Thursday, 23 October 2014

Autumnal aurora...

True darkness has returned and at this time of the year around the Autumn equinox it tends to provide an increased chance to see the aurora borealis at a lower latitude for reasons relatively unknown to science. 
On the 14th Oct aurora activity was forecast to be increased at 1500 onwards due to a CME side-swiping earth's magnetic field. A wonderful forecast of clear skies was due throughout the night so it looked like there would be a chance of a display.
I got in position at my favourite vantage point on the north side of the isle and as dusk turned to darkness I soon began to see green as there was a pale auroral arc on the northern horizon. I got a time-lapse going before a large nimbus cloud blocked the north side before slowly dispersing over an hour later with a light southerly wind. At around 2330 the display really intensified for 10-15 minutes with green columns rippling through the sky as its strength rose to around 5kp. A spectacular display which I shared with a lovely young family experiencing the spectacle for their first time. 

Glengorm Aurora, 15 sec, f2.8. iso 2000
I headed home to charge my batteries and eat a cereal bar before heading back out in the field to a coastal level and different angle. The conditions were really in my favour tonight as the sky continued to stay clear and the solar winds continued to blow, displaying a nice arc of columns moving slowly from left to right through the sky before it eased off at around 0300. I managed another time-lapse sequence to go with my MULLatNIGHT video sequence which will hopefully be completed before xmas. 

Aurora from Croig, 15 sec, f2.8. iso2000
The next day my aurora encounter was publicised in the Scotsman, Press and Journal, The Times and the Metro -