Posts tagged September
Scintillating As Always

Just kidding. But we can joke about it because it ended so perfectly.

Chalk this one up to the delayed gratification category.
I wouldn’t have judged you if you thought for some time tonight that the most interesting moments came running up the highway avoiding heavy fog banks. But after four and a half hours of hope and fading optimism, in literal seconds, the sky lit up like the Amazonia (something that still isn’t getting enough attention and we shouldn’t joke about).

Sean NormanSeptember

The satellite imagery never tells the entire story, in the same way space weather data doesn’t tell anywhere near the full story of the aurora. But of course, it’s still something good to have in your pocket.
On nights like tonight, with broken layers of cloud at just 190m, we had to expect that the weather data was going to look a lot more happy in our hands than it would feel good actually looking outside. But we had windows tonight, and we shuffled across the Ingraham Trail into pockets of clear sky, and of course she was waiting for us there.

Sean NormanSeptember
Guest Reaction > Aurora

It’s my blog and I write what I like. But in the interest of keeping this viewable for those of you passing time at work, I’ll just say I wish I could repeat the words of… exhilaration my guests expressed over the colour and dance of the aurora tonight. That was perfect. And absolutely hilarious.

Sean NormanSeptember
A Couple Hours Off

Good clear breaks moved down over the highways and Yellowknife tonight, and for some time around sunset, if you could ignore masses of cloud following these clear breaks over town, things looked really good.
The first half of our night was very optimistic. Good weather, and favourable auroral conditions ahead, maybe, potentially. But as the weather turned and all that post-sunset cloud caught up with us, it unfortunately left few places for us to run.

Sean NormanSeptember
Hours and Hours Down to Minutes

Ohh, how I knew it would end this way. Not our seemingly endless clear sky spell finally coming crashing down tomorrow night, but this specific day of planning.

No matter how early we left town tonight, this aurora chase was going to come down to minutes. I could just feel it.
Tricky lady.
The entire way out of town, we were eyeing an increasingly sizeable arc above us, watching it’s every move across the sky, kilometre after kilometre. Then sure enough, we managed to pull into the location we wanted, and not ten minutes after our arrival, two breakups over a couple hour period. This is the perfection and that little bit of magic in life we’ve all stupidly stopped believing in as we age.

Sean NormanSeptember
To Have Luck on Your Side

How much luckier can Yellowknife be these days? This is some September.
Every night these last few days, auroral conditions are very, very quiet for hours almost right up until we get into the countryside. Just by chance, they are quieter nights over in Iceland and Scandinavia, and I’m feeling for them. We know through these next months, we’ll be on the other side of that too.
However, for the first few hours of tour tonight, not much more than a faint, barely discernible with the naked eye arc washed over the northern horizon, helped not in the least by a nearly full moon behind us. But you know these chases are nights of endless patience, and with temperatures so pleasant, what’s more perfect than just kicking back in a chair lakeside under a full moon and stars? All that when in just a few minutes, the aurora erupts across the entire sky.

Sean NormanSeptember
The Smell of Fear and the Sweet Smell of Life

For hours and hours up until exactly five minutes before we were leaving town, aurora conditions were quiet. Very, very quiet. But a key little detail in that began to fluctuate, and a nervousness in me began to fade.
Out in the countryside, lakeside, everything smelt sweet, like those perfect, dewy summer nights. The wind was blowing tonight, but at +9°, it felt comfortably warm. Not the beaches of Ixtapa warm, but certainly warm relatively speaking - considering one year earlier we’d already had our first snow.

Sean NormanSeptember
A Long Anticidreaded Return to Normalcy

There will be many nights ahead this year where remembering back on my somber feeling of this night will feel ashamedly entitled. There wasn’t a cloud for hundreds of kilometres. The temperature was +4° with a light breeze, the air smelt sweet, and we didn’t see another soul out there. The aurora gave us flashes of pink and green to our eyes if we were watching closely, and still she danced near the horizon. But here I am feeling as though tonight was ‘just one of those quieter nights’. How quickly an active region on the sun had adjusted my version of normalcy.

Sean NormanSeptember
A Perfectly Timed Question

Sometimes we get to talking a lot on tour. Things like whose baking is better - mine or Morgan’s, politics, religio… No I’m only joking. Well about the last two. Tonight we talked more about how our cameras operate in comparison to how our eyes operate, especially at night. Relevant, right?
It’s one of the discussions we have the most consistently on tour - just why Donald Tr… - no, no NO - why the colour of the aurora is so different to our eyes than our cameras. And as we really got to the understanding of that, with all the magic of perfectly timed moments, the sky erupted in some of the most vibrant pink I’ve seen this season. It felt like a quickly close your eyes, rub them hard, and open them again to make sure what you’re seeing is real sort of moment. At the end of tonight, the cameras could not do justice to what our eyes had just witnessed.

Sean NormanSeptember
Car Idle Season Begins

At least for a night.

Through the aurora dancing across the sky for hours and hours tonight with the temperature sitting at just +1°, a warm car became a necessary comfort for us to cosy up into during some quieter breaks. A ‘necessary’ comfort. Ohh, the first world.

Sean NormanSeptember