Saturday 11 May 2024

Aurora Alert!

PS Updated most recently on Friday May 17, 2024 

Unfortunately, I do not have my own photo of the sunspot group that caused this aurora but it probably looked similar to the one I photographed in March, link in a new page.

 There is an interesting article in Sky&Telescope comparing the sensitivity of the eye with a cell phone.

 The blue text is "clickable" to outside web pages for more details.

 Took nearly 200 photos tonight/Friday May 10 and now on Sat in the wee hours here is one.

Pleasant dreams  - dream of Olwen?

Dare I walk onto the balcony?

 That is twilight - dawn from Rama above the reflections in the Lake. The aurora has changed to a reddish glow - the 6300 A forbidden line oxygen about 800Km above the Earth,  It was present earlier but not as dominant as the green emission, also from oxygen at the more modest altitude of some 200km - below the orbit of the ISS.

 I made a video of stills looking due North - Polaris is just below and left of the black (drain) pipe.

 Here is a finder chart to help:

 Let me see if it works here:

The Big Dipper's "handle" is just to the right of the jut from the building 3/4 up the left side of the building. It is only 8 frames of 2 seconds exposure approximately every 15 sec, Hope it is not too big.

I suspect that the Sun shining on the atmosphere at 200km heated it up so that emission was mostly quenched. The emission at 800km is a forbidden one that usually can decay via collisions. However, at 800km the collisions occur every few minutes and so are not so strongly affected by the input of solar energy,

(Auroral excitation of the forbidden lines of atomic oxygen )

 And from the outside looking down;

 Notice the light pollution, too.

Also there were clouds that I found "pretty":

I noticed this morning that others were also making comparisons to the aurora of Oct 2003.

I too observed it - the red glow was very conspicuous. Initially Vicki feared the oil refinery in Wesseling might have "gone up". 

The photo was taken on film and then digitized, (Kuchenheim NRW Germany)


PS Additions to the blog made up to Thursday May 16


  1. The red sky in October 2003 reminded me of the Superior Propane explosion in Maple, Ontario, Canada in August, 1962.

  2. I recall your concerns.