A “Proton Arc” Aurora by Dave Markel
A lively auroral display viewed from a dark-sky location is one of the most exciting and spectacular sights in nature. Apart from the visual splendour of the event, the northern (or southern) lights are remarkable for their variety. One of the most unusual forms is the so-called proton arc, like the one shown in this photo by Dave Markel. Although scientists are not sure of the exact cause of these sinuous bands of luminosity, it’s unlikely they’re actual proton auroras, which tend to be faint and diffuse.
Dave captured this beautiful scene on September 28, 2016, near Kamloops, British Columbia. He used a Nikon D300 DSLR camera and 11-16mm zoom lens (set to 11mm and f/2.8) to record the four 30-second exposures at ISO 2000 used to construct this panorama. You can view more of Dave’s photos at his web site.
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