Large report which begins with some of my early comet memories followed by the discovery and massive build up to the 2013 C/2011 L4 Pan-STARRS comet apparition. This report documents the hardships as I battled against cold and cloudy skies in search of this exciting new visitor which took me from Cookstown to Glenshane Pass and from frustration and sadness to spectacular thrills as the hunt climaxed with two unforgettable nights shooting this beautiful comet over the Co. Antrim coast with the amazing Pan-STARRS and M31 close conjunction showing off over the Giant's Causeway and Dunluce Castle. 34 images & 1 video clip
Historic extreme Winter weather event across N. Ireland during March 2013 when stalling Atlantic frontal systems encountered freezing air from Europe which resulted in 36-48hrs of continuous snowfall with gales producing blizzard conditions which produced the worst snow storm for 50 years with power lines disabled, ice storms, blizzards, massive snow drifts & the death of over 10,000 Sheep and Lambs. This report covers the amazing blowing snow on Glenshane Pass then the aftermath at Dungiven, Lough Fea and the Sperrins where I encountered incredible 20ft deep snow drifts, deep ploughed snow on the roads, and icicle displays. One page report with 31 images & 3 video clips.
Winter 2013 Part 2 - Detailed image report covering the period from Jan 31st to Feb 5th following various chases through Maghera, Gulladuff, along the Co. Antrim coast, then Glenshane pass. During this period I chased severe Winter weather and intercepted powerful day and night squalls of hail, snow, and sea foam accompanied by violent gusts of wind followed by a display of hundreds of icicles and glaze ice on the Sperrins - the second such time this dramatic spectacle has happened within 14 days - and observed distant thundersnow cells. One page report with 17 images & 4 video clips
Day 5 part 2 of the current severe Winter weather event in N. Ireland on Jan 22nd 2013. I spent the afternoon hiking up the steep snow-covered slopes of Benbradagh along the Sperrin Mountains outside Dungiven when after days of overcast skies the clouds parted to reveal a stunning Winter landscape with bright sunlit snow-covered mountain and crisp blue skies aloft contrasting with dark snow clouds and blowing fog over the beautiful summit which made for an unforgettable experience. One page report with 13 images and 1 video clip.
Day 5 part 1 of the current severe Winter weather event in N. Ireland on Jan 22nd 2013. After encountering heavy snowfalls, freezing fog, and hoar frost I suddenly encountered a remarkable sight on the main road along Glenshane Pass. Hanging from the mountain cliffs where literally hundreds of massive icicles and slabs of ice covering the rocks, grass, and blending into the snow drifts. I measured one icicle at 3ft in length & 5"-6" thick of solid clear ice making for a truly insane Winter experience which made for an unforgettable day. One page report with 19 images and 1 video clip.
Day 2 part 2 of the severe Winter cold spell affecting N. Ireland on January 19th 2013. After spending the entire day with my girlfriend driving in snow we later met up with my Dad and his friend at last light and went for a long walk through the beautiful snow-covered conifer and pine trees in Glenshane Forest which made for a very special memory. The experience of the heavy snow causing the vast tree branches to sag combined with the absolute silence and freezing temps in eerie light made for a wonderful experience. One page report with 10 images and 1 video clip.
Day 1, day 2 part 1, and day 3 of the severe Winter cold spell affecting N. Ireland from Jan 18th to Jan 21st 2013. This extensive report covers many trips across the Sperrins at Glenshane Pass and Dungiven which features a blizzard, blowing snow, 4.5ft snow drifts, glaze ice, 1ft long icicles and snow rime ice complete with snow road scenes. Two page report with 32 images and 3 video clips. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
Big report featuring my last two storm chases of 2012 on December 29th & New Year's Eve which I spent with Roisin at the north coast during stormy weather where we experienced several moonbows and an abundance of beautiful photogenic moonlit ocean storm cells and hail showers from Ballintoy and Downhill Beach. Report also includes a 2012 highlight slideshow covering all the year's best sky action. One page report with 27 images.
Detailed report covering three night shoots at the Co. Antrim coast from November 20th to 23rd 2012 featuring a surprise faint aurora, a bright moon halo and encounter with a family of Seals with the highlight being two days and nights of filming with the BBC's The One Show crew at Ballintoy Harbour where Hannah Hoare, Marty Jopson, Michael Quinn, David Kilpatrick and I battled with cold weather and lack of sleep to catch an aurora display over the ocean on a magical moonlit night. One page report with 20 images and 1 video clip.
Short image report documenting a fun photo shoot of the famous Toome bridge at night complete with car trails on November 6th 2012 using the phenomenal Canon 10-22mm ultra wide angle lens which I currently have on loan from my Dad. My shortest report to date however it may be of interest to those who wish to pursue car trail photography or who are considering purchasing an ultra wide angle lens for their crop sensor DSLR. One page report with 3 images.
On October 8th 2012 a CME and solar wind stream impacted Earth's magnetic field generating a KP6 long duration G2 geomagnetic storm with mid latitudes on red alert. After a brief battle with clouds my girlfriend and I drove to the north coast where we watched a vivid green aurora band with several ray producing outbursts over the famous Mussenden Temple, Downhill Estate, and Downhill Beach in Co. Derry. One page report with 16 images.
On October 3rd 2012 after feeling fed up from being house bound by a flu I decided to go out on a much needed night time photo shoot to Ballintoy Harbour on the Co. Antrim coast where I got treated to a beautiful night of moonlit convection, hail showers, stars over Roark's Cottage, and moonbows followed later by a rare sighting of eight Seals from Dunseverick Harbour on October 7th. One page report with 12 images.
On Saturday September 8th 2012 my girlfriend and I spent a fun day at the Portrush International Airshow at the Co. Antrim coast. The photographic highlights included a Royal Marine Commando beach assault and The Red Arrows which looked stunning against the late afternoon blue sky before their display was cancelled due to technical issues. This was followed by a beautiful ocean sunset at Portballintrae and a faint aurora display. One page report with 19 images.
