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Ursa Astronomical Association
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Ursa Astronomical Association

Half-sky auroras - 11.10.2017 at 20.00 - 11.10.2017 at 23.00 Laitila Observation number 67456

Visibility IV / V

I went hunting. I succeeded! Fortunately, I understood to start early!

As soon as I got to the field, it was clear that a set was coming. Below was the familiar double arch.

After a while it was a triple arc. After a while it seemed that there were four belts in the sky, the top one of which went over my head. It literally went up in seconds.

At the same time, all the arcs seemed to get mixed up and then we left.

It happened everywhere - including in the south. By the way, during the pause phase, the fires of the south persisted for a long time in the sky, turning into gauze. At the same time, the strange, single red arc that split the Milky Way was visible.

What the hell is the radius in these pictures?

At first it was visible as red among the Milky Way. I noticed it by half luck, because the Milky Way glowed as if in the "wrong" direction...well, it was a strange, red beam.

Then it disappeared and for a moment there were "normal" aurora borealis in the sky.

Suddenly the arch came to life from the left and a tall, single white and red pillar rose from it! The whole usual, green lower arch then disappeared, its "rambling" was more focused on the other (right) corner of the picture.

This guy is kicking ass. As if defying gravity, the arc rises..and rises..the other fires were almost gone, only this one was left.

It pierces the zenith above my head. It continues downwards towards the light pollution of the city center. Looks amazing!

The fog flowing everywhere gave the pictures another dimension..

It's interesting to try to photograph the red arch, when the northern lights dance around in an endless lambada style. The set blew up!

It was beautiful! I've never seen anything like that! It was somehow the color of a ball!

Then it simply disappeared. Capt.

The fog got really thick, so I jumped at the chance and thought I'd post the pictures here and on Spaceweather right away.

By the way, it's a strange feeling standing in a dark field when you hear the heavy running steps that approach and pass the cameraman in the dark and merciless fog.

The creature pushed past me like a deer fifty meters away with a loud noise. Let me sum it up; must have been a big moose.

I continued filming...In retrospect, it's a wonder I held my nerve. It was such a heavenly show going on that such a "little thing" didn't make me run away. This time.

EDIT 31/10/2020 the pictures are now in chronological order :)


More similar observations
Additional information
  • Aurora brightness
    • Very 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.

    • 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.

    • 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 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.

    • Red Arc with Green Diffuse Aurora (RAGDA) info

      Red Arc with Green Diffuse Aurora (RAGDA), is a two-component form of northern lights that occurs south of the oval.

      Both parts of the aurora are formed when positive particles from the magnetosphere hit the Earth's upper atmosphere. The phenomenon occurs before magnetic midnight during large aurora substorms and is best distinguished when it deteches southward from the bright rays of the substorm aurora.

      The phenomenon consists of a faint red arc, which looks a lot like a Stable Auroral Red (SAR)-arc. The common factor for these two red arcs is the reaction of the ring current with the substorm.

      Antero Ohranen, RAGDA
      A Red Arc with Green Diffuse Aurora
      Photo: Antero Ohranen


      Below the red arc are green diffuse patches or sausage-like shapes. RAGDA's green aurora is essentially featureless and without any rays. It may appear slightly more bluish in camera images compared to the green aurora of the oval.

      Lasse Nurminen, RAGDA
      RAGDA's green has slightly more bluish shade than the rest of the oval.
      Photo: Lasse Nurminen


      Sometimes the red arc and the green patches are clearly separated from the aurora oval and sometimes almost in contact with the southward edge of the oval.

      During an active substorm, the green northern lights can sometimes be seen with red tops. These usually have rays that RAGDA's green aurora lacks.

      An emissionless gap without any aurora light can be observed between the red arc and green diffuse aurora. The two features don't seem to be connected. Of the two aligned structures, the red one is located ~ 100 kilometers higher than the green aurora.

      Markku Ruonala, RAGDA
      There seems to be an empty area without any aurora light between the red and green aurora.
      Photo: Markku Ruonala


      The event is dynamic. It sometimes starts with green blobs, then a red arc appears. These two can also appear in the sky at the same time. The shapes move often from east to west. Then the Red Arc with Green Diffuse Aurora fades away and only the red arc remains visible in the sky. The red arc is recognized as the SAR arc.

