10th November 2004

Wow! Nature is full of surprises! I've returned to Melbourne, Australia, (lat 37.9S) not expecting to see much, if any, auroral activity (being too far away from the pole) after having been spoilt by some incredible displays visible over Scotland. On the 7th November sunspot group 696 unleashed an X1-class flare and the ensuing coronal mass ejection struck the Earth's upper atmosphere on the 10th November.

Knowing that an auroral storm was in progress I took the two minute walk to Elwood Beach and waited for evening twilight in the SW to fade. It eventually did, but a curious white glow in the S-SSW persisted above a low cloud bank and some beams were noticed through Centaurus. I couldn't believe it, the Aurora Australis visible from within the light polluted Melbourne metropolitan area (pop 3.5 million)!  

I took a number of digital shots, before the clouds rolled in, which revealed more than I saw with the eye - the green auroral glow and violet shades above - the display managing quite well to penetrate the haze of light pollution over Port Phillip Bay to the South.

Here's two of my images taken on the evening of the 10th November 2004 and featured on a Spaceweather.com Aurora Gallery for November 2004.


A prominent green glow to the south with several rays stretching about 20 into the sky and violet tones above. The Pointers are upper right and the Southern Cross is in the middle. Nikon CoolPix 4500 camera, 20s @ 400ASA.
A similar view to the above except more beams are visible.


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