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Ursa Astronomical Association
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00130 Helsinki
taivaanvahti(at)ursa.fi

Ursa Astronomical Association

All-sky aurora - 5.3.2022 at 20.30 Keitele Observation number 104907

Visibility IV / V

Tuija Liunala, Ursa (Itä-Suomi)

the arc of northern lights was not visible because of the clouds but the sky was green until Otava. in the northeast, a pale vertical streak of flame had Steve (pictured showing the roof of the barn) over the rays of the sky and a corona several times.



More similar observations
Additional information
  • Aurora brightness
    • Bright auroras
  • Observed aurora forms
    • Corona info

      CoronaA corona is a hand fan shaped structure, it usually forms south of the observer's zenith, most commonly consisting of rays or bands. The corona is usually the most beautiful part of the aurora show. It is bright and active, but on the other hand also short-lived.

      Aurora corona. Photo by Anna-Liisa Sarajärvi.

      Aurora corona. Photo by Merja Ruotsalainen.

      Corona formed from bands. Photo by Markku Ruonala.

      Aurora corona. Photo by Tapio Koski.

    • 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
      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.

    • 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.

  • Colors with unaided eye and other features
    • White auroras info

      Paljain silmin valkoinen väri näkyy useimmiten himmeissä näytelmissä, kun silmä ei kykene erottamaan mitään varsinaista väriä. Harvoin kirkkaissa näytelmissä valkoinen väri voi myös syntyä sopivista vihreän, punaisen ja sinisen yhdistelmistä.

    • 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.

    • 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..

    • 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.

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