Detailed report documenting several storm chases between Aug 16th and 21st 2012 from severe thunderstorms with great structure and epic updraughts including supercell characteristics sporting constant thunder over Antrim to a beautiful sunset over Belfast followed by more severe thunderstorms and a significant funnel cloud/possible tornado over Co. Antrim and ending with a line of majestic storm cells across the dusk skyline. One page report with 26 images and 2 video clips.
August 4th 2012 brought widespread thunderstorms across the UK however in N. Ireland what looked to be a promising day was suddenly handicapped by a strong capping inversion which stopped storm formation. During the late afternoon the cap suddenly broke producing several late thunderstorms across the country. This report features images of a photogenic explosive cell near Maghera which developed within min's producing a rare high based funnel cloud. One page report with 7 images.
Extensive report featuring a complex atmospheric optics display around the sun with complete parhelic circle at Portballintrae on July 25th followed by June 2nd early season Noctilucent Cloud images however the main feature of this update is focused on a dramatic and photogenic thunderstorm cluster which passed over the golden sunlit wheat fields in the Maghera countryside on July 30th. One page report with 13 images and 2 video clips.
Detailed report covering three days and nights of sky photography from storm chasing on July 11th in the Cookstown/Desertmartin area to the north coast Peace Camp installation as part of the London 2012 Festival on July 19th at White Park Bay beach and ending with a night time photo shoot of Mussenden Temple and Downhill Estate on July 21st with stars and Milky Way which made for a memorable Summer night. One page report with 14 images and 1 video clip.
Extensive account covering a significant two day outbreak of mulitcell thunderstorms which caused severe flooding over Co. Antrim on June 27th followed by a 8+ hour storm chase on June 28th with Omagh chaser Paul Martin documenting a fun day's weather action in the Mid-Ulster area which resulted in several good storm intercepts at Lough Neagh from Ballyronan Marina and the surrounding area. One page report with 14 images and 1 video clip.
June 6th 2012 was an ideal chase day with 1000 CAPE, LIs of -3 in a post frontal air mass with slack SWly flow. I chased twice this day, the first during the early afternoon when I spotted towering cumulus which directed me to a dry cell which produced a small funnel cloud directly over Lough Neagh observed from Ballyronan Marina which appeared on three occasions during a half hour period. This was followed by several intercepts during the afternoon in the local countryside and another late evening chase to the lough once again in pursuit of southern cells. One page report with 10 images and 1 video clip.
A truly epic night on April 23rd/24th 2012 spent at the Co. Antrim coast where Roisin and I watched a jaw-dropping KP6 geomagnetic storm which generated an intense outbursting long duration aurora display which we observed from the legendary Giant's Causeway and from the magical Ballintoy Harbour. The aurora produced multicoloured vertical beams over 60 degrees high and could be seen reflecting on the ocean while exhibiting breathtaking flaming forms of rapid speed which words fail to describe. One page report with 14 images.
Friday the 13th 2012 began wet, cloudy, and cold, there was no convective forecast issued and with only 200 CAPE and positive LIs it looked to be just a cold day with showers. However all that changed during the late afternoon when my girlfriend and I went for a walk in the countryside where we encountered a line of developing towering cumulus clouds which suddenly produced an obvious dark funnel cloud over the sunlit fields which we could see rotating for 10 min's in duration. The funnel itself was almost 10 miles away and located near Kilrea. So much for bad luck on Friday the 13th!. One page report with 7 images.
Documenting three days of storm chasing with attention focused on April 11th 2012 when by chance we intercepted two massive storm cells crossing Lough Neagh as seen from Antrim Marina. These cells had solid anvils almost the size of the Lough itself some 20 miles in length making for the largest cells I have ever seen for the month of April so far, these where observed as a significant sight even from 50 miles away. The climax was an explosive updraught over the Marina which looked like the plume from a volcanic eruption which made for a very exciting and photogenic day. One page report with 14 images and 1 video clip.
Detailed image report covering three days and nights of photography at the Co. Antrim coast documenting the Moon-Venus-Jupiter triple conjunction and climaxing on March 27th with a spectacular night in the company of Paul Martin watching a surprise aurora display over the ancient rock formations in the ocean between Ballintoy Harbour and White Park Bay beach where we watched an aurora for over six hours which produced two outbursts with beams reaching 50 degrees high making this a truly unforgettable night. This was the best aurora I had seen since 2005. One page report with 13 images and a image slideshow.
St. Patrick's evening March 17th 2012. My girlfriend and I spent a magical night at the famous Giant's Causeway at the Co. Antrim coast under a pitch black sky where we enjoyed the wonderful glow of the Zodiacal Light along with the stunning Venus-Jupiter conjunction with their glitter path cast across the ocean surface followed by the faintest aurora I had ever seen. These phenomena viewed above the legendary 60 million year old rocks made for an experience never to be forgotten. One page report with 6 images.
February 18th 2012 was my birthday so I celebrated in style by going on a local storm chase with my girlfriend across the high ground of Glenshane Pass to take advantage of an early season unstable post frontal air mass with weak inland CAPE. We spent the day chasing hail and snow showers followed by a late evening shoot of a beautiful conjunction between planets Venus and Jupiter followed by a late night surprise aurora display which kept me busy until 04.00 the following morning making for a fun and action-packed birthday. One page report with 13 images and 1 video clip.
On January 19th 2012 sunspot 1401 unleashed a strong solar flare and large CME which was heading directly towards Earth. This report documents two nights of aurora chasing with my girlfriend to the Co. Antrim coast hunting for the aurora borealis. The 48 hour watch was a success with auroras observed on both nights, however the night of Jan 22nd produced the best show of the weekend with a vivid green aurora display glowing over the sea which we watched from the famous coastline at Ballintoy Harbour. One page report with 9 images.
On Dec 28th 2011 I had a great chase to the Antrim coast at Ballintoy Harbour with my girlfriend to document a severe Atlantic storm where we experienced 70-80mph wind gusts, massive waves, a surreal high velocity foam blizzard, and a dusk mammatus display during my last storm chase of 2011. A successful, frightening, and thrilling day with car troubles which added to the adventure. One page report with 12 images and 1 youtube highlight slide show video covering a year of sky action.
