Well last night, my partner's Aurora alarm app went off whilst we were having dinner - so pudding had to wait! We loaded the tripod and camera bag into the family truckster and headed off to Corton Beach under cloudy but clearing skies. Sadly, the street lights dont go out until midnight so Corton Beach, relatively close to our house, provides a dark site with a northerly view back over the cliffs largely missing the 'orange glow' that is Great Yarmouth. Whilst we were on the Beach the clouds began to clear and both of us thought we could see a green glow over the cliffs and just below the tail of the Great Bear. Anyway I took a number of photographs the best of which was taken whilst the app was telling us that photography would show the aurora from most of England. I have attached the image - 20 sec exposure - ISO1600 - F3.5 - tripod mounted Canon 600D DSLR - 18-55mm at 18 lens which has had the following image processing :
- Application of autocolour at about 20%
- Colour saturation enhancement using LAB color and adjustment of channels by increasing contrast.
- Colour blurring using a gaussian blur.
- Saturation of red and yellow colours reduced to reduce the orange red glow of some 'low pressure' sodium street lighting that I could not avoid when taking a photograph looking north.
- General lowering of saturation across all colours and some repetitive luminosity layers to finish
I think it shows some auroral activity. Looks very much like the low level auroral display that I photographed in Tromso several years ago. But as my partner says when I reach for the 'imaging software' - "Cheating again" - So who knows for sure ?
A bit of a bonus was the very dark sky view east out across the North Sea. Quite beautiful. We watched the Pleiades rise out of the sea and the Milky Way was absolutely marvellous. The dark lanes of dust could be traced with your finger and the Andromeda Galaxy was an easy spot with the naked eye. I took a sequence of images more or less centred on the Double Cluster in Perseus - 6x20 secs RAW-ISO3200 f=18 and F3.5- stacked in DSS - FITSwork etc. I do like widefield astro photography and very much enjoy reading articles and viewing widefield images created by Professor Ian Morison - I have some way to go!
It was very nice to see a couple of meteors - one was quite bright - and to capture the less than bright one shooting by and just under Messier 31 - an exposition in 'near and far'.