A Red October Aurora

Red Aurora in the East (Oct 1, 2013)

A red and green aurora lights the night on the Canadian prairie.

This was certainly a surprise aurora, with conditions officially registering as “quiet” early in the evening. However, checking Spaceweather.com showed the interplanetary magnetic field was tipped far south, a good sign.

So I made a point of checking after dark and sure enough, a fairly bright aurora was present all across the northern horizon. Conditions now registered “storm!”

The main image above is looking east, back over Saskatchewan. What was remarkable was the intense red curtains above the main green arc. These were invisible to the naked eye but the camera sure picked them up.

Red Aurora in the South (Oct 1, 2013)

There was also an odd green band in the southern sky, above. Again, the green band was obvious to the naked eye, but the camera picked up an isolated red arc as well.

This is proving to be a quiet solar maximum, but the best displays often come on the downside of the cycle. So with luck we’ll be in for some good sky shows in the next couple of years.

– Alan, October 1, 2013  / © 2013 Alan Dyer


Moon and Mars in the Morning

Moon, Mars & Regulus (Oct 1, 2013)

The waning Moon shines below Mars and beside the star Regulus in the dawn twilight.

This was the scene before sunrise this morning with the waning crescent Moon near Mars (above the Moon) and the star Regulus (left of the Moon) in Leo. Mars is getting the attention this week as Comet ISON flies near the planet and also appears near Mars in our earthly sky.

However, the comet is still very faint and needs a large telescope to see from Earth. It will be interesting to see if any of the Mars probes are able to image it, as ISON is still fainter than predicted and might be beyond their reach to detect. But if they do, they could help determine just how big ISON is and that in turn will tell us if it might survive its November 28 passage round the Sun to become a fine dawn object in December.

– Alan, October 1, 2013 / © 2013 Alan Dyer


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