Volcanic Dusk Over DeSoto, Kansas

October 04, 2019


Photographer: Doug Zubenel 
Summary Author: Doug Zubenel 

Between June 22 and June 24, 2019, the Raikioke volcano, located in the Russian Kuril Islands, erupted, and according to the NASA Earth Observatory, sent ash and aerosols into the stratosphere. These particulates eventually circumnavigated the northern hemisphere skies and were first noted by photographers as early as late June in Europe, and late July in the U.S. Also, on June 26th and August 3rd., the Ulawun volcano in Papua New Guinea erupted, adding further to the overall density of aerosols in the stratosphere. It’s unclear how long it took the added material from Ulawun to reach mid-northern skies, as the Raikoke aerosols were already present.

On July 29, 2019, and still unaware of the volcanic activity, I first observed what looked like a volcanic dusk here at home here in De Soto, Kansas and on the following evening, noted that an 11.5 magnitude comparison star for the recurrent nova RS Ophiuchi was much harder to see in my 6-inch reflector than the previous evening, due to the particulates over the central U.S. I’ve observed and imaged these twilight skies many times since.

The above image showing an attention-getting sunset enhanced by crepuscular rays was taken with my cell phone on the morning of September 11, 2019. It was a particularly compelling sight. I’m glad I had my phone handy!

Photo Details: Contrast and saturation boosted to bring out structure and color.