Orion setting over the hills, a few nights back:
Last night when I went into my bedroom I was assaulted with a *monumentally* horrible and inexplicable stench. Medium story short, it came from outside. And when I went outside and looked around with my little 15,000,000 lamp, the air was *full* of dust. It was not obvious where either the stench or the dust came from, though it was clear they were linked. Long story medium, a tractor was trundling through a field a half mile or so away, kicking up dust and creating whatever the stink was. Since getting here in 2004, I’ve never seen or smelled anything quite like it. But the smell was vaguely familiar; when I was a horrible little brat, my parents would occasionally toss my squallering ass in the car and drive along the Mississippi from our home, past or through the city of Clinton, Iowa. The city had something like a hog fat rendering plant that STANK… as in “this physically hurts me it smells so bad.” It was *this* horrible stench that filled the air last night. It was sufficiently gag-worthy that the only way I could stand to be outside was to wear a dust mask meant to protect against solvents.
What exactly the tractor was doing that could cause that same stink, I’ve no idea. Spreading rancid hog fat over a field seems an unlikely sort of thing to do.
I tried, and failed, to take some photos that would show just how dusty the air was. Oddly enough, trying to focus on dust in the air in the dark is a non-trivial task. Still, some photos down the way past the neighbors house showed some interesting views. The light rays & such visible here are otherwise never visible.
… but something else. Slightly to the east of due north an aurora-ish glow hung low in the sky last night. A change in angle, zoom and even lenses showed that the glow was really there, as opposed to an internal reflection. My guess is that the bright lights from the quarry lit up the low altitude clouds – possibly ice crystals – that were nearby.