Being the winter Solstice and all yesterday I thought I would take some pics of the winter solstice Sunrise, plus the fact that it was -39c and woo hoo no wind, I thought to myself maybe I could capture some crazy shaped refracted Sun shots. The Sun didn't disappoint. Sunlight is refracted due to the different densities and pressures in our lower atmosphere causing the light path to be trapped, blocking some of the sunlight from getting to our eyeballs, seems with the really cold temps this is even more so making for some interesting shapes of the Sun.
I knew from the rising Sun that I was in for some strange looking Suns, notice what looks like a solar flare popping off the top of the above image. Now when it is -39c with no wind it can be kind of deceiving, doesn't really feel cold without the wind burning into your face, in fact you don't really know how dangerous the cold is up and until just before you fall asleep and die.
After 20 minutes out in this stupid cold temperatures my camera started making some funny noises and the shutter sounded like it was going to blow up and start on fire, so I go to turn the camera off when I noticed my fingertips had no feeling, grab the camera and start running back to the warmth of the car when I noticed my toes were numb, great I'm going to fall asleep and die next. Finally made it back to the car alive and well, next time I'm going to stay in the car regardless of how it feels cold wise.
Eight hours later I was out at it again, this time Sunsets. I call the above image my Christmas ornament Sunset due to the fact it looks like a Christmas tree ornament, Merry Christmas from me to you, print it off and hang it on your Christmas tree. It had warmed up to -26c and I was able to stay in the car while taking the pics but my finger tips were still burning from the morning before.
Got some funky looking Sunsets plus I got an image of the rare Greenflash! Only lasted for a few seconds, hence the term flash.
Greenflashes appear just before Sunrises and just after Sunsets. The high frequency waves of the greens/blues curve more then the lower frequency reds allowing them, the green light to remain around to be viewed by us, the reds are obstructed by the curvature of the Earth.
The Ursid meteor shower is on right now, actually peaks tonight, and you won't have the Full Moon to contend with, but there is only 15 an hour or so but I'll still be out trying to get some meteor images. If you are crazy like me look in between the Little and Big Dippers, in the north part of the sky around 10:00 pm. If your not crazy but you still want to get into the action visit this site!! It is the Air Force Space Surveillance Radar in Texas, got the link from Spaceweather.com. Listen to meteors fly over the radar, very cool and unearthly sounding, it is a live feed so you may have to wait for a while to hear your first warrble sounding meteor, very cool.
I'll leave you now with an animation of one of my Solar Pillars. I probably won't post till after Christmas so I just like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.