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Skywarden,
Ursa Astronomical Association
Kopernikuksentie 1
00130 Helsinki
taivaanvahti(at)ursa.fi

Ursa Astronomical Association

Över hälften av himlen täckt av norrsken - 23.3.2023 at 21.57 - 23.3.2023 at 22.25 Falkenberg, Sverige Observation number 114621

Visibility IV / V


Published with Mikael Johansson's permission. /Emma Bruus

Exif information in pictures shows 55 minutes too much (both cameras are close to Swedish summer time).



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Additional information
  • Aurora brightness
    • Bright auroras
  • Observed aurora forms
    • Stable Auroral Red (SAR) arc info

      The Stable Auroral Red arcs (SAR arcs)  are usually clearly distanced to the south from the aurora oval and is a very opaque and normally red ribbon. In most cases SAR arcs are only visible in the photo or on the liveview screen of the SLR camera. Using a camera with very high sensitivity is the best method for capturing these faint arcs. The arch usually settles between east and west.

      A stable red arc of aurora is a rare phenomenon. In some rare occasions, several SAR arcs may be simultaneously visible.

      The first SAR arcs of the Skywarden were observed on nights between November 3-4. and 4-5. days in 2015 in the latitudes of central Finland.   

      SAR
      SAR arc photographed by Lasse Nurminen 2018. Observation of the Skywarden 79113.

    • STEVE-arc info

      STEVE (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement) is an aurora-like phenomenon that can be observed in middle latitudes. STEVE does not belong to traditional auroras as a phenomenon, but may appear at the same time with them.

      STEVE looks like a narrow, white or mauve arc that is clearly separate from the rest of the aurora oval in the pole-ward side of the sky. In Northern Europe, STEVE can sometimes be seen quite far from the oval and be visible across the southern half of the sky.

      STEVE, Keijo Lehtimäki
      A mauve STEVE with a clear gap to the oval. Image: Keijo Lehtimäki

      It forms a long and narrow east-west aligned dim line that goes across the night sky. The length of the arc can be over 2 000 km and it is located at altitudes of 110-300 kilometers.

      The best time for observing STEVE is when the active aurora of a substrom have subsided.

      The arc is white, grey or light purple in color, but the appearance of the arc may vary slightly. In more colorful versions, the bottom edge of the arc shows while/grey color, whereas the upper part has more purple shade. These colorful versions are called Double-Layer STEVE.

      Double layer STEVE, Eero Karvinen
      Double-Layer STEVE. Image: Eero Karvinen

      STEVE's appearance can resemble single, detached rays or there can be rays within the arc itself.

      Riku Talvio, STEVE
      A ray-like STEVE. Photo by: Riku Talvio

      Quite often purple rays within the aurora oval itself get mistakenly identified as STEVE. While within the aurora oval the purple rays tend to disappear relatively fast, STEVE-events can last from ten minutes to hours.

      STEVE very rarely shows green color, whereas lower edges oval's traveling rays tend to be clearly green. However, occasionally there may also be a green, "toothed" band called ”picket fence” below and aligned with the STEVE arc.

      Sirpa Pursiainen, STEVE picket fence
      STEVE with picket fence. Image: Sirpa Pursiainen

      SAR arcs are a different phenomenon happening in the same region that sometimes gets mixed up with STEVE. SAR-arcs, however, are more diffuse, dimmer or fainter, purely red, and lasts longer than STEVE, even days.

      Atacan Ergin, STEVE SAR
      This rare image shows a red SAR-arc with a white STEVE arc. There is an area without aurora light around STEVE. Image: Atacan Ergin

      When photographing a suspected STEVE, it is important to try capturing both the arc form and the arc's location in relation to the rest of the oval.

      In some cases, fine westward-moving structures can be observed within the arc. These can be captured by taking videos of the event or capturing short-exposure animations.

    • Picket fence info

      A picket fence is a green form of aurora (northern lights) with short vertical beams.

      Picket fence often occurs under the purple-gray STEVE arc, but can also be an independent green radial arc.

      In the picture, the board fence is shown in the upper right corner under the STEVE arch. Photo by Sirpa Pursiainen

      The picket fens gets sometimes mixed up with normal green belt with rays. In Picket Fence, the individual rays are clearly separated from each other and the arc of the rays is clearly separated from the rest of the northern lights. The fences of the fence also do not form a single curtain extending up to the pole of the sky.

      Picket fence can also occur independently without a STEVE arc. The picture shows very well how the Picket Fence is separated from the rest of the northern lights and does not expand upwards. Photo by John Andersen

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