Friday, September 22, 2017

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Aurora click from Lough Salt - Donegal - 02 September 2017 04:28 am Irish time

Aurora prediction was rather low (less than G1) but the sky was clear after the moon set around 02:00am. So I thought of giving a try to capture a Milky Way panorama. After clicking a few snaps from a dark sky location in Donegal, I thought giving it another try form the view point near Lough Salt since the brightest part of the Galaxy was covered by a nearby hill. Around 4:20 I reached Lough Salt and I could see faint beams of light pointing upwards, but never thought that it could be Aurora after all the low prediction level. But when I looked at the first shot, to my surprise, it turned out to be Aurora. So I gave up the Milky Way panorama idea and started clicking the Aurora. It faded of slowly as the astronomical dawn happened over the next half an hour. These two clicks are taken at 04:28am and 04:29am. As a bonus, when I processed the image, I could also find the green Airglow in these images and these are my first Airglow captures.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Brilliant way to enjoy the setting sun

Most of the people in Letterkenny would have spotted this man/woman on a powered para-glider enjoying the most beautiful evenings up above from the sky. What a brilliant sight will it be from such a view point! He/she was up in the sky yesterday evening too, when I got a chance to click the flight.

Sunday, July 30, 2017


Noctilucent Clouds (NLC) over Letterkenny - 2017 July 18

Around 12:00 am, few faint filaments of the night shining clouds (Noctilucent clouds / NLC) appeared in the sky towards the direction of setting sun on 2017 July 18. The sun had already an inclination of approximately -12 degrees marking the nautical dusk and astronomical dawn. As the clouds slowly swept towards the darker direction and disappeared in the next 1 and half hours, another band of brilliant white NLCs appeared from the horizon in the direction of the brightest sky (the second half of the video). By this time, the sun was beyond -13 degree inclination clearly marking the astronomical twilight. The time-lapse is created from 1479 individual snaps; the shutter speed is adjusted by a couple of seconds more a few times during this capture sequence to compensate the darkening sky. In the last few 100 clicks, I had to turn the camera a little bit towards the North East to frame the NLCs that appeared in the distant horizon. The big dipper can be seen sweeping towards the right from the top left corner.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Noctilucent clouds spotted from Letterkenny on 2017 July 01 at 02:15 am

For the first time in my life, I identified the NLC (Noctilucent clounds) at around 02:15 am local time in Letterkenny on 1st July 2017. I drove towards the outskirts of the town to get a better view free from any obstruction from the city lights and got these beautiful pictures. Night clouds or noctilucent clouds are tenuous cloud-like phenomena in the upper atmosphere. They are the highest clouds in Earth's atmosphere, located in the mesosphere at altitudes of around 76 to 85 kilometres. These clouds can be observed only during local summer months and when the Sun is below the horizon for the observer, but while the clouds are still in sunlight. Noctilucent roughly means night shining in Latin.

Noctilucent clouds are not fully understood and are a recently discovered meteorological phenomenon. For example, during my school days these clouds were not even mentioned among the cloud's classifications in the science text books, and I don't think that they made into the curriculum even now. It may be because of the fact that this recent discovery is not well understood and is only visible in the summer months at latitudes between 50° and 70° north and south of the equator. These are becoming increasingly visible, and at times, man made rockets also causes these clouds to appear, and at times due to meteor breaking up in the atmosphere and from it's debris.

You can read more about these clouds in Wikipedia here

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

On a Foggy Morning in Letterkenny

On a foggy morning in Letterkenny, during the winter; when the sky was clear and the temperature stayed near zero degree throughout the day; the shadows  shed by the trees on the low lying foggy layer and the distant fog layers hid the town of Letterkenny and made me feel as if I am looking down into a deep a valley of thick forest covered in clouds and fog

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Moon Rays (Crepuscular) Over Letterkenny on a Full Moon Day

Moon can also cast rays (crepuscular rays) and is easily visible when it is on a full moon day. On 10th May 2017 (Full Moon), the low lying clouds created beautiful Moon Rays over Letterkenny

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Sunset over Derryveagh mountain range between Mt. Errigal and Muckish

Today's (2017 May 03) sunset was fantastic, the entire day had a clear sky and towards the evening a thin layer of cloud appeared here and there and it made the sunset beautiful which happened at 09:10 pm local time. These two clicks are captured from Mountaintop, Letterkenny, the Mountian peak on the far left side is Mt. Errigal and the flat Mountain on the right is Muckish. The mountain range that includes these two favorite and easy trekking destinations - Derryveagh Mountain range is seen across the frame bottom

This second shot was particularly interesting to me as the contrail of the flight seen emerging from the top right corner has got it's own shadow on it. The bright parts of the contrail appeared to be reddish in the setting sun's light where the majority of shorter wavelengths are already scattered. The contrail appeared brighter in the top part but then towards the bottom, it appeared to be dark on behalf of it's own shadow as if it was smoke coming out of the jets.

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.