.noaa.gov)
Screenshot from NOAA Aurora forecast webpage (Source: www.swpc.noaa.gov)




Until next time,
Resident Astronomer George and Peggy


www.palmiaobservatory.com










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