Tag Archives: magellanic clouds

Aurora Australis at Perth Observatory

Aurora Australis at Perth Observatory on the 8th September 2017

There’s a big buzz around aurora activity at the moment, with the large solar flares erupting from the sun causing potentially good conditions for aurora to be visible. On the 8th September I and what seemed like half of Perth were out to photograph the Aurora. The hard decision is always where to go and in this case limiting factors were it being friday after a busy week of work, the almost full moon rising at 8pm, and large areas of cloud about the state. Given all that I decided to make the short trip to the Perth Observatory where I volunteer.

I took a couple of hours of time lapse from two cameras. This photograph is from my Canon 6D using the Samyang 24mm f/1.4. It is largely a single frame utilising some data from two other frames for masking out some bright lights in the foreground (it was a public viewing night).

Pink aurora is visible across an area of the southern horizon. It would have been extending only a few degrees above the horizon but is quite noticeable in the raw and processed frames. The aurora was not visible to the naked eye. Above the aurora australis you can see the Large Magellanic Cloud. The sky is lit by the moon which had risen a little at the time, but blocked by cloud enough to not illuminate the foreground. The foreground features the domes of the Perth Observatory lit by the red lights of tour guides hosting a group of public on one of the regular Night Sky Tours.

Now to work on the time lapse!

Aurora Australis

Aurora Australis from the hills of Perth, Western Australia.

Aurora Australis from the hills of Perth, Western Australia.

I managed to spare some time on the 2nd & 3rd November 2015 to do a spot of aurora chasing. Still only local, but an opportunity to get out and try or a few shots. The 2nd turned out to be not so good, a brief aurora show followed by heavy dew and then cloud. The 3rd on the other hand turned out quite pleasing with a nice in-camera show of aurora. Here are some photographs from Lake Leschenaultia in Chidlow, in the hills of Perth Western Australia. There is nothing special about this location for Aurora, it’s simply just around the corner from where I live so convenient with reasonably dark and low southern horizons which is what you need for aurora.

Trees frame the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds in the sky above the lake. Subtle green and blue tones in the night sky complement the dark silhouettes.

Trees frame the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds in the sky above the lake. Subtle green and blue tones in the night sky complement the dark silhouettes.

Subtle colours fill the sky where the Large Magellanic Cloud is also visible. Foreground reeds and trees provide nice framing for the water.

Subtle colours fill the sky where the Large Magellanic Cloud is also visible. Foreground reeds and trees provide nice framing for the water.

Aurora Australis from the hills of Perth Western Australia. Pink reflects in the water of Lake Leschenaultia.

Aurora Australis from the hills of Perth Western Australia. Pink reflects in the water of Lake Leschenaultia.

Aurora Australis from the hills of Perth Western Australia. Pink reflects in the water of Lake Leschenaultia.

Aurora Australis from the hills of Perth Western Australia. Pink reflects in the water of Lake Leschenaultia.

Beautiful silhouettes on the shores of Lake Leschenaultia. The Magellanic Clouds (Large and Small) overhead in the night sky filled with stars, and reflecting in the lake.

Beautiful silhouettes on the shores of Lake Leschenaultia. The Magellanic Clouds (Large and Small) overhead in the night sky filled with stars, and reflecting in the lake. A small amount of faint glow on the southern horizon is probably residual aurora activity from the show 10 minutes earlier.

A Small Piece of our Nearby Universe

NGC 2070 and surrounds of the Large Magellanic Cloud

NGC 2070 and surrounds of the Large Magellanic Cloud

A more narrow field image than I ordinarily post to my Astro Photography Australia site, this is a small piece of our beautiful southern skies. Looking at our neighbouring galaxy this is the Tarantula Nebula (NGC 2070), an absolutely massive nebula complex in the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy.

You can see prints and products featuring the Large Magellanic Cloud here

The beautiful pink nebulosity stands out from the deep space star field surrounding. Some of those stars are in our Milky Way galaxy, while others are in the more distant Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy. You are seeing the mix of two different galaxies here.

The below in the photograph “Green Skies” I have indicated where the Tarantula Nebula is, using a photograph which provides some foreground to help with scale:

Large Magellanic Cloud with Tarantula Nebula

Large Magellanic Cloud with Tarantula Nebula

The wide field “Green Skies” photograph above was taken using a 24mm lens, as compared to the narrower field view of the Tarantula Nebula taken at an effective focal length of 500mm.

Intergalactic Clouds

Dreamy Rock Pools

Dreamy Rock Pools

This photograph has a couple of different types of “clouds” and while astronomers typically dislike clouds here they work to create a dreamy nightscape.

The Magellanic Clouds, a set of companion galaxies to our Milky Way are visible in the night sky. The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) on the right and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) slightly left and lower than the LMC. Across the night sky span thin layers of cirrus cloud, creating the dreamy look. The moon (not visible in frame) gives the sky a blue colour.