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Ursa Astronomical Association

Quiet aurora arc - 25.2.2017 at 20.16 Utsjoki Observation number 61591

Visibility I / V

When we finally got a completely starry sky on Saturday night, I decided to try shooting the Milky Way again. It worked out quite nicely and the northern lights also peek into the picture a bit. But then I noticed the purple and pink arcs on the left in the picture, what could they be?

The picture was taken at Utsjoki, not a little more to the northwest than to the north. Camera Sony a7s and lens Sigma 20mm and the settings were ISO 16000, f2.8 and exposure time 8sec.

There are a few additional photos of the same, taken within five minutes from that same spot, and the arches are visible in all of them. The second picture has been processed a little harder so that they can be seen better.

More similar observations
Additional information
  • Aurora brightness
    • Can only be seen in photos
  • 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.

    • 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.

Comments: 8 pcs
Pirjo Koski - 27.2.2017 at 18.53 Report this

Tuo on muuten melko oudon näköinen! Toivottavasti joku supertulkitsija näkisi tämän kuvan...

Emma Bruus - 27.2.2017 at 21.11 Report this

Voi jestas siellä on pimeää! Upeat otokset.

Matti Lamminen - 28.2.2017 at 01.00 Report this

Vaikuttaa varsinkin toisen kuvan perusteella ilmahehkulta. Protonikaarikaan ei voi olla.

Karri Pasanen - 28.2.2017 at 15.57 Report this

Kyllä tuossa vasemmalla yläkulmassa on selvästi minun mielestä jotain sinistä ja punaista revontulivaloa, mutta onko se jotain harvinaisempaa laatua sitten, sitä en osaa kyllä sanoa. Kuvan alaosassa toki ihan peruskaari.

Tapio Lahtinen - 28.2.2017 at 20.47 Report this

Voisko olla SAR-kaari ?

Matti Lamminen - 2.3.2017 at 00.01 Report this

SAR ja protonikaarethan ovat punaisia, vakaita, himmeitä ja harvinaisia. Elektroniperäinen SAR (stable aurorial red), tai vielä harvinaisempi protonien törmäyksistä syntyvä protonikaari.

Emma Bruus - 25.1.2023 at 14.27 Report this

Heeeei! Sehän on STEVE-kaari. Kuin suoraan oppikirjasta. Onnittelut näin hieman jälkikäteen :)

Eero Karvinen - 26.1.2023 at 17.16 Report this

Tyypillinen himmeähkö STEVE näissä kuvissa. Sinertävä osa pinkin yläpuolella liittyy usein heti auringon laskun jälkeen ilmestyneeseen STEVE:n. Hieno havainto!

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