Star Trails and Auroral Glow Over Michigan's Upper Peninsula

November 14, 2014

Stars 1b

Photographer: David Marvin; David's Web site
Summary AuthorDavid Marvin

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.

Photo details: Camera Model: E-5 Olympus camera; 14-54 mm f/2.8-3.5 lens; 14 mm focal length; Aperture: f/2.8 aperture; 30.0 second exposure; ISO 650; Software: Aperture 3.5.1 and StarStaX 10.9.