Detailed image report covering three days and nights of storm photography between Dec 4th and 7th 2011. During this period my girlfriend and I intercepted night time convective cells at the Co. Antrim coast, enjoyed a surreal moonlit beach walk with blowing sand like the Sahara Desert and drove through heavy snow storms followed by the first laying snow of the year on Glenshane Pass with moonlit snow images with stars from the same location during the night making for a great period of adventure. One page report with 19 images and 1 video clip.
On November 29th/30th I spent a rewarding night at the Co. Antrim coast where I spent over 8 hours chasing. I ended up having a thrilling time at Ballintoy fishing harbour under pristine dark skies where I battled with squalls of rain and sleet, gale force gusts of wind, and enjoyed lightning flashing over the sea from a thunderstorm 30 miles away between the coast and Scotland. This was followed by a starscape-cottage photo shoot and ending with a faint aurora display over the sea which made for an unforgettable night's adventure. One page report with 16 images.
October 17th and 18th 2011 produced two days in a row of wild Autumn weather across much of UK and Ireland with tornado potential. On the 17th an active cold front produced a squall line with a LEWP which delivered a tornado over Britain along with a record early snowfall over Glenshane Pass. On the 18th I chased coastal storms in nasty conditions with gale force winds and hail showers at the Co. Antrim coast where I captured a suspicious lowering from an ocean cell which may have been a possible funnel cloud or waterspout behind Magilligan Point some 10 miles away from where I was standing. The case is still open but it made for an interesting chase day and further inspiration to get hunting more coastal twisters. One page report with 3 images.
Friday Sept 16th was an exciting day after a severe forecast was issued by UKASF for N. Ireland with a threat of strong wind gusts, 2cm hail and tornadoes. An occluded front produced a tornado over Clogherhead, Co. Louth before midday. By the afternoon I was chasing post-frontal cells in a sheared environment, my 1st chase was a damp squib however I was almost caught off guard later when a large cell moved over my home town of Maghera producing torrential rain and a large rotating wall cloud which produced a very close range funnel accompanied by other regions of rotation and scuddy vortices as the cell passed over homes before vanishing over the countryside making this the closest I have ever got to a tornado touch down. One page report with 11 images.
Spectacular night spent in the Maghera countryside hunting for lunar rainbows with the waning full moon in the E and trains of convective showers feeding in from the W which provided the perfect ingredients for their formation. During a 1.5 hour period I observed and photographed 7 sets of moonbows with some of the finest examples I have ever seen to date with vivid colours in the primary bow complimented by secondary arcs and even rare lunar supernumerary arcs making for one of the most satisfying and rewarding moonbow hunts I have ever undertaken. One page report with 16 images.
On Friday evening, August 26th 2011, I attended the annual 'Festival of Lights' event at Ballyronan Marina on the NW shore of Lough Neagh with my girlfriend and sister where we enjoyed a thrilling fireworks display. The light show looked visually stunning against a lovely clear blue dusk sky which made for a great atmosphere while a large crowd composed of families and children looked-on as fireworks exploded overhead from a floating launch boat with their brilliant reflections illuminating the calm water below. One page report with 8 images.
On July 10th 2011 the most spectacular Noctilucent Cloud display of the season appeared during evening twilight and remained visible all through the night as a shadow-casting type 5 display. My girlfriend and I observed and photographed the spectacle from the North Antrim coast outside Portrush where we watched in awe as the electric blue NLCs glowed above the famous 17th century ruins of Dunluce Castle. The NLCs could be seen reflecting on the calm Atlantic Ocean while csurreal Summer's night. Also included are two images of Runkerry House at dusk. One page report with 15 imagesomplex NLC whirls, bands, waves and lacunosus holes moved in real time which made for a .
On July 7th 2011 an unstable post frontal airmass associated with an unseasonal deep Atlantic low generated almost 1000 CAPE and LIs of -3 across N. Ireland in conjunction with troughs and convergence zones. The Met Office had a yellow warning issued for flooding and a severe thunderstorm watch was issued online. During the afternoon Declan O'Doherty and I intercepted the best storm of the day over the Glenshane Road with a menacing black shelf cloud with c-g lightning which knocked out the power in 40,000 homes across N. Ireland. One page report with 9 images and 1 video clip.
July 6th 2011 turned out to be a day of unexpected surprises. After the first half of the day spent chasing around the Atlantic coast in search of funnel clouds and thunderstorms I returned home during the late afternoon with nothing to show for the chase except another wasted fuel payment. On the way home I spotted several isolated cells over my home town of Maghera and within min's of arriving at my house I spotted the first of four funnel clouds within a 35 min period rotating over the Maghera-Glenshane Pass area associated with sudden multicell storm development which made the day a success. One page report with 8 images.
June 7th 2011 was the best chase day of the year when Declan O' Doherty and I intercepted a line of multicell storms over the mid Ulster area in a 900 CAPE environment which interacted with a significant convergence zone which resulted in a rotating updraught base and a beautiful funnel cloud rotating over the lush fields of Knockloughrim not far from the main Glenshane Road. The storm went on to produced several hours of lightning and delivered an intense hail storm which covered the roads like a layer of snow. A thrilling day of high rewards, good storm structure and a vortex which almost touched down as a tornado. One page report with 14 images and 2 video clips.
On May 9th 2011 N. Ireland experienced its biggest thunderstorm outbreak in years when trains of multicell storms crossed the country producing hundreds of lightning strikes in a sheared atmosphere with 1000-1200 CAPE and LIs of -4. I intercepted four major thunderstorms, three of which where over the Glenshane Pass where severe multicell storms produced an abundance of pink lightning and spectacular whale's mouth displays. The highlight was severe storm number three which I chased across Glenshane with BBC Newsline weather presenter Jackie McCann which produced regular lightning and a HP core with the worst hail downpour I have ever encountered. Unforgettable action-packed day for so early in the season. One page report with 20 images and 3 video clips.
