Northern Lights on 21 January 2005

Over the last couple of months the sun has been very active with quite a few fine auroral displays as a result, but alas, most of the time these were either during daylight hours or behind cloudcover for observers from The Netherlands.

This time though we were lucky! On the evening of January 21 the weather was quite unsettled with strong winds bringing in showers from the North Sea, with crystal clear skies in between. Fortunately, the first period of high auroral activity between 19h and 19h30m UT coincided with a large clearing in the clouds for most of The Netherlands. Despite a bright moon we witnessed a fine display with deep red aurora up to 50 degrees elevation on top of an intense green arc, and occasionally periods with rapidly changing bright rays.

I myself observed visually from a location near Zuidwolde and used the opportunity to have a quick look at C/2004 Q2 (Machholz) as well, while Edwin observed from a site near Noorddijk where he obtained the accompanying images. Around 19h30 UT new showers moved in, but by this time the best part of the show was definitely over.
Reinder Bouma, 23-01-2005

(All images on Minolta dimage 7i, set at 400 ASA and 28mm, 10s exposures. @2005EdwinvanDijk)