Aurorae, Noctilucent Clouds and Zodiacal Light

The Aurorae or the Northern Lights can be a spendid sight, particularly from a dark site. Noctilucent Clouds are a very high atmospheric phenomenon (altitude about 80 km) on the edge of space. Another visible dark sky phenomenon is the Zodiacal Light, caused by sunlight reflected off dust in the plane of the solar system. Some photography.

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Icelandic Aurora, 29 September 2016

Aurora; click image for higher resolution Aurora; click image for higher resolution

Left: Auroral Arc at 21.29 UT. Boötes is on the left. 15 s exposure.
Right: Bright Auroral Bands, quickly changing, at 21.48 UT. 8 s exposure.

Taken from near Arnes, Iceland. DSLR at a focal length of 18 mm, ISO 800.


Suburban Aurora, August 2015

Aurora; click image for higher resolution

Aurora, a low arc with rays higher up. No colour visible to the naked-eye. Notice the light pollution from surrounding street lamps. Observed from Rush, Co Dublin.

26th-27th August 2015 at 02.45 UT. DSLR at ISO 800. 20 s exposure.


Aurora, March 2012

Aurora; click image for higher resolution

Aurora, rayed arc with some folds. The green colour was obvious to the naked-eye, despite the full moon. Observed from off south-tip of Greenland at 10600 m.

8th-9th March 2012 at 03.17 UT. DSLR at ISO 3200, from a bumpy platform. 2 s exposure.


Great Aurora, November 2003

Aurora; click image for higher resolution

Auroral Corona at the zenith 20th-21st November 2003. Taken from near Kells, Co. Meath with a Nikon 4500 digital camera.


Aurora 2003, October 29/30

Aurora; click image for higher resolution Aurora; click image for higher resolution Aurora; click image for higher resolution Aurora; click image for higher resolution Aurora; click image for higher resolution

All taken from Oristown near Kells, Co. Meath. The first two images are 8 s exposures, taken with a Nikon 4500 digital camera (at ISO 400). The last three images were taken on Kodak Elite Chrome 200 slide film.


Alaska Aurora, October 2000

Aurora; click image for higher resolution

The Polar Aurora on 26th-27th October 2000 as seen from Chena Hot Springs, Alaska. 28 mm focal-length wide angle lens. Taken on Kodak Elite Chrome 200 slide film. The temperature was below -20°C at the time.


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Noctilucent Clouds, June 2016

noctilucent cloud; click image for higher resolution noctilucent cloud; click image for higher resolution

Left: A very bright display, image taken on 3rd June 2016 at 00:39 UT from Rush, Co Dublin. Exposure of 10 s with a DSLR, focal length 55 mm.

Right: Moderately bright noctilucent cloud, taken on 23rd June 2016 at 01:22 UT from Rush, Co Dublin. Exposure of 8 s with a DSLR, focal length 18 mm (cropped).


Noctilucent Cloud, June 2013

noctilucent cloud; click image for higher resolution

DSLR image (cropped) taken on 8th June 2013 at 00:37 UT from Rush, Co. Dublin. Exposure of 6 s, ISO 800. Focal length 35 mm. To the naked-eye they appeared very bright.


Noctilucent Cloud, June 2010

noctilucent cloud; click image for higher resolution

DSLR image (cropped) taken on 14th June 2010 at 01:23 UT from Rush, Co. Dublin. Exposure of 8 s, ISO 400. Focal length 47 mm.


Noctilucent Cloud, July 2006

noctilucent cloud; click image for higher resolution

DSLR image taken on 14th July 2006 at 22:51 UT from Rush, Co. Dublin. Exposure of 10 s.


Noctilucent Cloud, July 1990

noctilucent cloud; click image for higher resolution

Taken on 18th July 1990 at 03:15 UT from Barnasligan, Co. Dublin. Exposure of 30 s on Fujichrome 100 with a 50 mm camera lens.


Zodiacal Light, May 2015

zodiacal light; click image for higher resolution

DSLR image taken on 13th-14th May 2015 at 02:54 UT. Texas Star Party (Prude Ranch in the Davis Mountains). Exposure of 15 s, ISO 800. Focal length 18 mm. To the naked-eye it was very evident. Venus is the brightest object. The Sun was then 15° below the horizon.


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