Saturday, April 29, 2017

Can you find the Waning Crescent Moon in this Picture?

Can you find the waning crescent moon in this picture?

On a foggy day, Letterkenny seemed to be immersed in a sea of fog and the houses constructed on the hill tops stood out as if they were built on an Island in the sea. Fog did not disappear even at noon time. Even though the moon was not the subject of the frame, it became the part of the frame unnoticed. I never guessed that the moon is visible around noon time; during the winter months, the moon and sun traces a very low trajectory in the sky ; the moon was at its waning crescent phase, approaching new moon in a couple of days. The moon was so difficult to be recognized, I came to know that it was present and captured in the frame only after I transferred the pictures from the camera to take a look at it in the bigger screen.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Moon Dogs over Letterkenny

These dogs neither bark, nor bites, they don’t care if you care them or not. Moon dogs became visible on either side of the moon over the skies of Letterkenny on 15th April 2015 around 02:00am. A very pale moon pillar (the vertical line that originates from the moon) and parts of the parhelic circle (the horizontal line that starts from the moon and goes through the moon dogs) are also visible in this picture. Even though the 22 degree halos (moon rings) are common, the moon dogs are very rare to be seen.
For those who don’t know them, moon dogs are those bright spots visible on left and right side of the moon in this picture. They are also called mock moon, moondog and paraselene (the scientific term). These are caused by the hexagonal-plate-shaped ice crystals in the thin layer of cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. These bright spots appear approximately 22 degrees on the left and right side of the moon, the 22degree halo or the moon ring if exists intersects at this point. The cold weather front that made the temperature real feel to be around 0 degrees and below in Letterkenny on the Good Friday evening of 2017 would have been caused by these law flying hexagonal ice crystals (diamond dusts).


Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Moon Pointed the Direction of Sunrise

On a frozen winter morning, an attempt to capture the sunrise was rewarded with the fog covered view of Letterkenny (a view from "Ceannan View"), the distant mountains peaked above the foggy layer beneath, and the crescent moon's bow told me where the sun is going to rise.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Northern Lights - Horn Head, Dunfanaghy, Donegal, Ireland on 27th March 2017

County Donegal witnessed beautiful Northern lights (Aurora Borealis) from the evening of 27th March 2017 till next day morning 4:30am. Here is a time-lapse video created from 745 raw images captured from Horn Head View point near Dunfanaghy, Donegal, Ireland. You can see the lights literally dancing which is why sometimes it is referred as Dancing Lights or Dance of the Spirits.


Friday, March 31, 2017

Saint Eunan's College, Letterkenny - A Twilight View on 25th March 2017

The sky turned into impressive red and yellow during 25th March 2017 and the adjacent days. Here is a view of Saint Eunan’s college in silhouetted with the astonishing colors of sky after sunset.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Brilliant Northern Lights Display over Horn Head Peninsula - Dunfanaghy - Donegal

Brilliant Northern Lights display lighted up the sky from yesterday evening (27th March 2017) till 03:00 am today over Horn Head Peninsula in Dunfanaghy area. Here are some selected frames from the 450 or more shots that I could capture all night long before the camera battery got exhausted. I will be posting a time-lapse movie out of these brilliant aurora displays soon. The show was magnificent; I could see the light pillars dancing in the sky towards the North, and the green background aurora flaring up and down so fast like fire, I could even see the reflection of the dancing lights in the sea (North Atlantic Ocean). Now I understand why Aurora is also called as dancing lights.


























Thursday, March 23, 2017

An aurora click that captured many other worlds by chance!



First of all, thanks a ton dear Balsaraj Pothera and Santhosh Varghese for joining the aurora hunting trip to Horn Head in the cold and windy weather

Even though Aurora (Aurora Borealis – Northern Lights) is the main thing that I focused in this frame, it captured many other worlds in it, let me elaborate these worlds starting with the near ones first and in that order

1. Horn Head view point– The view point is a main attraction of the northern part of Wild Atlantic drive; Horn head is a peninsula in Donegal, Ireland and is an internationally important colony for breeding seabirds such as European shag and razorbill, this area is Natural heritage and refuge for fauna and designated as Special Protection Area and Special Area of Conservatory by the Irish government
2. Atlantic Ocean – What you see beyond the cliffs of Horn head is the Atlantic Ocean which covers approximately 20% of Earth’s surface which itself is the world for many creatures
3. Aurora Borealis – The Northern light occurs about 80-90 kilometers above the sea level and extends to several hundred kilometers above sea level
4. The Stars – The stars that you see in this picture could be housing many planetary system which could be a world by itself, many extra solar planetary systems are being discovered recently
5. The Milky Way – The milky way can be distinguished as the faint white milky band that stretches from left to right in the upper part of this image which aligns with the zig zag part of the iron sign post with the HORN HEAD sculptured in it in the foreground; our own galaxy that contains our Solar system, right now it is considered as a barred spiral galaxy with a diameter between 100,000 light-years and 180,000 light-years and is estimated to contain 100-400 billion stars and probably 100 billion planets
6. Andromeda galaxy – Last but not the least; Andromeda galaxy can be seen as the bright smudge over the brightest part of green Aurora band in this picture; i.e., just towards the lower right of the center point of this image. Andromeda is approximately 220,000 light years across, it is the largest galaxy of the Local Group, it contains at least twice the number of stars in Milky Way and is much more massive than Milky way

The greatest challenge in capturing this image was patiently waiting in the dark, cold and highly windy night for Aurora to turn up bright enough to be captured by the camera. The high wind gusts made it impossible to leave the camera and tripod alone for even a second and it made it very tough to get images without any camera shakes as these images were captured with a shutter speed of 15 to 20 seconds. Even with all the thermal suits and hand gloves, it was difficult to stay out of the car for more than 10-20 minutes at a stretch as temperature outside was around 2 degree Celsius.



Monday, March 06, 2017

A Waterfall at Barnesmore Gap (Blue Stack Mountains)

Barnesmore gap is a mountain pass situated in the Bluestack Mountains (Croaghgorms) in County Donegal, the former County Donegal railway run through Barnesmore gap