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Ursa Astronomical Association
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00130 Helsinki

Ursa Astronomical Association

Active aurora band - 8.8.2022 at 01.17 - 8.8.2022 at 01.40 Mustasaari, Helsingby Observation number 108162

Visibility III / V

I really don't know if this sighting should be reported as aurora borealis, night clouds or even a rocket launch? Maybe all of these would do, but the northern lights were still the most important performer of the evening. Quite an explosive beginning of the northern lights season indeed. The dark blue moment was only enough for a couple of hours. As typically happens in photography, I missed the best moments before I could stretch myself out into the yard. Here are some bad raps from the night's special encounter. Of course, the clouds got in the way before I could photograph anything. At first I thought these night cloud-like "night clouds" were ordinary night clouds, but I have seen and photographed natural night clouds many times, and this case was somehow strikingly different. The night clouds were also limited to a very small area, in the northeast direction. Their color was visually more white than blue. I agree with the speculation here about a possible nocturnal cloud-like remnant caused by a rocket launch.

P.S. The last two depict "ordinary" northern lights and clouds colored by street lights.

The pictures are not in exact chronological order.

More similar observations
Additional information
  • Aurora brightness
    • Dim auroras
  • Observed aurora forms
    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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

    • 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.

Technical information

Nikon D3300 + Nikon AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR

Comments: 7 pcs
Timo Alanko - 8.8.2022 at 09.00 Report this

Mainiot kuvat olet saanut! Mulla ei Västervikissä päivystäneen actionkameran valotusajat riittäneet alkuunkaan. Tuo yöpilvikin jäi vissiin puuston taakse.

Sebastian Sainio - 8.8.2022 at 10.13 Report this

Kiitos Timo! Varsin matalalla horisontissa tuo yöpilvi tosiaan oli.

Marko Myllyniemi - 8.8.2022 at 12.14 Report this

Hienosti ovat näkyneet yöpilvet ja reposet yhtä aikaa taivaalla!

Mikko Peussa - 8.8.2022 at 13.28 Report this

Elokuussa valaisevat yöpilvet on toisinaan aika pienellä alueella ja matalalla, mutta silti kirkkaita kun yöt ovat jo pimeitä, mutta tiedä sitten jos vaikka joku rakettilaukaisu sopisi tilanteeseen?

Minusta nämä näytti aika tyypilliseltä elokuun yöpilvilautalta, jossa kuitenkin erikoisuutena hyvin kirkas vyö. Seurasin lautan nousua koiliselta taivaalta tunnin verran.

Sebastian Sainio - 8.8.2022 at 21.13 Report this

Kiitokset vielä kommenteista Marko ja Mikko! Spekulointia se vaan josko nämä yöpilvet ovat raketin aiheuttamia. Olen myös lukenut enemmän epäsuoremmasta yhteydestä rakettilaukaisujen ja yöpilvien välillä. Paremman tietämyksen perusteella jätän tämän kysymyksen auki. Niitten koillinen suunta herättää ainakin itselle epäilyn, voisivatko olla jonkun venäläisen rakettilaukaisun sivutuottetta. Mistäpä nyt tietäis, mitä kaikkea ne itänaapurit ovat tuonne stratosfääriin laukoneet? :)

Eero Karvinen - 8.8.2022 at 22.20 Report this

Varsin komea yhdistelmä valaisevista yöpilvistä ja revontulista. Onnittelut!

Sebastian Sainio - 9.8.2022 at 23.58 Report this

Kiitos Eero!

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