Attempted Successful Aurora blog


Okay. I don’t know if this is going to happen, but I’ going to try live blogging this Aurora. Providing we get to see it this far south. All times are Pacific Standard Time. (-8 GMT)

Time 9:30

Outside on the deck watching the dusk creep towards me. Mosquito coils lit. Citronella candles lit to try and keep the bugs at bay. Covered feet to neck and hoping not to get bitten too much. Writing a sequence for ‘Darkness’ about the handover of a new starship to its pilot.

The dusk is gorgeous and soft, with a ticklish little breeze continually blowing out the candles. A confused cockerel is crowing as the light fades. Who keeps chickens around here? The way the sound is carrying tonight it could well be over on Mudge, or even Gabriola island.

Time 9:45

Have set up my old hiking compass to see if there is any magnetic deviation. Probably not, but you never find out by not looking. Light fading quite rapidly. No visible stars yet.

Time 10:00

If the flare levels hold up, It’s a great night for skywatching. Barely a cloud in the sky, and the few that are are low down on the horizon to the North heading West. The sky to the north is surprisingly bright. First star / planet spotted 10-12 degrees east of vertical. Someone is playing what sounds like Buddhist prayer chants. Or is it First Nations? Just going to duck inside and get some insect repellant. Which I haven’t got. Bummer. OVATION predicts that Aurora should be visible over northern Lake Superior.

10:15

Hard to see keyboard. A few more clouds on the Northern horizon. A couple more visible stars / planets.
Aurora Data Screen capture 10:15 PST

10:30

Constellations starting to take form. Vancouver, slightly north of east is covered by a slight haze of light pollution, punctuated by the bright dual pinpoints of aircraft headlights. Looking at data peaks in ‘Risk’ part of graphic. Last large one was about twenty plus minutes ago.
Horizon to the north ids almost completely dark.

11:00

Ursa Major and Polaris now clearly identifiable without visual aids. Stars visible within 15 degrees of horizon away from the city lights. Not sure if I just caught a flash of something to the North and East, or whether it was an optical illusion caused by quickly looking away from my laptop screen.

11:15

Horizon seems lighter to the North. There’s a band of deep indigo, then a vaguely greenish haze up to about ten degrees above the horizon. Although I think that’s reflected light off the leftover haze from those Siberian wildfires that made the news last week. It’s quite distinct. A hazy, slightly lighter band about 10-12 degrees up from the horizon.

11:30

Nothing much to report. Might just duck inside to put some socks on my feet. 11:42, what sounded like two shots. Not a shotgun, and not Aurora related, but I’d say within 200 metres. No shouts or other fuss from the neighbours, so it was probably someone trying to scare off some of the local Raccoons.

11:45

Nipping indoors to connect my laptop to it’s charger. My dog is hiding under my desk and steadfastly refuses to come out.

Midnight Pacific Standard Time

According to both OVATION predictions and the CSSDP the area of probability as far as seeing the Northern Lights is concerned is getting closer.

12:15

Paydirt. Aurora visible as monochrome pale vertical banding behind clouds due north. Moving back outdoors. Angie came out and confirmed my observation when her eyes had adjusted. She described the glow as ‘greenish and indistinct’. The vertical component is intermittent and not bright enough to take video footage of at present.

12:30

It’s like vertical streaks of anticrepuscular light. Right up to forty degrees or more above the horizon. Not bright enough to show up on my camera, but quite distinct with the occasional flash of brighter green.

1:00

Might get a bit more distinct, but not much at this latitude. The occasional greenish flash, and shadowy pillars in the sky are enough to show where the old gods came from. For myself, i have work in the morning, and need to catch some sleep. Shutting down.

06:45 Sunday 15th July

CSSDP screencap for this morning. Looks like activity was greatest around 3am according to the ‘Risk’ part of the graph.
I’ve picked up a few mosquito bites on the back of my left calf (Which I covered up, but those little things get everywhere), but nothing some antiseptic skin lotion won’t fix.

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Published by:

Martyn K Jones

A writer who first trained as an Electrical Engineer, then fulfilled various roles within the computing industry. First published in 'SuperBike' magazine, 1978 under the pseudonym Harry Matthews. Since then has written and had published a wide variety of work; from PR copy in trade magazines to supernatural short stories and the occasional satirical article. Emigrated to Canada in 2007. Became a Canadian Citizen December 2014. Now branching out as a serious science fiction novelist.

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