Aurora Gallery

AURORA over TORBAY on October 21st, 2001

The spectacular auroral images below (click to see large scale) were taken by society member Martin Bastion on the evening of Sunday 21st October, 2001 from the lanes near Nortel / Whiterock, between 9.30 and 10pm. Exposures vary between 8 and 16 seconds, F1.8, with the camera set to 400 ISO. The first two show the aurora with (left, part of) the Plough visible in the background (double star Mizar and Alcor clearly visible in the Plough's handle) and the third is set against Hercules, Corona Borealis and Bootes.

The reds and greens are mainly due to excited oxygen atoms. The display was initially caused by the eruption of the first of two category X1.6 solar flares from sunspot number 9661 at 0105UT on October 19th. This sent a coronal mass ejection (CME) in the direction of the earth, reaching the Earth's magnetosphere at 1650UT on October 21st.

AURORA from SCOTLAND on April 4th-7th, 2000

The Aurora images below were all taken by Chris Proctor

These two auroral displays were photographed from Inchnadamph in NW Scotland. The pictures were all taken using a fixed camera with a 50 mm f 1.8 standard lens.

The first two pictures below are of a quiet auroral display seen on the night of 4th - 5th April 2000. This was visible to the unaided eye merely as a faint colourless glow to the north: it took the photographs to show the distinctive auroral colours and confirm its identity. Both pictures are two minute exposures on 400 iso film.

Six pictures of the major auroral display which occurred two nights later, on 6th - 7th April 2000. From Inchnadamph the display lasted most of the night and was very active showing bright colours and frequent displays of moving auroral bands and rays. At its peak observers in England reported seeing the aurora overhead from as far south as Cornwall and in Inchnadamph we were facing SOUTH to watch it! This is a very unusual situation as normally the auroral ovals lie well to the north of Scotland and one must look to the northern horizon to see it. If we are lucky one or two more big displays like this may occur over the next year or two of solar maximum. Exposures for these pictures were 10 - 30 seconds on 280 iso film (Kodak Elite 200, uprated stop).