Friday 17 May 2024

Patch Tick - Aurora Borealis!

I have spent many hours looking up at the night sky hoping, and sometimes even expecting to see the Northern Lights.  Over the past couple of years the prospect of seeing Aurora on the south coast of England has increased, I can recall at least three nights being out knowing Aurora is a real possibility.

On two of those nights I could see nothing.  On the third night I could again see nothing, but my phone camera revealed a light green hue in the sky.  I felt cheated.  And reading some more into it I realised this is what most/all 'sub-optimal' Aurora experiences are like... not an experience at all! Such a disappointment.

Still for some reason that didn't put me off going out on the evening of Friday 10th May, as this was reported to be one of the most severe solar storms possible...

I went out at about 10:40pm, and from my vantage point west of Colyton, just above the clouds that sat low in the sky to the north, I could see a faint green hue.  It was much more extensive through my phone camera, but at least I could actually see some colour with my naked eye this time!  

Distant Aurora! A wispy green hue.


I honestly thought that was it.  I stayed for half an hour admiring this whiff of green, but just as I was about to leave... well what happened next will stay with me forever...

The only way I can explain it is that the sky quite literally lit-up.  A bit like being in a dark theatre and the spot lights suddenly turn on, with bright lights piercing through the empty blackness. But these spot lights were coloured and on a scale of epic proportions!  

The night sky, up to directly above me, was suddenly a mix of blue, green, purple and pink, in these huge and mightly impressive towers of light...

A night-time rainbow

I cannot tell you how impressive these beams were - literal towers of light.


I am not ashamed to say it moved me.  Seeing something so mind blowing on such an incomprehensibly epic scale completely knocked me off my feet.  I immediately phoned Jess who I knew was in bed, and got her up and out in the back garden (where light pollution is an issue) and she couldn't believe it!  When I got home 20 minutes later we swapped over so she could go out and admire the Aurora at a darker spot.

It varied in intensity up until when I went to bed at 1am, and at one stage I could see movement in the light.  These were my views from the back garden at about mightnight...

The beams got even more striking and bright!

So many beams!  Filled so much of the sky.

Only included this pic as it actually includes my house!  My house and the Northern Lights.


Many people are saying this was a once in a life-time show of the Aurora Borealis.  I sure hope not, but if it turns out to be I am so glad I witnessed it.