Sunday, May 1, 2011

Aurora Activity

On Friday I was watching the skies at the office, hoping they would clear up for the night. Spaceweather was predicted to spark up right around sunset for our part of the world. And so it did. All the websites that I checked (on a daily basis) showed me 'something' was going on.
So I charged the battery, and off I went.

At first, the display was fighting against the glow of the setting sun. I came to my first spot and did some shots. Yep there they were. A nice glowing arc against the northern sky. Nothing fancy, stationary, but I was happy. It's been a while since I was able to spot them (full moons and bad weather have basically spoiled my previous attempts).

11.30pm came and nothing had changed. By this time I was on my second (darker location). At 11.45 – I was just about to pack up – I noticed the activity picking up ever so slightly. And then seconds later, BAM the show started. Fast moving curtains of green glowing neon against a star littered northern sky. Not a breeze in the air. Just about as perfect as it was going to get. Then minutes later purple spikes started to appear! I had a hard time figuring out what to shoot. Where to look. What to shoot next.

Around 12.30, by now the display had climbed up in the sky and those spikes where just about touching the Northern star (so that's a long ways up!), I was standing there – in awe – holding out both arms while I was talking to myself 'look at this, LOOK AT THIS!'

I was home at 3. The show was still going on but I was toast. Too much excitement for me that night. I can't wait until solar activity will peak.

Aurora Borealis - Images by Olivier Du Tre


  1. Wow--gorgeous. I love to see those purple spikes! Would you mind sharing which websites you check for aurora predictions?

  2. Sure Jonathan.

    First of all I use an iPhone app called Solar Monitor.

    Of course

    I use Aurora watch website to see watch is specifically going on on my end of the world. They have real time local data and they estimate the chance of actually seeing the aurora.

    Another neat thing to see is the Japanese website where they do a real time simulation of the magnetosphere. Simulation is on and off right now due to the aftermath and power issues of the earthquake.

    I follow these guys on twitter with a text update option. So every time the aurora goes wild I get a text message.

    Here is a nice selection of data you could use

    And some forecasting websites

    That's about it...
    Good luck!

  3. Great work!
    I will take the right time to visit your blog!

    See you soon...