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  • Writer's pictureTracey Snelus

January 2022 - Aurora. Penrhyn Bay

Updated: Jan 16, 2022

Solar activity has been on the increase through 2021 and the activity is continuing to rise as we head through solar cycle 25. There have been several solar flares and coronal holes that have increased the auroral activity. Of course, for aurora to be observed and for it to be such that it can be viewed in the UK, several factors need to fall into place. Recently, several such shows have been gracing the UK skies, however for North Wales the typical weather has meant mostly cloud cover. That changed on January 14th 2022.

The aurora activity was expected over the weekend with Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th seeming to be the favourable timings for the incoming solar winds. Friday, the Bz index was very negative (Southward) which is a big factor for aurora observations at lower latitudes. Coupled with the start of the incoming solar winds and clear sky meant that it was worth a punt at nightfall. Heading out to the Great Orme, Llandudno, we set up near the Rest and be thankful Cafe and set our cameras snapping. Low on the horizon was a distinct aurora arc spanning the northern horizon. For a small moment its activity picked up with beams being seen on the camera, albeit faint.

I wasn't convinced that the activity would pick up much more, I headed home to make sure the imaging rig was making its way through the images as I had set it up earlier that evening. 11pm and further alerts came through on the aurora watch app so I headed down to the promenade at Penrhyn Bay. On the street lit prom with the bright moon up, I could still see the aurora glow out to sea. Activity peaked for a moment with hints of purple and the aurora started to dance before very quickly subsiding away.

It was, as always, a pleasure to see. Even more so that I could see it visually with hints of movement now apparent. From the images that I captured, using a tripod mounted Fuji XT3 with 14mm lens and 4second exposures, I stacked the images to create the time-lapse.

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