Noctilucent clouds meets Northern lights 15./16.8.2015

Observed phenomena: Noctilucent clouds, northern lights

Noctilucent clouds
Observed NLC forms:

  • I (Veil)
  • IIa (Bands with diffuse, blurred edges)
  • IIIa (Short, straight and narrow streaks)
  • IVa (Whirls with small angular radius (0.1 – 0.5 degrees))

Brightness of the NLCs: 4 (NLC very bright and attracting the attention of casual observers)
Elevation: ~2°

Date: 15./16.8.2015
Time: 21:05-23:45 UT
Observing place: Parainen, Finland
Observing method: Photography, visual
Technical information about photographing equipment: Canon EOS 1100D + Tamron 10-24mm zoom lens
Observing conditions: Clear sky, no Moon

Northern lights

Observed phenomena: Aurora borealis
Date: 15./16.8.2015
Time: 20:30-00:15 UT
Observing place: Parainen, Finland
Observing method: Photography, visual
Technical information about photographing equipment: Canon EOS 1100D + Tamron 10-24mm zoom lens
Observing conditions: Clear sky, no Moon
Observed aurora forms:

  • Arc
  • Band
  • Rays

Elevation: 30 degrees
Brightness of the aurora: 3 (1-5)

During the night between 15th and 16th of August I drove to Parainen, my dark sky -site near Turku in order to observe deep sky objects visually with my large dobson. When I arrived at the site, a surprising sight was welcoming me in the northern sky, northern lights! This was quite exceptional, as northern lighs aren’t that regular sight in southern part of Finland, and especially not in August!

The display of northern lights was dominated by an aurora arc/band in northern sky. At irregular intervals, the band activated and got a bit brighter, also some fine aurora rays were present with the band! The maximum altitude of the northern lights was about 30 degrees.

The display became even more unusual, when also another phenomenon of high atmosphere appeared in the sky with the northern lights, noctilucent clouds! The NLC’s were at very low altitude in the northern horizon, but they were bright and clearly visible! I cannot remember having observed northern lights together with noctilucent clouds ever bofere this co-appearance of these phenomenae!

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Noctilucent clouds 23./24.7.2015

Observed phenomena: Noctilucent clouds
Observed NLC forms:

  • I (Veil)
  • IIa (Bands with diffuse, blurred edges)
  • IIIa (Short, straight and narrow streaks)
  • IIIb (Wave-like structure with undulations)
  • IVb ( Simple curve(s) with angular radius of 3 – 5 degrees)
  • IVc (Large-scale whirls)
  • 0 (A form which does not fit into types I – IV)
  • V (A net-like structure)

Brightness of the NLCs: 4 (NLC very bright and attracting the attention of casual observers)

Elevation: ~60°

Date: 23./24.7.2015
Time: 21:05-21:40 UT
Observing place: Ulvila, Finland
Observing method: Photography, visual
Technical information about photographing equipment: Sony Xperia Z1 Compact -smartphone camera

During the night between 23rd and 24th of July very bright noctilucent clouds appeared in the sky of Finland! The NLC’s were visible already before midnight! During the night, I was observing in near town of Ulvila, Western Finland, but clouds interfered severy my observing session. I was taking photos just with my smartphone camera, because the clouds were slowly but surely coming, and I wanted to get at least some photos! The NLC’s were very bright, and they were consisted of all kinds of forms, mainly waves. Despite the clouds, I could observe, that the NLC’s were extending from western sky to east, and their maximum altitude was about 60 degrees.

New season of noctilucent clouds has started!

Observed phenomena: Noctilucent clouds
Observed NLC forms:

  • I (Veil)
  • IIa (Bands with diffuse, blurred edges)
  • IIIa (Short, straight and narrow streaks)
  • IVc (Large-scale whirls)

Brightness of the NLCs: 3 (NLC clearly visible, standing out sharply against the twilight sky.)

