Aurora Eruption

April 23, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Aurora ExplosionAurora ExplosionNorth Donegal Coast, 24th April 2012.

About Aurorae

Although the Aurora appears colourless to the naked eye, for the most part the green that is commonly picked up in long exposure photographs originates from atomic oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere colliding with an incoming particle, typically an electron.  The collision transfers energy to the oxygen atom, which is then released again in the form of visible light.  Light at a green wavelength is characteristic of atomic oxygen.  The combined effect of billions of these particle collisions in the Earth’s atmosphere gives rise to the Auroral glow. 

In the Image

Charged particles blasted of the surface of the Sun arrived at Earth’s upper atmosphere on the morning of the 24th of April 2012. An absolutely stunning aurora display followed. Easily the best I have seen in my eventful four years of sky watching. The display started off strong at nightfall (22:00 UT) with intense and almost static rays. However shortly after magnetic midnight the aurora came to life, complete with waving curtains, shimmering rays, vivid colours and pulsating heart. A spellbinding and enrolling time was endured from dusk to dawn. 

 

AURORA: CURTAIN CALL

Curtain Call AuroraCurtain Call AuroraNorth Donegal Coast, 24th April 2012.

About Aurorae

The out flow of accelerated particles from the Sun results in Aurora displays on the majority of dark nights in the artic.  However, for the aurora to spill south into Irish skies, something much more spectacular must occur.  For Aurora displays to occur in Irish skies, the Sun must blast material from its surface towards Earth in an event called a coronal mass ejection (CME). 

In the Image

Charged particles blasted of the surface of the Sun arrived at Earth’s upper atmosphere on the morning of the 24th of April 2012. An absolutely stunning aurora display followed. Easily the best I have seen in my eventful four years of sky watching. The display started off strong at nightfall (22:00 UT) with intense and almost static rays. However shortly after magnetic midnight the aurora came to life, complete with waving curtains, shimmering rays, vivid colours and pulsating heart. A spellbinding and enrolling time was endured from dusk to dawn. 

 

Earlier Just Before Sunset...

In the Image

This image was taken at the North Donegal coast while awaiting for the darkness to set to reveal what would be a stunning Aurora display. In the scene the young crescent Moon can be seen setting alongside the seven Sisters of the Pleiades Star Cluster. The three stars that make up Orion’s Belt are aligned on the horizon. The brilliant Venus dominates the sky while the golden remains of Sunset glow below.

 


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