Friday, 31 August 2018

Aurora Reminders

We are now getting closer to the solar minimum and as a result we should get less aurora activity. The sun is again spotless making this the 133rd day so far this year, you have to go back to 2009 to find a period like this and this was the deepest solar minimum this century.

Already this period we have had a couple of nights when the Aurora  has shown but this was around 2.00am , too late for me. I always think of September as the start of the season with the nights drawing in so any observations can be at a reasonable time.

The photos shown here are from last season and we had some crackers including these taken at Bigton

`Steve' also made an appearance and was totally unexpected and it still sparks of conversations among the hunters. Too many people made the mistake of trying to get round a lot of locations and spent too much time in the car rather than photographing.

The appearance of `Steve' is usually one arc but two could be seen, a rare sight indeed. The green usually associated with the arc can be seen in the lower on in the above photo.

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High energy can be seen in these photos and was easily visibleto the naked eye, it certainly was fast moving and for me was one of the best Aurora nights I have experienced

If you want to join me on a course to photograph the night sky, then book the one below which will be held in Lerwick, Shetland in November/ December. Only a few places available so book soon

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Sunday, 10 June 2018

Super Crescent & Shetland Space race

Earlier in May you may have seen a Super Crescent Moon with Venus close by to the top right a nice sight indeed on a clear night in the western sky.

It might seem that the moon was extra bright and you would be correct as it is a `Supermoon'. The Moon is at Perigee-that is , the side if the moon's elliptical orbit closest to Earth. This actually makes the moon 5% wider and almost 11% brighter.

The term Supermoon also applies to crescents as well as full Moons. We didn't see the Da Vinci Glow, also known as earth shine. This is where the sunlight reflects from the earth onto the dark lunar surface. In the northern Hemisphere, Earthshine is extra visible in spring because springtime crescent moons are high in the sky at sunset

Will Shetland be chosen for the location of the UK satellite launch pad ?, well we are down to three sites. Saxa Vord in Unst is one and the winner will be announced on the 12 June. Last week Shetland Space Centre hosted an event to introduce the locals to representatives of the UK and International space industry.

Would be great to have this in Shetland so good luck to all involved. If successful it would be operational in two years time. Shetland has a history of delivering huge infrastructure projects and the fact the  RAF have a secured site at the early warning facility at Saxa Vord all bodes well for the island.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Tingwall stars

Nights are now drawing out and we have very little darkness. The Aurora has been visible very late on but only captured by a few folk.

                      We had been visiting up at Tingwall and took advantage of a clear night with very little wind

The wind turbines cast a red reflection on Asta Loch, but to see 103 Turbines looking north would certainly be a blight on the landscape and would show up on every Aurora photograph so I hope they never get started

Although not completely dark I like the blue sky and you can also use a lower ISO which helps reduce noise.

Looking south to Scalloway, light pollution is clearly visible, especially now LED lights have been installed

                                                                                                   Looking west

          Just waited for car headlights to light up the old vicarage which adds a lot of depth to the photo

                                                                                      Another looking West

To keep up with the vents in the Shetland Night Sky join  us on facebook at Shetland Aurora Hunter.

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Monday, 16 April 2018

Brilliant Aurora

The 18 March 2018 will go down as the best Aurora display we have seen since moving to Shetland 4 years ago

                                               Steve made a rare appearance see earlier blogs ` Steve'

The density was intense and for an hour and was recorded as a G2- class storm. It started off with the green colour which was very active.

A twisting curtain with very intensive spots of high activity, then the colours became apparent, large pillars of purple rising from the green curtain

This colour reaching high into the sky providing a great scene. At this point Steve appeared high over head

It was a night to remember, especially as it is reaching the peak of low solar activity with very few sunspots visible
However this doesn't seem to stop the Aurora showing and from mid march to mid April it has shown most nights we have had clear skies.

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