It all started on wednesday while looking at the charts, there was a G1 storm forecast from spaceweather. I checked the WSA-ENLIL Solar Wind Prediction model and it didnt look like much at all just a thin slither of solar wind hitting earth with predicted speed of 400km/s. I wasnt sure if it would produce G1 even. It was predicted to arrive early hours of sunday morning. I was checking the charts all saturday night but nothing happened. I was so sure it was a damp squib but later on I got word that things were picking up. I checked space weather and they said there was a stelth cme that had hit earth undetacted. so my hopes were up bigtime. on sunday evening while making my mother her mothers day dinner like the good son that I am.lol I went out the back, the cloud had just cleared, I couldnt believe it the aurora was at about 45 degree angle over head. it was crazy to see it so vivid from my house as i live on the edge of town with all the light pollution. I shouted to my mother and the bro. you could even see the beams moving across the sky, back in for the dinner and I couldnt get the dinner in me quick enough had all the gear packed from the night before so went straight to beaghmore stone circles.
when I arrived at beaghmore at around 8pm the aurora had just calmed down abit so was worried that maybe i had missed the best of it. took the first few shots a few beams were popping up here and there. so just kept shooting diffrent parts of the stones at diffrent angles. I decide i would ring a few people and let them know what i was seeing. as i turned my phone on It was on a constant bleap from facebook and text messages. I rang Martin Armstrong to see if he was out, he said he was but things have died down. I told him to keep watch because there was a good chance it would go into outburst again. as i was finished talking on the phone I noticed all the messages, so many people had seen it and some hadnt and people were asking me questions I tried my best to keep up with it all but ended up turning it off cause was missing the show myself. at that point I got the feeling that the aurora hadnt finished yet and at about half 9 my feeling became truth. The aurora went into outburst. what a feeling. believe me there is nothing like it when it happens. rising structure beams growing in colour dancing across the sky. I was roaring with joy. sometimes i have tell myself to calm down I get abit over excited. but thats what gets me out doing this. the excitement of it all.
this is the start of the 9:30pm outburst
as it was growin in intencity I stopped and watched it for 10 mins. Ive started doing this now because sometimes you get carried away taking photos and miss most of whats happening so once I had a few shots I could relax and watch this amazing show. as the outburst was peaking I noticed a massive beam to the east 1 of the biggest pillars ive seen I measure at over 60degrees in height an absolute gem of a beam.
this is the 60 degree beam over to the far right
this was the aurora at its peak
As I was watching the aurora at its peak I happened to look above my head and couldnt believe it there was an unclassified blob detatched and was above my head and out to the east at one stage i thought it was going to make a full secondary arc. it was very close to doing so. out of 30 auroras ive seen ive never seen this happen before. I was pumpin with adrenaline at this stage i even felt shaky i was that amazed at the sight i was seeing. I dont know how many times I said OMG.lol at this stage You know when your that excited you just wished the whole world was seeing what you was seeing. I was at that point.
here is me pointing at the unclassified blob that detached itself from the main arch
another 1 with me watching the 9:30 outburst
some amazing struture at the bottom of this
at this stage I tried bumping up my iso abit more and lower the shutter speed to get more vivid structure and it payed off nicely
as things were dying down I headed over to lough fea for a while just to capture the tail end of the show.
What a night to remember, I think for now on I will EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED when it comes to small solar wind streams.lol but thats what makes it special. I mind last year when me an nightskyhunter Martin mckenna were out doing abit of timelapse at beaghmore 1 night we met a guy from outside derry. he said to us and I quote " the Aurora sure im sick of seeing it, ive seen that many now" he said he had seen 20 all together. I honestly think this guy was on another planet or else hes seeing airport lights or something. this was aurora number 30 for me and i dont think ill ever get sick of chasing it. Number 30 for me was the best ive seen to date. and 1 ill remember for the rest of my life. solar maximum is waning off slowly and i dont think there will be much more displays like this. BUT THE CHASE GOES ON!!!