JUNE 18/19TH



June 18/19th 23.51 BST. The following images lead up to the most spectacular NLC display I have ever seen in my life so I have deliberately added many images here to show the build up to that main event. I hope from looking at the earlier part of this night that new NLC observers will understand the importance of the time of night and position of the Sun, which define the typical NLC window periods during each display, which are after sunset and before dawn, however the lesson here is that during the middle of the night, when the Sun is low, can produce scenes that are simply unbelievable. This is why any passionate NLC observer should check the sky on a regular basis all through the night for these exceptional moments. The entire display was visible from 23.30 - 03.30 BST, peaked at type 5 brightness and was 40 degrees (80 full Moon diameters) high and extended from the NW to NE sky sectors.

The display first appeared during evening twilight, and as always, I was out watching and taking images. This is back in the same location in the field which is lit by the glow of street lights behind me, looking N and NW. The Cows where gone. The above image shows what the display looked like when it first appeared in the sky, on a normal NLC night this would have been a gorgeous sight on it's own, I suspected from its visual profile that it could turn spectacular later, if only I knew what was in store a few hours into the future!. At this moment in time it was already type 5 brightness, however the bright twilight camouflaged its intensity. Vivid pearly white and blue colours are showing off, this was probably +50 degrees high at it's tallest point and was spreading out quickly in azimuth. Even at this stage of the evening exceptional structure was evident in the form of bands, lacunosus holes, waves/herringbone (sometimes called billows) and large scale whirls. These images are around 28mm wide angle. Capella is the star visible to the R of the twisted structure. Let's advance along the time line and see what this night produced. Images 27 - 63 cover this incredible display.