The Night of the Bear

September 28, 2016 coronal hole stream. 

I can’t always catch the aurora when it happens and I missed a few days leading up to the current coronal hole stream being provided by coronal hole 764/765 which is a postive coronal hole and the largest we’ve had that I can remember.


Days preceding the effect from these conjoined coronal holes, the earth entered through the sun’s current sheet. This is a region where the sun’s magnetic polarity of positive and negative meet and this results in a flow of electric current which flows throughout the solar system within the heliosphere. The passing through this current sheet flipped the phi angle of earth’s magnetic field and put us into a two day, intermittent geomagnetic storm which spawned aurora. Unfortunately I was unable to capture this event. 

The night of September 27th, the effects of CH764/765 hit our magnetosphere. It was a warm night and would have been perfect for photographing had it not been for the clouds covering the sky. So another night missed. 

Then last night I was determined to capture whatever I could to document the event. I had planned earlier to go to a secret location up on a mountain top with my buddy but something came up for me and I had to back out. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. 

Being the location is remote, my friend invited his brother in law to go with him. I was disappointed that I had to miss this because the view from this location cannot be beat. I turned to the meters to check the solar wind and the magnetic field and around 21:00 (9pm) I went to my local spot to snap a few pictures. Once again, it was a cloudy night but there were some holes in the clouds now and then. 

I took pictures for about twenty minutes and decided to wait another hour or two because the conditions weren’t that great. As I was packing my gear, my friend called. His voice sounded more high pitched and I sensed an emergence of terror. He told me they came upon a bear that roared at them and that they were almost to their car. Equipped with only a pocket flashlight, inside a spruce forest, there was little they could use to gain any bearing of direction. They ended up walking in a circle as humans do when we are lost and came across the bear again which made its presence known with another loud roar. It ended up roaring four times at them and my friend thought he was dinner for sure. The whole time he’s telling me this I’m thinking, “please don’t let me hear him being attacked”. 

They eventually made it back into the car and climbed in and we hung up. About an hour later we met up at our local spot and he told the story. He promised we will never go up there again but I think we will. We will just be better equipped with a jar of honey. 

All said and done, no one was injured and a great story was created. I’m very happy to have not had to live that experience. The story alone is enough for me. 

Here are a few shots from The Night of the Bear.