Equinox Highway


Equinox Setting Sun (Sept 23, 2013)

Highway One heads into the setting equinox Sun.

I try for this shot every year, and every year I’m thwarted by low clouds over the Rockies to the west.

So here’s the shot from tonight, Monday, September 23, the night after equinox. Had the horizon been perfectly clear tonight the Sun would have appeared right at the end of the Trans-Canada Highway as it set behind the Rockies. Instead, it disappeared higher up and to the left, behind low cloud.

At equinox (fall or spring) the Sun rises due east and sets due west. So tonight, it was shining into the eyes of all the drivers as they headed west into Calgary – a little demonstration of the annual motion of the Sun.

The previous night, Sunday, Sept. 22, I shot a time-lapse movie of the scene, again hoping for a clear shot to the setting Sun. Alas! A neat movie but still not quite what I was after.

There’s always 2014. But I think I need to aim east and catch the rising Sun at equinox instead. The mountains attract too many clouds.

– Alan, September 23, 2013 / © 2013 Alan Dyer

 

 

A Ball of Fire Descending


Smoke reddened the Sun and turned it into a ball of fire setting into the west.

This was Monday night, September 24, looking toward the hills in the west end of Calgary. I positioned myself on the north side of the Bow River across from the downtown core, at the top of the river valley to catch the Sun in this telephoto shot. The other camera was taking a time-lapse sequence in a wider scene with the Bow River in view.

We are certainly having some fine sunsets of late, thanks to forest fire smoke.

– Alan, September 24, 2012 / © 2012 Alan Dyer

 

Driving into the Equinox Sun


At equinox the Sun sets due west and shines into the eyes of drivers heading west into the sunset.

This was the scene Friday night on Highway 1, heading to Banff out of Calgary. I set up beside the highway to catch the scene of the Sun going down at the end of the road. I was hoping for more smoke and haze to dim the Sun to a clearly defined disk rather than deal with a bright glow. But you shoot what the sky gives you.

This is one frame from a 315-frame time-lapse movie of the traffic madly moving down Highway 1 (a true to life recording!) and the Sun glow setting behind the Rockies.

– Alan, September 23, 2012 / © 2012 Alan Dyer

 

Right Angle Moon


Saturday night was a fine evening for witnessing the geometry of the night sky.

This is sunset on the evening of the autumnal equinox, September 22, 2012, with a first quarter Moon in the sky. The image illustrates the geometry of the quarter Moon’s position, which is always 90° away from the Sun, a quarter of the way around its orbit in its monthly cycle.

In this case, because the Sun (at right) was on the equinox position on the ecliptic, it was setting due west this night (something it does only on the dates of the fall or spring equinox). This put the quarter Moon (at left) 90° away, due south at sunset.

Draw a line from the Moon to your eye (the camera) and then back out to the Sun and it forms a 90° right angle. This geometry holds true for any quarter Moon, but being equinox the Sun and Moon were nicely aligned due west and south, making their right angle arrangement more obvious.

I took this shot from the grounds of the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory on the occasion of their monthly Open House.

– Alan, September 23, 2012 / © 2012 Alan Dyer