Aurora

An Eccentric Anomaly: Ed Davies's Blog

I've just posted this on the Wycombe Astronomical Society forum and thought I might as well put a copy here.

Saw aurora Sunday (February 23rd) and Thursday (27th) nights.

On Sunday I'd been out and was driving back to Dunbeath down the A9 from Thurso early evening directly into a very clear sky with Orion, etc, ahead and thought I saw a bit of glow on the right so diverted off to my plot (planning application's been in a month now) a) to get a bit more darkness, b) to see if it really was an aurora and c) to have a look at the darkness on the site - not really been up there on a very clear and dark night before (only clearish nights in or near summer when it's not that dark or cloudier winter nights).

Site was pretty dark, I was pleased to see, though there was a lot of light from the oil well site on the coast to the SSE. Still, I think that must have been from some special work as there were some big cranes there which have gone now so I'm reasonably hopeful that won't happen too often.

Yes, it was an aurora. I've never seen anything other than a green glowing patch but this was the highest I've seen and with the best defined lower edge. I only stopped for a few minutes then went home for various reasons. When I got back it had gone.

On Thursday evening I looked out early and saw a quite decent display but not as good as Sunday evening's. I looked out a couple of times during the evening as I saw reports and pictures from all over the country (via various on Twitter) but didn't see much. Late evening I went out for a while and hid from local lights behind my caravan and could see a more extensive but fainter green area. Not terribly spectacular but the first time I've seen movement in the display while I was actually watching - different patches were opening and closing really quite quickly, over 30 seconds or so, I guess.

There were some much more colourful displays seen near here (particularly by Maciej Winiarczyk). Don't know if I just didn't look at the right times, whether I'd have needed to go to a darker spot (e.g., my plot) and dark adapt more or if I'd have needed to use a long exposure camera to actually “see” it.