On April 26th 2011 one hundred gorse fires broke out over N. Ireland with the largest on Glenshane Pass which lasted for hours spanning 4km in length. Sixty fire fighters from six different stations battled with the blaze on a hot afternoon and finally subdued the fire into submission. The scene was dramatic, exciting, and concerning, especially so since this major gorse fire was started deliberately. The 2011 gorse fire season has been the worst in living memory with a record breaking number of fires and emergency calls to fire crews. One page report with 15 images and one video clip.
Image report documenting the first inland thunderstorms of the 2011 season when numerous cells formed across the country during the afternoon hours. The main event was the multicell storm over N. Ireland extending for tens of miles from Maghera to the N coast with strong precip cores and periodic c-g lightning. The storm knocked out the power, triggered car alarms, and exhibited rapid rotation under the flanking area. The highlight was the view of the huge anvil against a rich blue sky. This was a fun local chase with Conor McDonald and Declan O'Doherty. One page report with 8 images and 1 video clip.
Epic night at the Co. Antrim coast on March 1st 2011 when a high speed solar wind stream hit Earth generating a G1 geomagnetic storm and long duration mid latitude aurora display. Conor McDonald and I spent hours watching the aurora over the dark Atlantic Ocean near the famous shoreline and ancient ruins of Dunluce Castle which made for an unforgettable adventure. One page report with 4 images.
Feb 14th 2011 was an eventful day which produced two exciting transient events. The first was an afternoon snow shower over Maghera which dropped snow flakes the size of tennis balls! then after dark a CME associated with an M6.6 M-class flare from AR1158 produced a beautiful aurora display which I watched from the Glenshane Pass with Conor McDonald and Declan O'Doherty. The view of the green aurora with bright moonlit snow below was a real treat making this the first significant mid latitude aurora display of 2011. One page report with 4 images and 1 video clip
The second severe cold spell within a week making this the most extreme early Winter period on record. In N. Ireland we had the worst snowfall in 25 years and an emergency weather warning issued by the Met Office due to heavy snow showers, freezing fog, widespread ice and even thundersnow. Temps fell to a new Dec record of - 18 degrees C with day time temps at sub zero values. On Dec 19th 2010 I spent the afternoon near the Grillagh River outside Maghera photographing a remarkable formation of thick hoar frost the likes of which I have never seen before. One page report with 11 images.
Third image report documenting day 14 of the severe Winter weather outbreak which affected much of Ireland and Britain. Dec 8th was the last significant day before a major thaw when I visited the NW shore of Lough Neagh at Ballyronan Marina where I was astonished to see that a large section of the Lough had completely frozen over with ice and snow for the second time within 11 months. This is quite exceptional since the last major freeze here pre 2010 was 50-60 years ago which indicates just how severe things have turned this year. One page report with 15 images.
Severe Winter weather hit much of Ireland and UK during November generating unseasonal but intense snow showers, record breaking freezing temps, ice and snow accumulations, and travel disruption. The highlight was six days and nights of thundersnow which lit up the sky over E Ireland. This report documents my experience with the epic November 26th and 27th all-night thundersnow display which I watched with awe from Glenshane Pass and Maghera some 60-70 miles from the storms themselves. This was a magical night with bright stars, moonlit snow, and flashing thunderstorms. One page report with 14 images.
November has been a very active month with no less than three Atlantic storms affecting many parts of Ireland and UK with severe gales, power failures, and flooding. Not much photogenic weather was observed until the 18th when after three days of dull skies and rain the sky cleared before sunset revealing a beautiful mammatus display under the anvil of a cell near Maghera sporting huge udders and dramatic cloud structure. One page report with 11 images.
Amazing night spent at the north coast of Co. Antrim on November 1st and 2nd watching night time thunderstorms flashing over the dark Atlantic Ocean between N. Ireland and Scotland followed by a possible severe thunderstorm which tracked along the NW and N coastal regions putting on a stunning lightning show with c-g and I-c bolts lighting up the night sky like day time while most of the country slept. This night may have produced one or even two supercell storms in that area. This report documents my 6 hour drive chasing the spectacular show making this my longest and most thrilling solo chase to date. Unfortunately this was not an image success but more of a memorable visual experience so this report mostly contains words. One page report with 11 images.
I had a great chase on Tuesday October 5th 2010 when I intercepted an organised long-lived thunderstorm in a highly sheared environment outside Coagh. The storm produced c-g lightning, loud thunder, and intense rain/hail with gusty winds as it passed through into the direction of Antrim. I chased after it and got treated to a small but well defined funnel cloud which rotated for 5 min's between Ballyronan and Toome accompanied by mammatus and double rainbow!. The lightning also blew a hole in the roof of a house in Newry, Co. Down that same afternoon. A very successful and rewarding chase day. One page report with 13 images and 1 video clip.
A 'various' account featuring images taken between Aug 21st and Sept 16th 2010 covering numerous local storm chases, heavy convective showers, flooding, rainbows, Moonbows, Moondogs, and even an encounter with an irate farmer. One page report with 14 images and 4 video clips including a 2007-2010 image highlight slide show featuring three years worth of storms, cool clouds, Moonbows, NLCs, Auroras, floods, snow, blizzards, and various day/night optical phenomena.
Summer of 2010 ended with a bang when active thunderstorms broke out over many parts of N. Ireland on Sept 22nd. I spent the entire day chasing in Maghera, Lavy, Toome, Magherafelt, Castledawson, Ballyronan and had a great view of countless high quality cells, on occasion 3 or 4 at a time which made decision making difficult. Strong inflow motion and rotation was also observed, there was even a brief night storm. Content includes a storm over Lough Neagh and distance cells while on the road, a possible small funnel cloud, and converging cells near Maghera. One page report with 17 images.
The 2010 Noctilucent Cloud season was a rather disappointing show this year however several nights do stand out as being exceptional. The highlight was the night of June 16th which produced the finest display of the Summer when Conor McDonald and I did an all-night photo shoot capturing a type 4.5 electric blue NLC display glowing above the famous illuminated Toome Bridge over the River Bann. This was a night of high photogenic reward and a majestic experience which I shall never forget. One page report with 11 images and one slide show.
