Observation by Paul Whitmarsh: Proton Arc (STEVE)

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Paul Whitmarsh


Paul Whitmarsh


2016 Sep 28 - 21:02


2017 Jan 25 - 23:46



Planetarium overlay


Serpens Caput

Field centre

RA: 15h43m
Dec: +19°03'
Position angle: +31°35'

Field size

55° × 76°

  • Canon 7D
  • Canon 14mm f2.8

25 Seconds


Orphir, Orkney

Target name



Proton Arc (STEVE)

About this image

On the 25th September 2016 it was our first time in Orkney and we had our first view ever of the northern lights, then we saw what looked like a search light coming from the west it stretched through the zenith. A bit of googling and the Orkney Aurora Group Facebook site revealed that this had been a Proton Arc. Sadly I had not photographed it. Then three days later it happened again, I was  ready for it this time.

Update to Observation notes

At the time of observation these phenomena were known as "Proton Arcs". However Proton Arcs can't be seen with the naked eye, and in 2017 it was discovered that this was rather a "sudden thermal emission through a velocity enhancement" or STEVE

ESA Swarm Aurora - Dr Eric Donovan, in the Eric's talk about the discovery of STEVE and what it is, is from 1h 8m to 1h 25m


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