Equinox aurora over West Shinness

Equinox aurora over West Shinness

It is a well-known phenomenon that aurora can be stronger and more spectacular around the equinoxes. At this time the tilt of the earth on its journey round the sun means that its magnetic field is at pretty much right angles to the sun and therefore has more interaction with the solar winds. It is this interaction that creates the aurora effect that can light up the sky in latitudes nearer the poles in spectacular fashion.

On 23rd March this year, we were treated to one such show up in the wilds of Sutherland in the far north of mainland Scotland. Aurora sightings here are common when the sun is in its more active cycle, but normally these are a glow on the northern horizon, appearing as a grey smudge to the naked eye or a pale green to a camera sensor. Sometimes, though the activity is high enough for the activity to move south, directly above and we get an aurora clearly visible to the naked eye, waving and pulsing through the sky. To the eye, the colours are still pale and almost ephemeral. To the camera, however, the full glory of the colours – greens, reds, purples – is discernible illuminating the night sky in a riot of neon brightness.

West Shinness, Lairg, Sutherland

Canon EOS R5, Sigma 24mm f1.4 ART

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