Author: Tom O'Donoghue

2 March 2017 | A Cosmic Performance

Aurora Borealis Kris Williams

Image credit & copyright: Kris Williams | Click image to enlarge

Image Data

  • Date: 17 March 2015
  • Location: Eyrarbakki, Iceland
  • Camera: Sony SLT-A99V
  • Optics: Sony 16-35mm F2.8 ZA @ 17mm f/2.8
  • Exposure: 15s @ ISO 1600

UK photographer Kris Williams took this Aurora Corona shot from Eyrarbakki Iceland, while his two friends danced the night away in the foreground. While Kris only recently found this photo that he took on his camera, it was taken on St. Patrick’s night March 17th in 2015. This was the night large Solar storms reached Earth causing a huge outburst in Aurora activity.

This display was visible at much lower Latitudes than normal, with sightings reported as far South as Scotland, and most of Northern Ireland and Northern UK, as well as mainland Europe.

As the Suns’ energized stream of particles reached Earth’s magnetic field, the Bz values went into the minus figures with Solar winds speeds remaining very high. These are the figures to look out for, as the particles passing around the magnetic fields, wrap themselves, and fold back in the direction of Earth. Here they spiral down on the Earths magnetic field lines, energizing the Nitrogen and Oxygen causing the different colour aurora.

It was Oxygen at the higher level, and Nitrogen at the lower altitude in the atmosphere that are the cause of the Green and Purples in this image.

Kris used a Sony SLT-A99V camera at 17mm, f/2.8, for an exposure of 15s, at 1600 iso.

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