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Ursa Astronomical Association

Half-sky auroras - 27.8.2021 at 23.05 - 28.8.2021 at 01.35 Kajaani, Akkovaara Observation number 100775

Visibility IV / V

Juho Pöllänen, Ursa (Pohjois-Suomi)

A cloudless sky and a small chance of northern lights promised for Friday night. When the weekend was right in front, it was a must to go on a repo yacht. Confusions were not avoided this time either. The departure to the scene stretched to the dark side. A no-parking sign and a sign from the new starting point had appeared at the familiar starting point of the Akkovaara route. It was found after a little searching and driving. Backpack on the back and camera on the neck. Groping along the path, it occurred to me that it was a good idea to go hiking in the dark on an unknown route. However, in the light of the headlamp, the path was relatively easy to follow, the route when well marked in the terrain. I was still in the woods when repos appeared to rock in the sky. At the border of the seedling, the camera already had to be tuned to a tripod. There struck the next delusion. The nose of the camera had a different lens than normal. During the day, such an excellent Sigma 24-70 A, together with a mirrorless camera, proved difficult to focus on. In the dark, when you change the position of the camera, your hand touches that stepless focus ring and the best sharpness is gone. Because of this, probably 3/4 of the pictures went straight to the trash. The focus should have been done in daylight and taped.

Well, finally I got to the top of Akkovaara. To my surprise, I noticed that there were other northern lights scouts filming with their cameras. For once, there was a chat club. While searching for the location, I noticed that the ancient tripod with video head was not suitable for shooting on uneven rock formations. Adjusting was just as painful. The better stand broke some time ago and for some reason I had delayed getting a new one. The purchase decision for the new stand was made after only a few hives.

When I finally got to shoot, the best phase of the repos already seemed to have subsided. If they were to be described in any way, then they were intensely faint. Strong in the sense that the arc of northern lights rose and remained above the head throughout the shooting session. The appearance of the repos, on the other hand, remained weak. Greenish gauze and at times a little more active belt and at best only a little color included.

However, the resilience of the tournament was so poor that when the others left the campfire to wait for the repos to come again, I went home with my eyes crossed under the blanket. But the goal was achieved and the Repo Season opened !! And dark school scholarships paid (once again) :)

More similar observations
Additional information
  • Aurora brightness
    • Dim auroras
  • Colors with unaided eye and other features
    • Green auroras info

      Green, seen with the naked eye, is one the most common colors of the aurora. The green color is derived from atomic oxygen.

      Green auroras. Lea Rahtu-Korpela.

      Green auroras. Photo by Juha Ojanperä.

  • Observed aurora forms
    • Veil info

      Veil is the most bland and very common form of aurora. It usually covers its homogeneous dim glow over a wide area of the sky at once. Most often, the veil is seen in the calmer and quiet phase of the night after the aurora maximum as a background for other forms. The veil can also occur alone and in that case it will be quite difficult to reliably identify as an aurora, especially at a observation site which has a lot of light pollution.

      A similar glow of light can also be caused by airborne moisture, smoke, or a very thin layer of clouds that reflects the light that hits them. However, clouds can also be used to identify veil, especially if the middle or upper cloud appears dark against a lighter background, then it is very likely to be aurora veil if the brightness of the background sky is not due to the rising or falling Moon or Sun. When photographing, very long exposure times usually reveal the green colour of the veil auroras.

      Veil and rays. Photo by Esa Palmi.

      Red aurora veil. Photo by Marko Mikkilä.


      Veil. Photo by Milla Myllymaa.


      Aurora veil that changes color from green at the lower edge through purple to blue at the top. Photo by Jaakko Hatanpää.


      Dim green veil. Photo by Jarmo Leskinen.


      Radial aurora band surrounded by veil. Photo by Jussi Alanenpää.

    • Rays info

      The raysare parallel to the lines of force of the magnetic field, i.e. quite vertical, usually less than one degree thick light streaks. The rays can occur alone or in connection with other shapes, mainly with arcs and bands. Short rays are usually brightest at the bottom but dim quickly. The longest rays, even extending almost from the horizon to the zenith, are usually uniformly bright and quite calm, and unlike the shorter rays, most often occur in groups of a few rays or alone. Rays, like bands, are a very typical form of aurora.

      Artificial light pillars, which are a halo phenomenon visible in ice mist, can sometimes be very similar to the rays of aurora. Confusion is possible especially when the lamps that cause the artificial light pillars are far away and not visible behind buildings or the forest. The nature of the phenomenon is clear at least from the photographs.

      Rays. Picture of Tom Eklund.

      Rays. Photo by Mika Puurula.

      Two beams rise from the aurora veil. Photo by Anssi Mäntylä.

      Two radial bands. Show Jani Lauanne.

      Radial band and veil. Photo by Jussi Alanenpää.

      Two rays. Photo by Aki Taavitsainen.

      It may be possible to confuse such rays with artificial light columns. Compare the image below. Picture of Tom Eklund.

      There is no aurora in this image, but all the light poles - including the wide and diffuse bar seen at the top left - are artificial light pillars born of ice mist. Photo by Sami Jumppanen.

      Aurora and artificial light pillars. All the radial shapes in the picture above are probably artificial light pillars that coincide appropriately with the aurora band. In the image below, the aurora band has shifted and does not overlap with the pillars produced by the orange bulbs. There is no orange in auroras. Photo by Katariina Roiha

    • Band info

      Bands are usually narrower, more twisty at the bottom, brighter, and more active than arches. Bands usually develop from arches.

      Bands can form J and U shapes, sometimes even full spirals. The corona can also arise from bands. Bands are a fairly common form of aurora.

      Aurora band. Photo by Merja Ruotsalainen.

      Aurora band. Photo by Matias Takala.

      Aurora band. Photo by Lea Rahtu-Korpela.

      Aurora bands. Photo by Lauri Koivuluoma.

      Aurora band. Photo by Matias Takala.

    • Arc info

      ARC The arcs are wider than the bands and do not fold as strongly. The arcs are normally neither very bright nor active.

      The arc is probably the most common form of aurora. When aurora show is a calm arc in the low northern sky it often doesn’t evolve to anything more during night. In more active shows the arc is often the first form to appear and the last to disappear.

      The lower edge of the arc is usually sharp but the upper edge can gradually blend into the background sky. As activity increases rays and folds normally develop, and the arcs turn gradually into bands.

      An aurora arc runs across the picture. Vertical shapes are rays. Photo by Atacan Ergin.

      Aurora Arc. Photo by Mauri Korpi.

      Aurora Arc. Photo by Anna-Liisa Sarajärvi.

      Aurora Arc. Photo by Matti Asumalahti.

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