Donegal Town Camera Club


In the next few Imagines I hope to better your understanding on the Aurora and hopefully give you a little knowledge to better your chances of seeing this amazing sight for yourself.


Some folk out there don’t realize that the Sun is responsible for giving us Auroras and how this happens is through charged Particles coming of the Sun from Solar flares or High speed Solar wind. Check the following link for daily Solar activity

When Auroras are Active you need to be looking North, and into as little light pollution as possible, and if possible none... Give your eyes a chance to develop better night vision by not having any light sources around like torches etc. Once you get adapted to the dark you will see more in the night sky. Find Polaris by looking for the Big Dipper and following the two end Stars out the length of the constellation.... see above chart circled in Red if you see this, your looking North.

Know what to look for.... We have all seen pictures, the reality is the Aurora's are not as vivid in colour or Brightness to the Naked eye... Pictures taken with cameras capture a longer duration of detail in order to build a picture... not to say what a camera catches is fake its just more concentrated due to the time required to take the picture.. If you spend enough time out under clear skies with no Aurora Activity and then finally see it... you'll know its there... there will be a glow on the horizon that really has no place there.... that’s it.

By using the Aurora Oval it give you a quick view of what’s possibly going on... Find Ireland on the Map and the closer the Oval is to us the better the chances are of us seeing it...Higher the kp level the better for us in Ireland but that’s only part of the story... Check link for KP levels and Aurora Oval.. next imagine will explain more on Kp levels vs Earths Magnetic field..

Checking the Magnetometers will tell you were the parties at if the kp levels are reasonably high... it really all depends on these, regards if the KP levels are high if the Earths Magnetic. Field is not far enough south we won't see anything...its very possible to see Aurora's up in the northern half of Ireland if the kp levels are only 2kp but the Magnetic field is leaning far South... From my own observations over the past few months I have noticed that if the lines on the following link dip south around the RVK and DON meters we should be seeing something at say 3.33kp & always check this link along with the others daily and refresh all pages..

To clear things up too, most people think on any giving night there is a chance on seeing the Aurora, the reality is there isn't.. it all depends on the Sun, which is why you will need to check Spaceweather on a daily basis... and even when Auroras are meant to happen they don't always show and sometimes CLOUDS happen... regardless enjoy the night as it is building experience..

If your luck and Aurora's are in the offering make sure to have well at least one camera at the ready.. Always nice to capture that moment you first get hooked and as a guide line to camera setting, you'll need to be in Manual Mode, Shutter speed around 25 to 30 seconds, ISO at around 800 - 1600 and Aperture as wide opened as you can get, this is the lower F stop number which in most stock lens is F3.5...