Aurora from Whitstable, UK 26th Sept 2011

Submitted by: John Kemp at Tue Sep 27 12:48:01 2011 UTC

First for 8 years here! Because of the location of the magnetic pole, auroras are much rarer here at 51deg N than from a similar latitude in Canada. I caught the tail end of the display. My best pic was this, the first, at 21.29 UT looking North over the beach huts towards the lights of the offshore wind farm and the Essex coast. I was observing till about 1.30 UT. The green colour was clearly visible to the naked eye, but the red, only just. The aurora flared up - if that's the word for such a faint display - about midnight with an overall very faint red cast to the sky colour. The image has had minimal processing - just the RGB rhs slider moved left, contrast tweaked +15, and a few duff pixels removed with the healing brush in PSE-8. It is quite wrong to do any differential processing in this kind of photography - certainly not mucking about with colour balance - so I didn't. What is intriguing is that the sea has a red tinge, showing that the whole - or large areas - of the sky had a faint red tinge. KonicaMinolta Dynax (Fxxum) 5D with a 28mm f/2.8 prime lens. Full aperture, 30 sec., 800 ISO tripod. KM cameras have a higher quality internal IR filter than many other makes (which lose too much of the deep red), which helps with astrophotography - both auroras and H-alpha. I can be contacted at john.e.g.kempATbtopenworld.kom (correct this spelling!) and will give permission for any reasonable non-commercial use of this image. John Kemp


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