      Observing this phenomenon is easier when the night sky is clear and dark before magnetic midnight. When looking for the red arc with green diffuse aurora, the best results can be achieved by pointing the camera towards south or southwest of the brightest part of the oval.

      A wide-angle lens is recommended for photographing the shape of the red arc going over the sky, but a regular lens can also be used. The red arc is quite dim, so the exposure times needed are typically longer than the ones for northern lights.

      Pirjo Koski, RAGDA
      Two RAGDA-arcs
      Photo: Pirjo Koski


      If the red arc cannot be distinguished in the images, the phenomenon identification 'Diffuse green auroras' should be used for isolated hazy green blobs/arc.

      Matias Takala, RAGDA
      Dunes in RAGDA's green aurora
      Photo: Matias Takala


  • 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.

    • 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.

    • Fully red auroras info

      Completely dark red aurora is a very rare and strikingly handsome revelation. This phenomenon is also due to the discharge of an excitation state of an atomic oxygen.

      Throughout red aurora. Photo by Tobias Billings.

    • Yellow auroras info

      Yellow aurora color that can be seen with naked eye is a rarity that can arise from suitable combinations of green, red, and blue in bright shows.

    • 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..

    • Streaming auroras info

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

    • Violet auroras info

      Usually in Lapland or even in the south you can see purple auroras in stronger aurora shows. The most common color in auroras along with green and red.

Technical information

Canon EOS 6D, Tokina 16-28mm ISO 3200-6400 F2.8, 2.5-8s

The job starts in Ragda at 20:36:29 and continues as a SAR arc at 20:41:45, from where it may change back to Ragda at 20:45:27 based on my journey, continuing again as a SAR arc at 20:46:38 until the moment 20:56:50 when SAR disappears from the images and appears instead STEVE at 21:04:51 continuing at 21:19:57 when the clouds came.

Comments: 10 pcs
Marko Pekkola - 12.10.2017 at 06.50 Report this

Hienoa että tästä muodosta saatiin näin monta havaintoa. Ylläpito tutkii tapausta. 

Pirjo Koski - 12.10.2017 at 07.27 Report this

Ok! Jännitystä siis ilmassa! 

Matti Helin - 12.10.2017 at 08.57 Report this

Hieno. Onkohan kenelläkään all-sky timelapsea viime yöltä? 

Mikko Ankelo - 12.10.2017 at 11.16 Report this

Upea havainto ja hienot kuvat!

Lasse Nurminen - 12.10.2017 at 11.47 Report this

Olikos tämä jo alkuillasta? Hyvä koppi!

Jonkinmoinen vaalea juova otti myös itsellä silmään keskemmällä taivasta (suunta melkolailla sama kuin kuvissasi). Kameran näytöltä mielsin omani kuitenkin ohuiksi pilviksi, joita Raision nurkilla vöinä kulki yli taivaankannen. Täytynee vielä koneelta katsoa tarkemmin mitä laatua oli.

Pirjo Koski - 12.10.2017 at 12.22 Report this

Kiitos pojat! Oli tuo kyllä sen verran eksoottinen ilmestys! 

Pirjo Koski - 12.10.2017 at 15.19 Report this

alkuillasta heti juu. Emma joskus ohjeisti, että näitä kannattaa pitää silmällä, jos vaikka näkyisi. Pää pyörii välillä kuin pöllöllä...

Emma Bruus - 12.10.2017 at 15.32 Report this

Tää on kyllä suorastaan sikakomee tapaus! Oikeat mimmit ja jäbät käyneet taas pihalla hillumassa :)

Oma bongaus meni ihan plörinäksi kun piti skarpisti nukkua työkeikkaa varten. Aamulla sitten Marko kahvin kanssa mainitsi että taas oli punertavaa kaarta pukannut...ja se työreissukin peruuntui. No ensikerralla ehkä muutakin kuin pelkkää puhetta :D

Onpa ollut komea valonäytelmä Laitilan taivaalla! Kiitos kuvaajalle!

Pirjo Koski - 12.10.2017 at 21.33 Report this

Kiitos paljon! Emman loppukaneetti hymyilyttää huomennakin! 

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