Aurora borealis photographed in Slovenia, rare blue aurora in Norway

Aurora borealis photographed in Slovenia, rare blue aurora in Norway

Aurora borealis is a normal event at high latitudes during geomagnetic storms but when they are seen as low as Slovenia (Zagarjev vrh, N46.03, E14.65) you know the event is rare and stunning for the observers. The following image was captured in Slovenia on February 27 by astrophotographer Javor Kac:

Image courtesy of Javor Kac (via Crometeo.hr)

Location: Zagarjev vrh (N46.03, E14.65)
UTC Time and Date: 27.02.2014 - 21:43 (21 minutes)
Observer: Javor Kac
Limiting magnitude: +5.5
Light pollution: high
Cloudiness: 30% (variable)
Limiting magnitude at the location of aurora: NA
Auroral activity: very low
Elevation of activity: 15 degrees
Types of activity: (diffuse glow) (rays)

"Comments: Aurora first detected photographically through clouds at 21:43 UT. Visually observed from 21:44 to 21:59 UT as faint diffuse reddish glow spanning 30 degrees over northern horizon. Faint pillar appeared at 21:47 UT and remained visible for about a minute. Aurora detectable on photographs until 22:04 UT. No further observations were possible because of cloud interference."

Aurora is a very rare sight at these latitudes (Slovenia/Croatia). According to Crometeo (independent Croatian meteorological website) aurora was seen twice in Croatia in 1991; after that it was seen and captured in 2000 and 2003.

Blue aurora in Norway

A rare blue aurora was captured in Norway on February 22nd by Micha Bäuml. Spaceweather.com explains:

"Northern Lights are usually green, and sometimes red. Those are the colors produced by oxygen when it is excited by electrons raining down from space... In auroras, blue is a sign of nitrogen. Energetic particles striking ionized molecular nitrogen (N2+) at very high altitudes produces a cold azure glow of the type captured in Micha's photo. Why it overwhelmed the usual hues of oxygen on Feb 22nd is unknown."

Taken by Micha on February 22, 2014 @ Straumfjord Norway (Image via SpaceWeather.com)

Featured image: Javor Kac

Comments

jamal shrair 8 months ago

Dear, Lulu The aurora is caused by the interaction of high energy particles usually electrons with neutral atoms in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The color of the Aurora depeneds on which atom is stuck and the atlitude of the collision. On the other hand, the color in the flame is the result of the electons getting excited and pushed to higher energy levels by the heat energy. When those electons fall back down they give off photons of light of different colors, depends upon how far they fall. Keeping in mind that different temperatures cause electrons to jump to different levels. But, also the color depends on the type of the material or rather the atoms of the given material.

Lulu 8 months ago

Jamal, is this somewhat similar in reaction to when one can see different coloured flames emitted when 'fire' is produced/created from different chemical compounds? Example, blue or yellow or green flames? ;)

jamal shrair 8 months ago

Auroras start when charged particles stream out from the sun and collide with atoms of oxygen and nitrogen in the earth's ionosphere. As these particles interact with the edges of the earth's magnetic field and when they collide with the gases in the ionosphere, the particles glow creating curtains of blue, green and magenta. . Since the magnetic field is strongest near the poles, that's the region where most auroras occur. However, sometimes these charged particles get caught in other regions of the Earth’s magnetic field as they come into the upper atmosphere. But, I believe this event that took place over Sloveia has to do (most likey) with two reasons. First, the rapid changes of Earth’s magnetic field (wandering of the geomagnetic poles) and the second reason is the increase of sulphur ions from worldwide increase of volcanic activity. The rotation of the Earth’s magnetic field especially when its experiencing rapid shifting could interact with these sulphur ions and create auroras at at different regions than not just at the poles. Jamal Shrair, author of Helical Universe

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