August 18th was an interesting day despite several atmospheric handicaps such as CIN, lack of convergence, and wind shear. Despite this, 600-800 CAPE and LIs of -3 made for an active day in response to solar heating and a trough crossing the country which produced thunderstorms across central and E areas of N. Ireland. Declan O'Doherty and I spent the day chasing from Maghera to Ardboe on the W side of Lough Neagh and intercepted 3 storms which produced 14 rumbles of thunder in the local area which made for a fun and successful chase. One page report with 10 images.
On August 9th 2010 I chased a huge multicell thunderstorm located over the Atlantic Ocean near Portrush, Co. Antrim during the late afternoon. The cell was so large that its main updraught tower could be seen all the way from back home in Maghera. Interception took place at White Rocks beach where I watched a nasty gust front approach the beach with intense precip core which produced 5 c-g bolts over the Sea. This was followed by another storm with the remainder of the evening spent chasing along the N coast watching large convection/cells exploding over the water. The day ended with dramatic storm clouds moving inland at Portballintrae making this a very successful chase as these where the only storms to fire in NI this day. One page report with 22 images and 1 video clip.
On Wed July 21st major thunderstorms broke out across the E side of N. Ireland in response to high instability, multiple convergence zones, and a trough. I spent the day chasing to the NE of Lough Neagh in Co. Antrim where I intercepted three thunderstorms. The highlight was watching a convergence line of the biggest and most explosive convection of the year including a beautiful photogenic line of cells over the Antrim countryside with the highest cloud tops I have seen since 2009. This was a great visual and photogenic day with torrential rain, hail, flooding, and booming thunder. Two page report with 20 images and 1 video clip. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
On July 14th and 15th the best thunderstorms of the year broke out across Ireland/N. Ireland in a very unstable airmass. The results were hundreds of c-gs and funnel clouds. Unfortunately we busted badly on both days and missed the main storms, however it was not all bad. On the 14th we got treated to our most explosive convection of the year so far followed by night t-storms from the N coast and an outflow boundary, booming thunder, and torrential rain on the 15th. This report documents both days. One page report with 18 images and 1 video clip.
June 5th turned out to be our very best storm chase of the year to date. Despite being a low CAPE day there was significant convergence, moisture, and shear to develop isolated strong convection over N. Ireland. During the evening Conor McDonald and I chased and intercepted a massive thunderstorm with a Mesocyclone (rotating updraught) over Lough Neagh which was rotating for over 1 hour with numerous lowerings and funnel spin-ups. We had a perfect view from the Lough shore at the Battery Harbour where we experienced our best storm structure of the year!. Two page report with 25 images and 1 video clip. PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
One of the best severe weather events I've experienced in N. Ireland so far. On Thursday April 29th 2010 Conor McDonald and I independently experienced a multi vortex funnel/tornadic event from the rear of a large cell which arrived over the Sperrin Mountains and moved eastward across the Maghera countryside. The cell produced three areas of simultaneous violently rotating vortices which passed me at close range lasting for over 20 min's in duration. This was spectacular since no convective forecast had been issued. Two page image account with 18 images and 1 video clip - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
An extreme snow storm hit N. Ireland on March 30th/31st 2010 when an Atlantic low encountered polar air from the north which produced an epic snow storm over the Glenshane Pass where motorists experienced gale force winds, blizzards, white-outs, -30 C temps, ice storms, and huge snowdrifts. Over 300 people where trapped on this famous Pass where a rescue operation insued while thousands of homes went without electricity. This account covers the 48hrs centred on the main event when Conor McDonald and I experienced our most extreme Winter weather to date. Two page report with 27 images and 2 video clips - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
The UK/Ireland Winter of 2009/2010 has been the most severe in decades. Thanks to frigid air from the Arctic then Siberia we ended up getting almost three weeks of nasty Winter weather in the form of snow, sleet, freezing rain, freezing fog, ice days with sub zero temps, and nights which dropped to a phenomenal - 20 C. As a result many of the Rivers and Lakes in the country froze over for the first time in my life. On Sunday Jan 10th 2010 I spent the day documenting the extreme freeze over a large section of Lough Neagh at Ballyronan Marina, N. Ireland which fast became the climax of this extreme event for me. Report with 25 images and 2 video clips - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
August has been a wild month for bad weather over N. Ireland. Yet another warm front crossed over the country followed by two cold fronts due to a low pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean. The unstable airmass behind the last front was expected to produced thunderstorm activity on August 20th. After an uninspiring start the day turned into a success when I encountered a growing storm with nasty gust front over Toome followed by a second over Ballyronan Marina. Both of these produced intense rain, hail, powerful wind squalls, and lightning over the E side of the basin with a dramatic drop in temp. This was certainly a wild weather day. One page report with 18 images and 1 video clip.
July 21st 2009 turned out to be yet another action-packed storm day over N. Ireland when the latest GFS 18z run upgraded the set-up to 1000 CAPE and LI of -4. Between 18.00 - 19.30 BST I observed and photographed five multicell thunderstorms which passed over Maghera and the Sperrins from the S producing pink c-g and i-c lightning, low level bases, and intense precipitation curtains while thunder rumbled across the mountains making for one of those classic Summer Thunderstorm events. One page report with 18 images.
July 15th was yet another exciting storm day across N. Ireland with strong instability and a series of troughs and convergence zones which were expected to produce strong thunderstorms during prime heating time. The day began with a nice thunderstorm over NE Maghera followed by a chase to Ballyronan Marina where we observed a well defined funnel cloud for 15 min's duration and a nasty storm over the NW shore of Lough Neagh itself. Two page report with 30 images and 2 video clips. PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
July 14th 2009 was a great day for storms over N. Ireland with high instability and slack Sly air flow with numerous troughs and convergence zones. Wide spread storms developed during the afternoon and late evening over W and N areas of the country. During the late evening I was treated to a gorgeous line of strong multicell convection over E Maghera before sunset which produced a brief funnel cloud (not photographed) and a wall cloud for a duration of 15 - 20 min's with possible tail cloud. It was the appearance of these huge cells which made the day such a treat. One page report with 16 images and 1 video clip.
