Saturday, December 17, 2016

Beavers, Bear Spray + Meteors (Oh My)

While employed at the visitor center I would frequently get the questions about viewing the aurora. One of my favorite pranks to pull was to confide that for locals there's actually a secret scale on the  Geophysical Institute's forecast that extends the range all the way to 10: that's when you need to use windshield wipers. And the rumors about hearing the aurora? At that intensity you can also smell them (vanilla w/a hint of ozone in case you're wondering).

Pic by Eric Engman/Fairbanks Daily news-Miner

But seriously, the trick to aurora-watching used by seasoned professionals is to simply drink a lot of water before going to bed. You'll be getting up all night peeing off the porch, thus greatly increasing your odds of catching a display. And what with the grand confluence of celestial events occurring, as of late the skies have been a veritable, visual smörgåsbord. A full supermoon + the Geminid shower = a trinity of wonder and awe.

I have a gnawing feeling that the Significant Otter has the best xmas present ever in store for me... 

OK so yeah – THAT’S a first: Managed to bear-spray myself while sitting and drawing this week… turned out my knee was resting against a tray which was in turn pushing up on a just-so-angled old can of repellent poking out of a box in back of the shelf (missing a trigger guard of course).
Needless to say there’s one cat who won’t be chewing on any computer cords for a while…

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