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Established 16/3/2000

Northern Lights over Ireland, July 16th 2000

Aurora Borealis
The aurora at its peak in the northern half of the sky. You can probably see Ursa Major (The Plough) towards the right, and the bright star near bottom left is Arcturus in Bootes.

July 16th, 2000:

Aurora Borealis can quite often take the amateur astronomer by surprise. At the time of solar maximum, when the sunspot activity is at climax, the sun emits powerful eruptions of electromagnetic radiation which spurt out into space, sometimes in the direction of Earth. On this occasion, a powerful auroral display ensued over Ireland and parts of Europe. Solar storm warnings had been issued, and this July storm followed one in April which amazed and enthused backyard astronomers all over the British Isles.

Aurora Borealis July 2000

Notice the deep blue hue of the auroral display. Colours ranged from purple to blue, to cobalt and there was also a hint of green as can be seen above. Previous displays had been more red in colour, so this one was unusual.


The display started at approximately 00:30UT and lasted until nearly 02:00UT on July 16th. The full moon in the sky helped to illuminate some patchly high cloud (above) which added some interesting effects to the photographs.

Big View

All photos were taken with a Nikon F90 camera, 18-35mm f3.5 Sigma lens, on Fuji Sensia 400 Slide Film. Slides were scanned on an Agfa Arcus Duoscan.

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All information and photos, except where otherwise stated, copyright, © Anthony Murphy, 1999-2015
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