On July 4th 2009 a forecast for powerful thunderstorms was issued for N. Ireland. Tipped off by a member of the UKWW forum who observed a severe cell with overshooting top from 50 miles distant, and heading for Maghera, I headed out and watched two huge storms which delivered c-g lightning, gun shot thunder, and torrential rainfall. The 2nd storm produced a wonderful flanking line from which a white rope-shaped funnel cloud dropped into view (not imaged). After these storms a chase ensued across the country and mountains as severe convection exploded over the Sperrins in the late evening low Sun. Another great storm day in N. Ireland. One page report with 15 images and 1 video clip.
This is the 2nd image account from Monday June 15th 2009. After two T-storms over Maghera during the afternoon a calm evening followed. Before sunset Ryan McDonald and I observed a distant funnel cloud emerge from the base of a powerful cell consisting of exploding towering cumulus clouds above the countryside in the NE side of town. The funnel changed shaped constantly for 10 min's from an inverted cone to a slender tube before vanishing into the base of the cell due to inflow winds affecting its orientation. A great end to three days of action which produced 8 T-storms and 3 funnel clouds. One page report with 20 images.
Monday June 15th 2009 was the final day of a trio of storm events across N. Ireland with high instability and intense ground heating triggering showers and storms across many parts of the country. On this day I observed two thunderstorms and two funnel clouds from Maghera. I have decided to split the day into afternoon and evening accounts. This account features one of those early storms which had a nice updraught/flanking line from which dropped a short lived funnel cloud. I also seen the most severe convection in the life this day. One page report with 11 images and 1 video clip.
This is the second image account from June 14th 2009 detailing the 3rd thunderstorm I caught this day. During the late evening we intercepted an organized storm over the Ballyronan area as it approached Lough Neagh while producing multiple pink coloured c-g and I-c lightning which illuminated the green precip curtain from behind. Above this was the finest shelf cloud I have ever seen from N. Ireland sporting two tiers and of large vertical and horizontal extent. This was a day which I will never forget. One page report with 15 images and 1 video clip.
This is the second image account of five covering three days of thunderstorm action over N. Ireland. On Sunday June 14th 2009 I observed three thunderstorms which I have split into two different accounts covering the afternoon and evening events. This account covers the first two local storms of the day which produced a suspicious lowering, blue c-g lightning, and torrential rain over Maghera. One page report with 20 images and 1 video clip.
The first of five image accounts covering three days in a row of storm action over N. Ireland. June 13th produced a storm over Maghera, Slieve Gallion, followed by a funnel cloud from Draperstown with the chase ending back home in Maghera when the most electrically active storm in years arrived during the late evening with almost continuous lightning which actually killed a Sheep in close proximity to me. One page report with 25 images and 1 video clip.
May 21st 2009 was the fourth day in a row which produced thunderstorms over parts of N. Ireland. Aside from a rumble of thunder on the 20th I had missed much of the action from Maghera. During the late evening all that changed when I observed a funnel cloud drop from a wall cloud under a large cell over the NW shore of Lough Neagh from Ballyronan Marina, under difficult conditions. The funnel may even have been a waterspout at one stage. Also included are rainbow images and dramatic storm clouds at sunset which I shall never forget. Two page report with 28 images and 1 video clip. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
May 10th 2009 was a glorious sunny day over N. Ireland, and not surprisingly no convective forecast or poor weather was expected. However, a large area of vorticity formed with slow moving convective updraught towers during the afternoon exhibiting rotation. At 16.10 BST I happened to glance out my back door and observed a small funnel cloud in the E sky which lasted for a duration of 5 min's. A nice little dark inverted cone sporting obvious rotation. A wonderful surprise on such a fine day. This was my first funnel cloud sighting of 2009. One page report with 3 images.
On April 25th 2009 a long duration thunderstorm formed over Co. Antrim during the late afternoon which produced flooding, thunder, lightning, and golf ball sized hail stones. Observations and images from the Maghaberry area showed a wall cloud and a suspect Mesocyclone within the cell. During the late evening I managed to observe this cell over Lough Neagh from Ballyronan Marina when it produced lightning over the Lough before dying out after sunset. A very action packed day. One page report with 9 images and 1 video clip.
During the hours of darkness just before 20.00 UT on Saturday March 7th 2009 an intense cold front moved in over N. Ireland driven by a low pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean. The leading edge of the cold front created large convective cells which then formed into an organized line of storms called a squall line. The squall line reached severe levels when it produced brutal gusts of wind at 87mph combined with horizontal rain, hail, thunder,and lightning which continued across the country causing some localized damage. This report documents my own account of this severe event when it hit Maghera and includes the reports from others across the country. One page account with 1 video clip and 2 video stills.
The 2008 Geminid meteor shower peaked on Dec 13/14th and despite concerns that the near full Moon would hamper observations the shower turned out to be spectacular. I did a seven hour watch from three different locations in Maghera and logged 99 Geminids including a number of spectacular fireballs. An unexpected surprise caught during the session was a rare lunar Parhelic Ciricle (or Paraselenic Circle) and lunar Wegener Arcs. One page report with 9 images.
This is a two page image account with 36 images and 2 video clips covering the period between November 30th and December 1st 2008 when a spectacular triple conjunction took place in the SW evening sky. A crescent Moon joined Venus and Jupiter who where only 2 degrees apart. The following day the Moon occulted Venus. During twilight the planet emerged from behind the Moon making for a breathtaking conjunction. I managed to get clear skies on both days and imaged the event from a high location from a frosty Maghera. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
Starry nights, a bright Moon, and passing showers can all come together to create a very special and elusive phenomena called a Moonbow. During the approaching full Moon of November 2008 I spent 7 nights and 16 hours hunting for this rare sight. This report covers the period from Nov 11-12th which resulted in a good 'harvest' of lunar rainbows all captured from the Maghera countryside. One page report with 9 images.
