Star Trails and Auroral Glow Over Michigan's Upper Peninsula
November 14, 2014
The image above featuring circular star trails over Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was captured on a moonless night in late September 2014. It was assembled from 720 photographs taken over a six-hour period. The initial intent was to illustrate the Earth's rotation by showing the circumpolar movement of the stars around Polaris (the North Star) -- the bright arc closest to the center of the starry vortex.
At the beginning of my photo session I noticed a faint glow from a direction where no manmade light source exists, portending the possibility of auroral activity. Within a few hours the Northern Lights could be detected just above the northern horizon. The green glow of the charged particles backlit the stand of spruces (bottom), making a routine star trail project into a memorable composition. Images acquired on September 27, 2014.