(c) Dennis C. Anderson
                       "A Purple Ray of Light"

                                             Ninilchik, Alaska
                                         September 14, 2004

    A tall ray of the aurora reaches up and out of the Earth's shadow and into direct sunlight where it is transformed into a beautiful purple hue. When nitrogen molocules, already ionized by the aurora's electric currents, are exposed to sunlight they capture certain photons and immediately release them in a process known as resonance scattering. This process creates blues and violets that are usually too faint to be seen redily by our dark adapted-eyes as was the case on this morning. The film does not suffer from lack of color vision at night like we do so it is capable of picking up these faint emissions even if we cannot.
    The eastern sky is rich with stars and planets in this view of the 100-year-old Russian Orthodox Church that is Ninilchik's claim to fame. Venus shines brightly at left and is joined by Saturn, a little higher and to the right just below the "twin" stars of Castor and Pollux of Gemini. Orion, the hunter is seen just to the right of the church.
    I used a modified 6x9 medium format camera equipped with a 50mm wide-angle lens and Fuji Provia 400 film to record the moment.

    This image is availible in the following sizes: 5x7, 6x9, 8x12, 11x15, and 12x18 as well as 6x12 and 8x16 panoramic sizes.

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