Elevation: 150°

Date: 01./02.7.2015
Time: 21:45-22:15 UT
Observing place: Ulvila, Finland
Observing method: Photography
Technical information about photographing equipment: Canon EOS 1100D, Samyang 8mm fish eye -lens

The NLC season of 2015 has started! I observed my first NLC’s for this year in the night between 1st and 2nd of June 2015. The NLC’s covered pretty much the whole sky! They extended from northern sky all the way to the southern wky, where only the shadow of the Earth was limiting the visibility of the NLC’s. The most dominant NLC forms in this display were belts and large scale whirls. Aslo some wave-stacks were visible.

Nice halo display in the sky on 4th of May 2015

Observed phenomena: Halo phenomena
Light source: Sun
Origin: High clouds (cirrostratus, cirrus)
Observed halo forms:

  • 22° halo
  • Parhelia
  • 22° tangent arcs
  • Parhelic circle
  • 120° parhelia
  • Wegener antisolar arc

Date: 04.05.2015
Time: 14:20-16:00
Observing place: Pori-Helsinki, Finland
Observing method: Photography
Technical information about photographing equipment: Camera: Olympus µ 1030 SW

On monday 4th of May 2015 I was travelling from Pori to Helsinki by bus. While sitting in the bus, I was able to observe a pretty nice halo display in the sky. During the journey, I spotted bright 22° tangent arcs with 22° halo and parhelia and bright segments of parhelic circle several times. With the parhelic circle, I also observed 120° parhelia and a segment of Wegener antisolar arc! This display was dominated by singly-oriented, well-developed columnal crystals. Besides this, there were also some plate crystals present in this display. It was certainly one of the best halo displays that I have observed so far during this spring!

Upper 22° tangent arc and 22° halo @ 11:25 UT.
Upper 22° tangent arc and 22° halo @ 11:25 UT.
Parhelic circle and Wegener antisolar arc @11:29 UT
Parhelic circle and Wegener antisolar arc @11:29 UT
Parhelic circle and 120° parhelion @ 12:07 UT
Parhelic circle and 120° parhelion @ 12:07 UT
22° halo, 22° tangent arcs, parhelion and parhelic circle @ 12:37 UT
22° halo, 22° tangent arcs, parhelion and parhelic circle @ 12:37 UT

9° halo observed in the sky of Turku, Finland

Observed phenomena: Halo phenomena
Light source: Sun
Origin: High clouds (cirrostratus)
Observed halo forms:

  • 22° halo
  • 9° halo

Date: 19.04.2015
Time: 13:25
Observing place: Turku, Finland
Observing method: Photography
Technical information about photographing equipment: Camera: Olympus µ 1030 SW

So far this April 2015 hasn’t been very good in terms of halo phenomena. So far I have observed only common halo forms, except 19th of April, when I observed a 9° halo with full, bright and well developed 22° halo. Otherwise there is not much to blog about right now.

22° halo with 9° halo.
22° halo with 9° halo.
22° halo with 9° halo, unsharp masked.
22° halo with 9° halo, unsharp masked.

Lowitz arcs appeared in the sky of Kuusamo, Finland

Observed phenomena: Halo phenomena
Light source: Sun
Origin: High clouds (cirrostratus)
Observed halo forms:

  • 22° halo
  • Parhelia
  • Upper 22° tangent arc
  • Circumzenithal arc
  • Supralateral arc
  • Parhelic circle
  • Upper suncave Parry arc
  • Lowitz arcs (middle- and lower Lowitz arcs)

Date: 27.03.2015
Time: 13:45-14:15
Observing place: Ruka, Kuusamo, Finland
Observing method: Photography
Technical information about photographing equipment: Camera: Olympus µ 1030 SW

During 27th of March 2015 I was guiding a group of international students in Kuusamo, Finland, when a magnificent and bright halo display appeared in the sky! The students got a truly unique opportunity to witness a really special natural light display!

