Thursday, June 05, 2008

Red Sky At Night

Glowing, Glowing, Gone

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON


I took this shot on Monday night. You're thinking last embers of dusk, right? Nope. Think again. This red glow suffused the sky more than five hours after sunset. I went outside to put the garbage bin ("trash" to most of you) on the nature strip to be collected early the next morning.

As I always do, I swivelled around to check out the sky, but I couldn't see any stars because there was a light fog. But in the north-west there was an eerie red glow. It stretched perceptibly for a ninety-degree arc, but only half of that arc was really disinct.

As you can imagine, I abandoned the bin, raced inside to get my camera and quickly found a vantage point on the street to shoot the sight, lest the glow vanish. I shot a couple of frames very quicly, using the bare branches of a tree to provide some perspective.

Then I used a roof line for this shot, and I took this standing on a sharp incline. This frame was taken without a tripod, at F4.5, exposure time of one second and ISO speed 800. In a few minutes the red glow had faded, but it was still apparent for the next hour or so.

Despite the fact that I hadn't heard sirens, I drove up the hill to see if there was a fire anywhere, but there was nothing. I've never seen a glow like this before and I wonder if it was caused by atmospheric conditions. Anyone got a theory?

38 comments:

Katney said...

de de DE de
de de DE de
David has entered---the Twilight Zone.

GoneBackSouth said...

oooh! How shiveringly wonderful. I reckon it was martians landing.

Abraham Lincoln said...

It is so slim to be almost invisible.

SandyCarlson said...

That's quite a winter sky, David. Wow. So now you need to remember the camera en route to the rubbish bin! No rest for the careful eye!

Daryl said...

Yup Martians for sure.

:-Daryl

Corey~living and loving said...

interesting David. I have no idea what would cause that. eeeekkkk.....
it is pretty though.

Hilary said...

That's very cool. Your commentaries capture my interest at least as much, if not more than your photos.. and that's saying a lot.

Charles Gramlich said...

Wow. I don't know. Alien invasion maybe, as someone mentioned. Or some bizarre form of northern lights?

Lana Gramlich said...

City &/or street lights can create a glow like that, although I've never seen RED per se...Very cool shot!

Momma said...

I think the sky was glowing just for you! I've never seen anything like this either. I'll ask my science-minded hubby if he's ever heard of such a thing...

Peace - D

Jamie Dawn said...

I don't know what caused the glow, but I do know that you were wise to rush to get your camera. So often, the sky changes quickly, and had you waited, you may have missed capturing this lovely shot.
Your title reminded me of a birthday card I bought for a relative who is going bald and always jokes about it. The card said "Going, Going, Gone!" on the outside, then inside it said, "Enough about your hair. Have a Happy Birthday any way."
I hope the trash got taken care of that night after you got the shot.

Sandi McBride said...

We have fooled around in space so much it may be something we have inadvertently created...scary thought but vivid photo
Sandi

Louis la Vache said...

"Louis's" theory: the red was your bloodshot eyes after too many Foster's....

But that's only a theory.

No, "Louis" isn't going to put the theory to a test...

(Editor to "Louis": 'You weren't invited here to make snarky comments.'

"Louis" to Editor: 'True enough. Actually I stopped by to see if Kneel Armstrong had made another apprearance.)

High Desert Diva said...

Eerie, but beautiful. Maybe some sailor was happy the next day.

Red sky at night, sailor's delight
Red sky in morning, sailor's warning.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Sorry to hear winter has struck your part of the world though. We're still waiting for summer!

Carletta said...

Ever since his days in high school science class my wonderful son would say it's the pollution in the air.
Nevertheless, it's beautiful!

I'm laughing at Katney's comment!

Texas Travelers said...

As a Scientist, "I don't have a clue".
I could propose maybe a dozen phenomena that could have caused it but, For the time being I'll go with katney and daryl. ;o)

Great catch. As in my recent post, there are some great sky colors and effects after sunset. Yours was extra unusual. Good thing you remembered to take the lens cap off. Remember the old film days?

Thanks for the recent visit,
Troy

Jennifer H said...

Amazing color. I googled and couldn't find any possible causes, either. Stumped.

willow said...

You haven't been obsessed with building models of a distinctive butte on your kitchen table, have you?

Close encounters of authorblog...

Jeff B said...

I think that is the Aruroa Bora Ausie.

Whatever it is/was it made for a wonderful shot.

Tonya said...

those are great looking pictures! Good Job.

womaninawindow said...

ya, my theory...opportunity.

womaninawindow said...

ya, my theory...opportunity.

nitebyrd said...

No theory. I'm just going to enjoy your mystery picture.

Dave Coulter said...

Hmm....aurora australis? :)

alicesg said...

Very lovely photos. Maybe the fairies have decided to come down to earth for a party. :)

Jenera said...

I tried taking a similar shot when we went camping last weekend but it would not come out right. I used a tripod, played around with the settings, everything. I've never really taken shots at night so I was confused. We were camping on a lake and the lights were from a town about 45 miles away.

What's the best thing to do when trying to get shots like these at night?

Here's the link for the shot I was trying to get. http://s82.photobucket.com/albums/j243/Fluffnera/?action=view¤t=IMG_0143.jpg
http://s82.photobucket.com/albums/j243/Fluffnera/?action=view¤t=IMG_0141.jpg

Bubba's Sis said...

Sailors' delight.

John said...

Great shot and lovely siluette.
Nice description too.

Maggie May said...

What ever caused it, you were lucky to get the shot. I like the sloping line against the eerie back ground!
We call garbage/trash RUBBISH in England! EG:- A rubbish bin, a rubbish tip.

Aggie said...

Very nice whatever caused it. What was the weather like the next day?

Old Wom Tigley said...

It might have been 'A shepherds T-light. :O)

Nice to be back commenting and catching up David.. thank you for your comment today... Sky Watch shot right past 200 last week, and my PC decided to throw a sulk.. :O)

Jo Beaufoix said...

Wow, that's just lovely. Well spotted David.

Musings said...

This is so weird. It looks like a fire in the distance.

Mima said...

5 hours, and wow. I'm not surprised at all that you went to look for a fire, but I am just as lost as anyone else as to why, if it was pollution you would expect it always to be like that, and from your surprise it obviously isn't! Its very pretty however it came to be.

polona said...

most interesting glow.

one second free handed?
wow, you have a steady hand!

ed said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I'm not gonna lie! I just saw the same freakin thing tonight! Me and my friend were playing wiffle ball at about 10:30 and we spottedd the glow. It shined really bright and then faded, then came back. Last I saw it was fading! What the heck?!

cdavis said...

Yo man! hope you can get back to me soon on the red sky. Right when I saw your blog I had to message you about the red sky! I hopew you're still using this blog site. Atleast I'm not crazy hahaa