Short image account detailing a post-Orionid meteor shower watch and photo session during the morning of Oct 22nd 2008. During two sessions, after midnight, and before dawn, I managed to observe a rich number of meteors from this shower which was producing enhanced rates despite being one day after maximum activity. The highlight was a bright meteor capture in Auriga which left an ion train in its wake. - Report with 5 images.
After several nights of planning I felt confident that Oct 15th and 16th 2008 would provide the perfect conditions to hunt for the elusive moonbow. With a waning full Moon combined with Atlantic showers the sky did not disappoint. On both nights I captured Moonbows from a location outside Maghera over looking the Sperrin Mountains. The incredible Moonbows were bright and colourful against a back drop of moonlit convection and stars. Two page report with 14 images. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
The first day of September 2008 got off to an explosive start with a risk of thunderstorms over N. Ireland. I spent much of the day imaging the action near Maghera where 4 or 5 storms arrived delivering high quality cold air convection and deadly C-G and I-C lightning and dramatic thunder, which at times was too close for comfort!. Two page report with 27 images and 1 video clip. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
Severe weather has been effecting many parts of Ireland/N. Ireland between August 11th and 16th. This came to a climax on Saturday August 16th when 24 hours of intense rainfall caused severe flooding to many areas causing major disruption and damage. Between Maghera and Tobermore the famous Moyola River experienced what is being described as 'The Great flood of 2008' by local anglers. I was at the scene to record this historical weather event. Report with 16 images and 1 video clip.
An exciting day on August 13th 2008 when a long duration thunderstorm formed over the Sperrin Mountains and slowly drifted over Maghera producing many cloud to ground strikes and intense rainfall. It also dropped three funnel clouds, one of which was large and tilted under the storm base in a horizontal position making this the best daytime thunderstorm I have seen this year to date. Two page report with 24 images and 3 video clips. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
Monday August 11th was the beginning of several days of severe weather over N. Ireland which caused severe rainfall, floods, and disruption to roads. Taking advantage of a convective outlook I headed out to the Maghera countryside hoping to catch a storm. I was not disappointed. The most impressive Gust Front I ever seen arrived over the Sperrin Mountains and formed a stunning Shelf Cloud along its leading edge. This was followed by severe torrential rain, a nasty thunderstorm, and flooding. This report documents that evening. 21 images and 1 video clip.
Second image account from August 2nd 2008 detailing another day of convective action. After a day of imaging Cbs and Cu towers I returned home. Before 19.00 BST I glanced out of my bedroom window and seen a substantial funnel cloud rotating in the eastern sky reaching half way to the ground. This account describes the day leading up to this thrilling event. Report with images 12 and 1 short video clip.
Things couldn't get better on Friday 1st August 2008 after a great partial Solar Eclipse and funnel cloud over Maghaberry. A convective outlook had been issued followed by a tornado discussion from TORRO. Later that evening I was caught off guard when the sky darkened over my home. A black menacing structure blocked out the Sun. Further observation showed that this monster cell had a huge area of rotation, wall cloud, striation rings, and inflow bands. The cell contained an obvious Mesocyclone making this a good case for a possible LP Supercell. Two page report with 24 images and 1 video clip. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
On Friday morning August 1st 2008 a partial solar eclipse was visible over N. Ireland. Despite some concerns about the weather I managed to observe the entire eclipse from ingress to egress from my home in Maghera. Furthermore John McConnell from Maghaberry, N. Ireland experienced an unexpected surprise when a funnel cloud formed near his home immediately after the eclipse. Report with 13 images and a time lapse video of the eclipse. Included are three images of the Maghaberry funnel cloud.
July 18/19th 2008 was a night of unexpected thrills. I was out doing some night time photography hoping to catch an NLC display or even a thunderstorm, however none of these exciting events took place. The sky however has a mind of its own and can present you with something unexpected and special. Between 01.30 and 03.00 BST I was fortunate to witness half a dozen very rare moonbows. These were the best I have ever seen my life with intense magnitude, colours, and even secondary and supernumerary arcs. Some twilight convection shots are also included. Report with 10 images and 1 slide show.
After a succession of hot muggy days in N. Ireland a violent thunderstorm crossed the country taking forecasters by surprise. It hit the Mid-Ulster area at 03.00 BST and produced severe c-g lightning and long duration thunder for 1.5 hours without any let-up. I was fortunate enough to have been up and observed the entire event. One page report with 4 images and 1 video clip.
Before sunset on April 27th 2008 I caught my 2nd T-storm of the 2008 season when a slow moving series of cells approached over the Sperrin Mountains from the SW. This storm produced one I-C flash and two spectacular C-G bolts and thunder less than one mile from me. This was also one of three cells which showed rotation and produced heavy rain and hail. The structure of this storm was exceptional and so was the pink and blue colours cast by the low Sun. Inflow bands where observed also. Two page report with 20 images and 1 video clip. - PAGE , PAGE 2.
The 2008 thunderstorm season got off to a good start on April 11th 2008 when I experienced my first brief thunderstorm of the year. The large cell produced the biggest hail storm I have ever witnessed to date over Maghera with stone sizes varying between frozen pea and marble in diameter which hurt on impact. This was followed by gust front over the town which produced rain for hours on end. Report with 11 images and 1 video clip.
On March 3rd 2008 a mass of cold polar air descended over the UK creating some good convection, snow and even lightning which knocked out the power many times. During the afternoon Conor Mc Donald and I observed the action from the countryside. What began as a hopeless day turned into a great success when we caught large cells, giant snow and a menacing gust front. Two page report with 16 images and a video clip nearly 10 min's in duration. - PAGE1, PAGE 2.
Short written account of my efforts to observe the February 21st total lunar eclipse during the early morning hours. This was the best eclipse from the UK until 2028. However, a cold front arrived in from the Atlantic washing the eclipse from view with cloud and rain for much of the country. Despite the odds I did manage to make several naked eye observations of the partial phase even though it was raining!. No eclipse images here unfortunately.
