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Diane Rains
Hudson, WI USA
05:13 am

Equipment Details:

Panasonic Lumix FZ200

Post-processing Details:

Tweaked exposure

Image Details:

Last night a strong G2 aurora was expected to be visible as far south as Iowa. But auroras are fickle creatures! I awoke at 4 am, expecting to continue to see heavy clouds out my window. Instead, I was greeted by a clear sky full of stars, but no aurora! Alaska and points north got a fine show, but not Wisconsin.


... compensations. I watched a glorious dawn unfold from its first infant moments, as the stars began to wink out one by one. And during my pre-dawn vigil, ZING!! Smack in the center of my camera frame, a stunningly bright fireball (courtesy of the waning Lyrid meteor shower) streaked toward the horizon. The camera did not do full justice to its stunning brightness... and color! This meteor's trail was so bright it reflected the rose glow of dawn.

Throughout the folklore of Lough Gur, Ireland, appears a Sun Goddess – Áine. She is also a Queen of the Aos Sidhe, the Fairy Folk of Ireland. (But don't call them "fairy!") As I watched the pre-dawn sky turn red, I thought of Áine. In her stories she takes the form of a magic horse called the Lair Derg – the Red Mare of Dawn – and races across her Irish hills, painting the sky with dawn light. I have always found that notion inspiring. It makes me sing.

I wrote a song about Áine and recorded it last year with my music duo, Neptune's Keep – Áine of the Gold Heart.

Folklore or astronomy, the handiwork of our sun is always glorious!


Áine is the Red Mare.
Áine is the swan.
Áine walks enchanted hills,
and brings the fiery dawn.

Red Mare of Dawn, stride on!