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Ursa Astronomical Association
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Ursa Astronomical Association

Half-sky auroras - 15.3.2023 at 23.30 - 16.3.2023 at 01.45 Pöytyä Observation number 113477

Visibility IV / V

Matti Helin, Ursa (Länsi-Suomi)

A great show, even a bit surprising.

I looked at the satellite data and concluded that I have to be filming by half past twelve at the latest. So, head to the car and off you go.

I stepped outside and said: Clouds. The whole sky is full. After a quick study of the maps, it seemed that the weather would be better northeast of Turku. So, towards the table.

I walked from the car to the beach. Huh, it's getting hot in here. I took off my gloves and hat and started to cross the lake. Sweat.

At one point I had covered almost a kilometer in wet, hard and soft snow at the same time and it was time to set up the tripod and take the first pictures. The northern lights had already started to glow, so this time there was no need to wait.

After filming for a while, I decided to go to the swamp. There was 5-40 centimeters of snow. The walk to the right place was painful, hot and sweaty. Eventually the forest started to thin out and soon I was in a suitable clearing. Hot.

The northern lights were strange. They were quite diffuse and dim, but at the same time extensive. The fires pulsated and flickered beautifully. I waited for a while and when high beams started to rise, I started filming again. The aurora borealis slowly pushed over the zenith. Tall, red beams shot up here and there. And then.

A terribly bright corona. I got confused and panicked. I quickly took a few pictures of it and went looking for a better representation for it. However, the corona calmed down almost as quickly as it raged. It faded, but the fires continued to spread. The corona was in the sky at least until half past two, in some form.

I photographed the whole sky and afterwards I noticed that there were streaks in the sky. Dunes? Maybe not, though. They were red. Possibly an airglow? The streaks appeared right after that fierce corona and faded pretty soon.

There were other interesting things in the sky. Sar-arch and special "fingers" near the zenith. They were in place for a long time, slowly pulsating. This area was very small, maybe ten degrees. Also, the sar-bow was somehow... The wrong color. More pictures of this later.

Tough trip and little sleep. You just have to get used to them. The sun has activated, finally.

More similar observations
Additional information
  • Aurora brightness
    • Bright 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.

    • Corona info

      CoronaA corona is a hand fan shaped structure, it usually forms south of the observer's zenith, most commonly consisting of rays or bands. The corona is usually the most beautiful part of the aurora show. It is bright and active, but on the other hand also short-lived.

      Aurora corona. Photo by Anna-Liisa Sarajärvi.

      Aurora corona. Photo by Merja Ruotsalainen.

      Corona formed from bands. Photo by Markku Ruonala.

      Aurora corona. Photo by Tapio Koski.

    • 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.

    • Pulsating patches info

      Pulsating patches or -aurora typically have more or less regular shape and size. They typically appear in the later part of an aurora display. They are almost always pulsating in variable periods.

  • Colors with unaided eye and other features
    • White auroras info

      Paljain silmin valkoinen väri näkyy useimmiten himmeissä näytelmissä, kun silmä ei kykene erottamaan mitään varsinaista väriä. Harvoin kirkkaissa näytelmissä valkoinen väri voi myös syntyä sopivista vihreän, punaisen ja sinisen yhdistelmistä.

    • 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.

    • Red coloration of the shapes lower edge info

      Red lower edge visible with the naked eye. The bands which are starting to level up their activity and are green colored have quite often a narrow red lower edge. This is the most common form of red color which is derived from molecular nitrogen.

      Aurora band with purple lower edge. Photo by Ilmo Kemppainen.

      The low hanging brightest aurora band is colored red at the lower edge. Photo by Tero Ohranen.

      Narrow purple reddish tones at the lower part of this aurora band. Photo by Merja Ruotsalainen.

      Purple band at the bottom. Photo by Panu Lahtinen.

    • Red coloration of the shapes top info

      Auroras which have red top part that can be seen with naked eye are most often observed in the bands and long rays. In this case the lower parts are usually green. If the upper parts are in sunlight, red may be stronger than green. This shade of red is due to the discharge of the excitation state of the atomic oxygen.

      Aurora that shift to reddish towards the top. Photo by Karri Pasanen. 

      Red top in a aurora band. Photo by Simo Aikioniemi.

      Red at the top of the aurora. Picture of Tom Eklund.

    • Pulsating auroras info

      Pulsating aurora. The brightness of the pulsating aurora usually varies rhythmically over a period that can be only a fraction of a second at its fastest, but can also be several minutes. Pulsing usually only occurs in(strong auroral conditions) higher quality shows , especially towards the end of them. However, the pulsation may be followed by yet another eruption. Sometimes the variation in brightness is at the same stage in the whole form, whereby the whole form "turns on and off" at the same time. Pulsation is also found in arches and bands, but above all in spots..

    • Flaming auroras info

      Flaming. This rare subclass of aurora does not mean so much a single shape, but a large area in the sky. In the flaming aurora, bright waves that are sweeping upward towards the magnetic zenith emerge in the sky. Very rarely waves can wipe downwards. Bands are usually reported during flaming, less often spots.

    • Flickering auroras info

      Flickering. This rare subclass refers to a situation where irregular variations in brightness occur in aurora, such as in fluttering flames.

    • Streaming auroras info

      Streaming. In streaming aurora fast irregular variations in brightness occur along the horizontal dimension of homogeneous shapes.

Comments: 5 pcs
Eero Karvinen - 16.3.2023 at 17.29 Report this

Voihan kurkku ja tomaatti! On hienoja kuvia ja hyvin on punainen väri näkynyt! Ykköskuvassa ilmeisesti ilmahehkun aaltoilua?

Matti Helin - 16.3.2023 at 18.43 Report this

Kiitoksia. Vitoskuvassa sar.. Vai steve? Ehkä hiukan epätyypillisen värinen sar-kaareksi? Tuo siis kuvattu etelän suuntaan.

Tuija Liunala - 16.3.2023 at 21.38 Report this

Kyllä on upeet kuvat,näitä katselee mielellään.Keitele oli pilvessä koko illan.

Matti Helin - 18.3.2023 at 10.42 Report this

Tuo sar (?) kaari on omituinen. Säteinen, ikään kuin ragda, mutta tässä ei ole vihreitä alaosia, vaan, ainakin kuvien perusteella, vihreät yläosat?!? 

Miten tuollainen voi olla mahdollista?

Eero Karvinen - 18.3.2023 at 11.58 Report this

Kyseessä saattaa olla tilanne, jossa SAR muuntuu STEVE:ksi. Muokatuissa kuvissasi näkyy myös RAGDA:lle tyypillisiä punaisia säikeisiä revontulia alueella, jossa SAR kaari on, kuvastaen voimakasta protonivuota.

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