29th - 31st October 2003 Storm

This is the stuff that dreams are made of! Two extremely powerful Earth-directed explosions from sunspot number 10486, one X-17, the other X-10 class, pummelled the Earth's magnetosphere into submission on the nights of the 29/30 and 30/31 October creating beautifully detailed, vibrant, colourful all-sky auroras in clear skies over Scotland. Magnificent coronas tinged with reds, greens and whites waxed and waned overhead, sheets of green curtain filled the northern half of the sky and the intensity of the reds and greens (with tints of blues and purples) at times was truly awesome. The problem was- where to look now- as there was so much going on that there was always something being missed. 

These were displays that observers will wax lyrically about for many years to come. The intensity of the reds around 0100 on the 31st left me speechless!

Here are some of my images taken during these nights.


29th 22:58 south of Edinburgh; green sheets shine through the city lights. Nikon CoolPix 4500 camera @ ISO400.

30th 00:41 near Doune; Our favourite statue (of Sir David Stirling DSO OBE) with a backdrop of aurora. Image featured in December 2003 Astronomy Now.

30th 00:47; the display becomes multi-coloured.

30th 00:53; a most glorious arc of vivid reds, greens and yellows. Even the statue seems to have noticed the display!!

30th ~01:00; a beautiful corona overhead that a still image cannot do any justice to. 16mm lens onto Fuji Provia 400F used. 

David Malin Astrophotography Award (Wide Field Category winner) 2005

30th ~01:10; the storm in full flight with magnificent corona radiating sheets of light downwards. 16mm lens onto Fuji Provia 400F used.

30th ~01:10; looking E towards Orion, the magnificent structured corona radiates downwards. 16mm lens onto Fuji Provia 400F used.

31st 00:14; the stars of Taurus shine through reds and greens.

31st 01:18; a brilliant red arc dominates the southern half of the sky.

31st 01:27; the sky is on fire!

31st 02:05; mighty Orion struggles to be seen through the fiery sky.


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