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Posts Tagged ‘March’

Spectacular Aurora over Mid Wales tonight !

Once again the value of Twitter for aurora alerts was proven tonight. I started to pick up reports of a Class G-1 storm reaching KP5 levels of visibility in Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland at around 8.20pm tonight and then by 9pm there were reports from Southern Ireland. I thought I would take a look even though no reports from Wales were coming in and was rewarded with the most spectacular light show to date for our area. Pillars of white light were numerous with a background of greens and magenta reds in the north and north west. Occasional higher bands could be seen early on right round to the west and fairly high up.

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Images taken 9.30 – 10.30 6/3/16 Sony RX100, ISO 3200, 28mm, F1.8, 8 seconds.

Categories: Aurora, Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

90% Solar Eclipse over Mid Wales 20th March 2015

March 20, 2015 2 comments

hadisk1alt23Above: Ha view with single sunspot region 2303 visible and some curving wispy filaments

The Sun is throwing an embarrassment of riches at me this week with a first ever view of the aurora on Tuesday night and now a perfect blue-sky view of the 90% solar eclipse from the front garden ! I was well prepared this time with all batteries charged up and a ‘Plan B’ mobile solution which could be powered from the car if the notorious local river fog blotted out the view. The weather conditions turned out to be perfect though with early cloud passing over from the north west leaving a clear blue sky completely through the eclipse event from first to last contact. The whole event lasted between 8.40am and 10.40am with maximum coverage at our latitude of just over 90% at 9.30am.

The neighbours gathered around close to the maximum and watched via the video footage on the laptop screen while I captured footage via the DMK41 mono video camera on the Coronado PST Ha and CaK scopes mounted on the EQ6 drive. It was a very pleasant event and everyone had a good view. There was a terrific quality of light at maximum with lots of long shadows cast across the landscape and a deep navy blue sky.

The images are all single frames selected from the 1000 frame footage of the videos as my stacking software (Registax 6) has issues with aligning points when both the sun and moon are moving relative to each other in the video footage. Even so I am very pleased with the results which make up a fine record of the event.

caksun1alt3Above: CaK View with Sunspot region 2303 visible

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hadisk5maxaltAbove: 9:30am Maximum coverage for our latitude at just over 90%

hadisk6minaltAbove: Near last contact at 10:38am – just a small bite out of the sun at bottom left

haproms1alt2Above: Some fine prominences on the limb

Aurora over Mid Wales 17th March 2015

March 18, 2015 Leave a comment

DSC02490-3webI was flicking through my twitter feed 9pm last night when I noticed a rash of aurora alerts and aurora images being posted from people around the north of the UK and even down as far as Norfolk ! I checked Spaceweather and a KP8 storm was predicted with aurora potentially naked eye visible across the UK.

Collecting the Sony RX100 camera and a tripod I headed up the Montgomeryshire Canal so that I could get a wide view looking north. And there I stood in increasingly freezing temperatures for two hours seeing absolutely nothing. Well that’s not strictly true, I could see the light pollution above Oswestry, the approaching headlight reflections in light fog of cars coming down the Four Crosses bypass and the occasional passenger jet or satellite. It was 10.54pm and I was about to give up when I noticed something odd about the sky above the light pollution layer. To the naked eye all I could see was a brighter ghostly band of white light above the light pollution and above that were some amazing faint white spires. I put the camera on f1.8 with an 8 second exposure at ISO 1600 and to my utter astonishment the brightly colored aurora appeared in front of me. The bright green and magenta colors and fine structural detail in the spires came out quite well in the photographs.  The light show lasted just 7 minutes until 11.01pm and then faded back to the north. I stayed out until 12.40pm with my wife hoping to see them again, but it was not to be.

This is the first time I have seen the aurora and it was a real treat to see them from home on such a rare occasion.

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Categories: Aurora Tags: , , , ,

Don’t miss the UK partial eclipse on 20th March 2015 – last one until 2026 !

Partial Solar Eclipse in UK - August 2008

If you happen to live in Svalbard or the Faroe Islands you will be treated to a 2 minute and 46 seconds total solar eclipse early on the morning of the 20th March 2015, the last total solar eclipse in Europe until 12th August 2026 ! For the rest of us in the UK we will have to be content with somewhere between an 80% and 95% partial eclipse, which is still quite exciting and visually spectacular.

In the UK the partial eclipse will start 8.25 am (based on London location) and finish by 10.45 am (based on Inverness location) with maximum eclipse coverage at 9.31 am (based on Birmingham location). The time only varies very slightly by a few minutes across the UK and you can get more detailed information here http://www.solareclipse2015.org.uk/chasing-the-shadow/about-the-eclipse/

The last time I saw a partial eclipse in the UK was on 1st August 2008 and the weather was awful. The cloud did part very briefly though and I managed to get the image above at maximum coverage. Fingers crossed the weather on 20th March will be better and I will certainly be trying to get some better images this time with the Ha and CaK solar telescopes.

As ever, please protect you eyes with the appropriate safety precautions in place before looking directly at the Sun.

Categories: Solar Tags: , , , , , ,