Images and short report of the December 21st 2007 partial occultation of the Pleiades by the waxing gibbous Moon taken on a dangerous frosty and foggy night from various locations at Cookstown and Magherafelt, all in between periods of Christmas shopping!.
Report featuring two nights of Leonid meteor observing. The first with Conor Mc Donald on the 17th during the nodal crossing from Drumlamph forest outside Maghera where 44 Leonids burnt up. The 2nd night was overcast when an outburst was expected during the rise of the radiant. A nice experience despite the low rates.
A spectacular golden Mammatus cloud display passed over Maghera on Oct 28th 2007 before sunset producing the best display I have witnessed to date. This was produced by a passing cold front which kicked off some nice convection and even several lightning flashes. My friend and I observed the entire display during its swift passage over my home. one page report with 8 images.
Report documenting 11 nights of visual observing as I followed C/2007 F1 LONEOS through the evening and morning sky until it developed twin tails and became a faint naked eye object before plunging toward the Sun in the western sky at the end of Oct 2007 when it sported a stunning Ion tail over 2 degrees long. Report features all my sketches and one image.
Report including multible images and video clip of a small white cold core funnel cloud which I encountered while walking my dog on July 21st 2007 from the Maghera countryside. Short report with 7 images and 1 video clip.
Read the report and view the images of the spectacular July 17th 2007 Funnel cloud which Conor McDonald, his girlfriend Christina and I observed from near my home at Maghera during a great thunderstorm. This was an incredible day which has steered my interest toward severe weather events. This Funnel came close to touching the ground and becoming a Tornado which resulted in a 3 day investigation by TORRO. Report with 19 images.
Report documenting our storm chase up Slieve Gallion, N. Ireland on July 16th 2007 with Conor Mc Donald and his girlfriend Christina. We got battered by pea sized hail and witnessed a wonderful day time lightning storm. View the images and watch our video footage featuring cloud to ground lightning strikes!. 24 images and 1 video clip.
Report documenting 4 nights of Perseid meteor observation. Despite poor weather and an abundance of cloud I managed to observe 94 meteors on the night of maximum on my own from home. This years display was exceptional due to its high rates and numerous fireballs which could be seen THROUGH clouds!
Conor Mc Donald, Ciara, Stephen Mc Govern, Jonathan Bingham and myself observed the entire March 3rd 2007 total eclipse of the Moon under clear sparkling skies from the summit of Slieve Gallion in the Sperrin mountain range. We observed and imaged a spectacular red Danjon 3 eclipse despite frost and bitter winds. Read the report and view the wind blown images!
Short report detailing the successful visual observation of the March 2nd 2007 Moon / Saturn close Conjunction from my back garden late on a cold frosty night. Also included are images of the event.
Article detailing my negative and successful observations, sketches and images of great comet C/2006 P1 Mc Naught from N. Ireland with Conor Mc Donald and my extensive solo watches while battling the worst cloudy weather that I have encountered as an observer. I managed to observe the brightest comet in 42 years on 4 occasions. Twice in the evening sky and once in the morning sky followed by a brief but positive sighting of the comet's tail striations above the horizon while the comet itself was in the southern hemisphere! Also included is a link to my extensive nightskyhunter comet Mc Naught GALLERY.
Incredible Armageddon-style low level Mammatus display, gold in colour, and menacing in appearance as it passed over my home on December 1st 2006 before sunset. This was a beauty. Short report with 13 images.
Observing report documenting two observing sessions covering the traditional Leonid peak on Nov 17th and outburst on Nov 19th from a dark country location outside Maghera with John Mc Connell, Conor Mc Donald and Jonathan Bingham. We logged 228 meteors and obtained imagery of a spectacular mag - 11 fireball with smoke train. Read the report to find out what happened!
A fabulous all night observing session on October 28/29th with Conor Mc Donald, John Mc Connell and myself which took place at my home in Maghera. The session began with a comet, peaked with a fireball plus Gegenschein and ended with a count of 74 meteors before dawn!
Article documenting 5 nights of Orionid meteor action. Despite clouds many meteors were seen along with several impressive borderline fireballs.
A superb display of Mammatus clouds over Maghera on September 18th 2006 in the NE sky at 19.00 BST. Short account with 8 images.
A beautiful partial lunar eclipse complete with umbral shadow after sunset. Observing session with Conor Mc Donald complete with eclipse images.
Observing session with the EAAS on April 2nd 2005 which took place in my back garden.
Great all night observing session which took place in my back garden - deep sky, planets and Comet Observing.
Great crystal clear night with 59 meteors observed and 1 borderline fireball. Galaxies and comet 73P/ SW 3 on show.
Perseid 2006 meteor shower report spanning 5 nights of action documenting myself and Conor Mc Donald's solo meteor hunt and maximum night with the EAAS at Killylane.
March 3rd 2006 MM with the EAAS during a beautiful crystal clear night that was cut short by heavy snow showers - observing at its coldest.
A splendid partial solar eclipse observed from my own backyard with 3 other observers.
Visual report of C/2004 Q2 Machholz near its best in January 12/13th 2005 from my back garden during a crisp mid winter continuous comet observing run with Conor Mc Donald.
A selection of visual observations of the fragmenting comet 73P SW3 fragments C and B from March 28th - May 16th 2006 and of C/2006 A1 Pojmanski.
A selection of visual observations documenting new comet C/2006 A1 Pojmanski from February 27th - April 4th 2006.
Brief descriptions of the 30 + NLC displays I observed between May - July 2006 in the form of extracts from the EAAS forum.
Report with images featuring how I refurbished and customized by Meade 16" F/4.5 dobsonian reflector. This involved a new paint job, relocation of finderscope and telrad, and cleaning the primary and secondary mirrors. A fun project which took place in my garage along with Conor Mc Donald.
A brief selection of visual observations of naked eye comet Q2 Machholz from December 1st - January 5th 2004.