In this halo display, several halo forms were present: 22° halo, upper 22° tangent arc, parhelia, circumzenithal arc, supralateral arc, parhelic circle, upper suncave Parry arc and two kinds of Lowitz arcs: middle- and lower Lowitz arc. This halo display had at least three aspects that made this display so special: 1) the halo forms in this display were bright and well-developed, 2) there was one rare and one extremely rare halo form in this display and 3), there were roughly 50 observers observing and photographing this halo display! This was first time for me to observe Lowitz arcs in the sky! I had already seen the upper suncave Parry arc twice before this.

Upper suncave Parry arc is just one of four known kinds of Parry arcs and it is the most common one of them. Parry arc is named after Sir William Edward Parry (1790–1855) who was trying to navigate through the Northwest passage. During the expedition, he and his crew got stuck in ice, and while being stuck, he observed a halo display with new kind of halo form – a halo form now known as upper suncave Parry arc. Upper suncave Parry arc is a rare halo, it is usually seen only once in a year on average. Lowitz arcs are named after Johann Tobias Lowitz (or Lovits) (1757 – 1804), a German-born Russian apothecary and experimental chemist who first observed this halo phenomena in 1790 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Lowitz arcs are so rare, that they can be seen only 1-2 times in a decade!

Photos from the halo display of March 27th 2015:

Picture 1. Right sundog with middle- and lower Lowitz arcs.
Picture 1. Right sundog with middle- and lower Lowitz arcs.
Picture 2. Same photo than in picture 1. but enhanced with B-R technique.
Picture 2. Same photo than in picture 1. but enhanced with B-R technique.
Picture 3. Halo forms present in pictures 1 and 2 explained.
Picture 3. Halo forms present in pictures 1 and 2 explained.
Picture 4. 22° halo, upper 22° tangent arc and upper suncave Parry arc.
Picture 4. 22° halo, upper 22° tangent arc and upper suncave Parry arc.
P3270401_edit_explained
Picture 5. Previous picture explained.
Picture 6. The photo of picture 4 with B-R enhancement.
Picture 6. The photo of picture 4 with B-R enhancement.
Picture 7. 22° halo, upper 22° tangent arc, upper suncave Parry arc, circumzenithal arc and supralateral arc.
Picture 7. 22° halo, upper 22° tangent arc, upper suncave Parry arc, circumzenithal arc and supralateral arc.
Picture 8. Circumzenithal arc, supralateral arc, upper suncave Parry arc and upper 22° tangent arc.
Picture 8. Circumzenithal arc, supralateral arc, upper suncave Parry arc and upper 22° tangent arc.
Picture 9. Circumzenithal arc with supralateral arc.
Picture 9. Circumzenithal arc with supralateral arc.
Picture 10. Halo observing in Kuusamo.
Picture 10. Halo observing in Kuusamo.

Wonderful display of northern lights 17./18.3.2015

Observed phenomena: Aurora borealis
Date: 17./18.3.2015
Time: 17:25-21:00 UT
Observing place: Kuusamo, Finland
Observing method: Photography
Technical information about photographing equipment: Camera: Canon EOS 1100D, lens: Samyang 8mm fish eye
Observing conditions: Clear sky, no Moon
Observed aurora forms:

  • Veil
  • Belt
  • Rays
  • Corona

Couple of days ago a massive eruption happened in the Sun in massive sunspot group AR 2297. The particles ejected by the eruption reached Earth early in the morning (Finnish time) in 17th of March. The particles launched a massive geomagnetic storm all over the planet. The storm generated very colourful and stunning northern lights all over the Northern hemisphere, and Finland was no exception. I was observing this magnificent natural light show in Kuusamo, Northeastern Finland. In Kuusamo, northern lights appeared in the sky already at 17.25 UT when the sky wasn’t even properly dark yet! During the night, I observed two different substorms with really bright and active northern lights! The display was at least as good as the one that I observed in March of 2013 in Turku, Finland.