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any good N. Light sightings in north Finland this year?

Tetbury, United...
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any good N. Light sightings in north Finland this year?

I'm considering a trip to Ivalo, N. Finland in March to hunt the N. Lights but am guessing that because of the weak Solar Maximum there's not a lot of activity the the moment.

I'd be grateful to anyone who has recently visited the area who could give me some idea of the current quality/strength of any sightings.

Many thanks.

Rovaniemi, Finland
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1. Re: any good N. Light sightings in north Finland this year?

Well, the current strength isn't any indication for March or even next week. Bet here's one sighting in Inari a week ago (click on the pics to enlarge them):

www.taivaanvahti.fi/observations/show/10725

For the geomagnetic activity these graphs and tables show some recent disturbances detected in Sodankylä, Kevo and Kilpisjärvi observatories:

aurora.fmi.fi/public_service/english/latest_…

aurora.fmi.fi/public_service/SODdercol.txt

It's good when the bars are on red.

Edited: 17 February 2013, 23:07
Finland
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2. Re: any good N. Light sightings in north Finland this year?

If you compare that report to the solar X-ray reading at that time, it shows only a slight rise but not a peak. I did not find the actual solar report for Feb 10, but it was probably a single medium solar flare that was enough to create those colors and vertical strokes. When those strokes appear the lights also usually pulse rapidly. Thus, here is an example that you do not necessarily need high solar activity period - only be far North and have plenty of luck.

Rovaniemi, Finland
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3. Re: any good N. Light sightings in north Finland this year?

Oh... I only gave a link to the Sodankylä obesrvatory table as it's the closest to where I live... :) But even Sodankylä shows magnetic levels up to 50 nT/s on Feb 10.

However in Kilpisjärvi there's a much stronger peak of 126 nT/s:

aurora.fmi.fi/public_service/KILdercol.txt

Probably higher average levels in Kevo and a slight peak on Feb 10:

aurora.fmi.fi/public_service/KEVdercol.txt

Finland
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4. Re: any good N. Light sightings in north Finland this year?

Sorry Pasi, I was unclear... we were talking about different things :) I was referring to solar X-ray flux (which is an indicator of solar activity) and you to magnetic readings (which is an indicator of the Northern Lights).

To clarify, here is the data I was referring to http://sxi.ngdc.noaa.gov/sxi_movies.html

If you look at e.g. the 14 days video, you can see that there is a small increase of solar X-rays on that night.

There was high magnetic activity and a splendid light show when solar activity was only moderate!

I hope this helps photos4art.

Rovaniemi, Finland
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5. Re: any good N. Light sightings in north Finland this year?

Ok, now I see... :) And thanks for the link! That goes into my bookmarks.

But if that telescope detects x-rays, as the name suggests, then there actually is a significant disturbance just around the same time as it should have been detected.

For x-rays it takes only a few minutes to reach Earth, but for solar wind, those little particles causing the Lights, it takes on average about 3-4 days. Now that videos shows disturbance on Feb 6th. About four days later on Feb 10th some nice Aurora Borealis catched on film in Inari... :)

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6. Re: any good N. Light sightings in north Finland this year?

I just watched the video again. There is a bright flash as the flare goes off on Feb 6th and the X-ray reading goes up. Yes, that is obviously the source of those lights.

Tetbury, United...
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7. Re: any good N. Light sightings in north Finland this year?

This was really useful , thanks Pasiroi and Yuke. I'll maybe book that trip after all. (It was for 13th March, 4 nights in Inari with Aurora Hunters). Judging by the info you gave it sounds like as good a time as any to go . Thanks again for this.

Rovaniemi, Finland
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8. Re: any good N. Light sightings in north Finland this year?

Still one thing to add and maybe confuse you even more... :) So far this winter has not been the best for Northern Lights, but it's not all to the sun's activity. All the stats say there should have been more Lights than we've seen...

And maybe there has been. We just haven't been able to see them. Yesterday our meteorological institute released a small report stating that so far this winter has been exceptionally cloudy. In places the cloudiest in 50 years!

http://ilmatieteenlaitos.fi/tiedote/618845 (in Finnish)

And I can confirm that. Not many bright nights but then not extreme cold temperatures either. For now the weather looks to be getting clearer. Seems like this week it'll be more of a typical late winter: cold nights and (relatively) warm days.

Tetbury, United...
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9. Re: any good N. Light sightings in north Finland this year?

I think you may have hit on the main reason for fewer good reported sightings this year than last ; the rain. I didnt realise it had been as bad as that in Finland.

As March is usually the least cloudy of the aurora-season months this sounds like a good reason for choosing March, as you say, in the hope that it will be a little drier by then. In any case, there's no reason to believe that leaving it any longer will increase chances of more prolific displays as we will have passed solar maximum by then.

I had been studying the various sites including Finnish meteorological Inst. etc. however, as a novice was having difficulty reaching a decision based on this info. alone (Taivaanvahti.fi/.... looks like a very useful site too but unfortunately there's no English translation option so I've had to settle for just the intriguing-looking pictures!)

This has been very helpful PasiRoi, and thanks for keeping the info as jargon-free as possible ! I will keep an eye on the FMI weather forecasts and looking for an upward trend. Best wishes :+)

10. Re: any good N. Light sightings in north Finland this year?

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