Thursday, 19 March 2015

Good or bad Friday

Its seems that money is no object, with the Eclipse this Friday a number of Cruise Liners have visited Shetland on the way up to north of the Faroes where a 100% eclipse will occur. With people paying around £1800 pp for a shared cabin on a 10 day P&O cruise , they hope to see the northern lights as well, as we all know this will be all down to the weather.

The Faroes have an average of 260 days of rain per year and lots more cloud than Shetland, so good luck if you have paid this amount. For some they may not be around for the next eclipse in 2026. The cruiser companies have put a clause in ` Solar eclipse and Northern Lights are not guaranteed' . just in case.

Given the fact that even if the eclipse is only visible for 2 minutes and 47 seconds, that £10.78 per second based on £1800 cost. Even so  Fred Olsen tours have now put a 4th ship on, such is the demand, the price on this 14 day tour is £1979 pp based on two sharing, reduced from £2699 pp or you can pay the top price of £4049 pp (reduced from £5399), even this works out to £24.24 per second. You could buy three / four good telescopes for that.

Knowing that you sometimes only get around 30 mins warning of an aurora even the people that can react quickly are often disappointed when no aurora shows despite a warning of a KP 5, as it did the other night.

On Tuesday I had to sit down when I received an aurora alert of  KP 8.67, this is the highest alert we have had since arriving in Shetland. Normally we have a KP 4 which produces some green lights on a clear night. This massive storm will be see as far south as Norfolk, but we shall not see it in Shetland due to the fog and showers, and besides this its only 4.40 pm when its still light. Later around 10.30 pm it was up to KP 8.89 visible in France and we could only imagine what the sky was like above the clouds.

However another storm is expected to hit Friday so it could be a magical day with the Solar Eclipse and an Aurora expected. The forecast is not too good with it mostly cloudy conditions.

Colourful lights caused by huge vast clouds of magnetically charged particles race towards earth, with another storm on Tuesday night, the two will cause a mass of colour with Green, Magenta, Red, Blue and Yellow expected to show. The particles collide with other particles and then enter our atmosphere and collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms in the air which when charges cause the Aurora Borealis.

Different colours are created depending on the energy of incoming particles- and the type of atom they hit in the atmosphere. The red which occurs high in the sky, is created by low energy particles interacting with oxygen. The green colour are caused by slightly more energetic particles and the purple hue involves nitrogen.

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