Auroral activity, 2017 Feb 27 – April 28

With no coronal mass ejections and sunspot numbers only just in double figures or even at zero, all aurora sightings are now coming from coronal holes. The Sun is still creating a steady supply of coronal holes, although not a big as in September last year, but without the massive power of a CME their aurorae are rarely seen south of Scotland and all sightings in this report are from Scotland’s central belt or further north.

Aurora activity was seen on 22 days during this period, 2 in February, 13 in March & 7 in April. Since nights are much shorter now, I don’t think there will be many more sightings this season. The first was on Feb 27/28 by Graeme Whipps, Denis Buczynski and myself, all on the Moray coast or further north. Graeme got a further sighting on Feb 28/Mar 1.
The first March display was on Mar 1/2 and was seen not only by myself, Gordon Mackie, Denis Buczynski, Graeme Whipps and Alan Tough on the Moray coast, but also by Pam Foster in Pitlochry and June Gilchrist in Dundee. Graeme saw a display on Mar 2/3 along with Denis and Alan. Graeme caught a display on Mar 5/6 and Alan saw displays on Mar 6/7 & 8/9.

A coronal hole impact on Mar 21/22 started a series of sightings which lasted over a week. 21/22 was seen by myself & Graeme from the Moray coast, Ken Kennedy in Dundee and Steve Norrie in Drumoig, Fife. 22/23 was seen by Graeme, Denis and Alan Tough, all from the Moray coast. Graeme saw it again on 25/26 and 26/27. The night of Mar 27/28 was seen by myself, Denis, Graeme, Alan and James Fraser from the Moray coast and also by Jim Henderson from Deeside. Graeme saw it again on 29/30 & 30/31. Alan got the final sighting of the series along with Graeme on Mar 31/Apr 1.

April displays started on Apr 14/15 with sightings by myself, Denis Buczynski and Graeme Whipps. Denis saw it again on April 18/19 and Graeme saw it on 19/20. Both Graeme and Denis saw displays on Apr 22/23, 22/23 and 23/24. The final sighting was made by Graeme from Chapel of Gairloch, Aberdeenshire on Apr 27/28 which brought to an end this report, and probably the season.

By the time you read this, the NLC season  should have made a start provided the British weather doesn’t intervene. Don’t forget the webcam operated by the Shetland tourist board which looks north, and if there is no cloud, will give a good view of any aurora or NLC.

Sandra Brantingham, Director

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