Saturday, 19 March 2016

Activity again

Its been a great week in Shetland and the rest of Scotland for seeing the Aurora. Judging by the number of photos I have seen on Facebook a good part of the population has been out taking photos. The weather has played a part with a run of three excellent nights, clear, still and reasonably warm.

                                                                               St Ninians Looking north to Bigton & Ireland

The only draw back was a half moon, although there was some benefit as it tended to light the foreground.

Although we have been  restricted with the times we could go out, due to concerts, it is still great to be outside any night. Tuesday night we managed an hour out at St Ninian's, but the main activity seemed to be after midnight.

Wednesday we got out slightly earlier due to a shorter concert but the largest activity was about 1/2 hour before we started photographing down at Mareel, it was already fading when we started. The forecast had been for the greatest activity to be between 9-12 midnight, you just need to have the time to be out ready. On the way back from Lerwick we did see one burst of very bright activity as we passed Sound.

                                                                                                       Looking north from St Ninian's

The KP level had been 5 on Tuesday and Wednesday, but in Shetland people didn't seem to capture the colour as further south on mainland Scotland. March and September are the best months for seeing the aurora here as the earth tilts towards the sun providing the biggest contact with any solar flare.

With several alerts during the day with a KP 5+ you always want night to come sooner, but the nights in Shetland are drawing out quickly so it becomes darker later and will not be helped by the change, on Saturday 26 March when the clocks go forward.

The Aurora  is possibly the main item on a person's bucket list, it was on mine but even though we have seen it more than two dozen times since we moved here back in 2014 we never fail to be impressed.

                                                               Lerwick - Aurora still visible even with light Pollution

Don't forget tonight is Earth Hour a global event when people turn off their lights for an hour between 8.30- 9.30 pm. This is to show that we care about the future of our planet. Now 172 countries are taking part. It first started back in 2007 in Sydney Australia and is expanding all the time

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