Fireglow and Star Trails

August 12, 2005


Provided and copyright by: Rick Scott
Summary authors & editors: Rick Scott

On June 25 (2005), I was camping just north of Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, in northern Arizona, as a forest fire was burning on the opposite side of the park. While taking some sky photographs with a friend, he noticed that a blush on the horizon was visible, resulting from the distant fire. So I set up my camera to see what it would look like in a long exposure photograph. The picture above shows glows from both the Earth and the sky. The mountain in the background is Sunset Crater and the rise to its left is Black Mountain. The faint glow on the right side of this photo is light pollution from the city of Flagstaff.

Wildfires, while devastating to private property, bring renewal to the land. The seeds of many plants require the heat of a fire to germinate and spring to life. I've hiked in areas, gorgeous because of all the blossoming wild flowers, that only a year before had been severely charred by fire -- striking evidence of the cycle of life.

Here's a test for those of you who are savvy sky-watchers. Try to identify the constellations associated with the above star trails. Take a look tonight and tomorrow night (after midnight) for "shooting stars" from the Perseid Meteor Shower.

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