Auroral & NLC activity 2022 August 18 – October 18

With coronal mass ejections, sunspot numbers that are regularly in double or even triple figures, and several coronal holes, the Sun is out of minimum and the darkening skies mean aurora observations are again possible in the north. Aurora sightings over this period are at 23, while noctilucent cloud (NLC) sightings are at zero and the season has ended.


In late August, there were two G1-class storms, five R1, three R2, one S1, and 13 sightings. The first three sightings were made on Aug 18/19 by Alan Tough from Elgin, Denis Buczynski from Tarbatness and Ken Kennedy from Dundee. The next seven were made on Aug 19/20 by Alan Tough from Elgin, Denis Buczynski from Tarbatness, myself from Glenbarry, Tracy Harty from Penrhyn Bay, North Wales; Simon Toomey from Kerry, Ireland; Gordon Mackie from Sandside, Thurso and Alan Kennedy from Caithness. The next two were made on Aug 20/21 by myself from Glenbarry and Alan Tough from Elgin, who also made the last sighting, on Aug 30/31.

Aurora rays over Sandside, Thurso on 2022 Aug 19 at 23:58 UT. (Gordon Mackie)


Aurora and the Plough asterism, seen from Tarbatness on the night of 2022 Sep 23, at 23:23 UT. A Samyang 14mm ƒ/2.8 lens and Canon 550D camera were used to obtain this 30s exposure at ISO 6400. (Denis Buczynski)

In September there were four G1-class storms, two G2, seven R1, and seven sightings. The first sightings were on Sep 4/5 by Alan Tough from Elgin and Denis Buczynski from Tarbatness. Denis again saw it on Sep 5/6, 14/15 & 23/24, and Sep 27/28, when it was also seen by Roger Stapleton from St Andrews.

An auroral display on 2022 Oct 2/3, imaged from Glenbarry. (Sandra Brantingham)


In early October there were four G1-class storms, eight R1, one R2 and one R3, with three sightings. The first two were by myself from Glenbarry and by Denis Buczynski from Tarbatness on Sep 2/3. The next was by Roger Stapleton from St Andrews on Sep 17/18.

Noctilucent cloud (NLC)

There is no more information on the effects of the 2022 Jan 15 volcanic eruption on Tonga, but I will keep you informed if anything occurs.

NLC sightings are at zero for late August. The sheet of mesospheric ice steadily retreated, with the season ending on Aug 31 when the last specks were seen on imagery returned by the AIM satellite. The night camera operations of Ken Kennedy and Nick James have helped a great deal in catching mostly clouded-night sightings. Since Nick James’ talk on these cameras at the BAA Autumn Weekend Meeting in Elgin, these cameras may proliferate and help in obtaining sightings of the aurora as well as NLC.

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