2017-6-29: Spectacular Aurora Borealis at Starry Hill ⬅︎
With all the overcast skies so far in 2017, there has been a growing hunger in those of us who treasure stargazing in the Pacific Northwest. So, with the clear skies on the night of May 27th, many showed up at Starry Hill for a feast of starry delights.

Jupiter was high and bright and we could easily see its Great Red Spot -- the gigantic hurricane twice the size of earth. Saturn was low in the southeast revealing its magnificent ring system through miles of earth's atmosphere. New galaxies were found. A special night indeed!

None of us, however, was prepared for the explosion of light from the North that started around 1 AM -- the most spectacular display of the Aurora Borealis that any of us had every witnessed in the northwest. Its green and purple wisps danced about captivating all of us for nearly an hour!

Thank goodness that Star Guide Braden Henricksen had his camera ready and was able to take ultra-wide angle, 15-second photos. To the far right you can see Mt Rainier with the dim glow of Eatonville below. To the far left you can see the yellow glow of light pollution coming from the Seattle-Tacoma Metro area. The bright greens and purples of the aurora danced in-between.

Although the sun is the source of virtually all energy for life on earth, the sun also gives off deadly particles that would harm us if they made it to earth's surface. The aurora is visible evidence of earth's protective shield -- its magnetic field -- blocking a deadly outburst from the sun.

Truly a night never to be forgotten!

Photo credit: Braden Henricksen