Nanaimo Astronomy Society speaker to shed light on Northern Lights photography – Nanaimo News Bulletin
An engineer and photographer will share his experiences and photographic techniques gained while hunting for the Northern Lights at the upcoming meeting of the Nanaimo Astronomy Society.
Jeremy Kuzub photographed the Northern Lights for 10 years, designed and built a camera to record the Auroras in real time, and created a website to share images of the Northern Lights and the science behind them.
The Northern Lights were a part of life in Edmonton, but Kuzub started photographing them when digital cameras became sensitive enough to capture great photos of the Northern Lights.
“Growing up with them in the sky when we were camping, they were a big mystery when I was a kid,” Kuzub said in an email. “No internet and almost impossible to film. Later better cameras and the ability to monitor space weather information on the internet made it a rewarding and intriguing activity as it is a mixture of photography from landscape, wildlife photography and trips to interesting places.
People can see auroras in much of Canada. The northern parts of the Northern Lights most often appear in a ring or corona around Earth’s geomagnetic pole that passes over places like Yellowknife almost at night. When auroras are active, the ring extends south.
Kuzub knows where and when to find the Northern Lights, but satellite technology also comes in handy. Several spacecraft are monitoring solar weather, giving aurora hunters about three days notice of increased solar wind, enough time, he said, to buy a plane ticket and fly home. home in Ottawa to clear the skies further north.
“The sun always emits charged particles, which spread throughout the solar system like a rotating lawn sprinkler,” he said. “As they pass Earth, some of them interact with Earth’s geomagnetic field, effectively charging it and increasing the energy stored there. This energy is what drives the activity of the Northern Lights.
Sometimes the biggest challenge is just getting to sites to photograph the Northern Lights in remote locations, which can make for memorable experiences, Kuzub said. Tromso, Norway, is dark most of the winter and known as a great place to watch the aurora on a clear night, as is Dawson City, Yukon, a five-hour drive north of Whitehorse.
“When I first started, I had to navigate winding fjords in Norway for the first time at night to find a good spot for the aurora,” he said. “Another time in Iceland I was trying to take a picture of Godafoss waterfall and the water kept soaking the equipment. I was competing in an ice sculpting competition in Yellowknife and after a long day…before even until it was dark the aurora was out.I ended up setting up a small travel camera in a small forest behind the hotel and took some of my favorite photos.
The internet connects the community of aurora borealis enthusiasts. Sites such as Aurorasaurus.org, the Alberta Aurora Chasers Facebook group, and KpFox.com help share information, chase results, and improve understanding of aurora data from the space weather community.
Kuzub created CaptureNorth.com, which hosts blog posts and videos on aurora hunting techniques, camera gear, history, and science.
“Capture North is an initiative to share Northern Lights photography and science with Canadians,” Kuzub said. “I started this initiative after working in the technology sector on data science, interactive web-based education and image processing. So it’s a way to use all these techniques to create an interactive website, educational blog posts and presentations.”
The next meeting of the Nanaimo Astronomy Society will be February 24 at 7 p.m. The online meeting is restricted to paying members of the society, but newcomers can attend a meeting for free. For more information, visit http://www.nanaimoastronomy.com.
Northern LightsNorthwest TerritoriesPhotographyScienceSpace