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LATEST SKY EVENTS

August 1st 2022

Rare Structured Supercell Thunderstorm Over Lough Foyle! - NEW REPORT

Lough Foyle Supercell Thunderstorm Report

July 24th 2022 turned out to be a dream storm chase when a severe thunderstorm outlook was issued by CW with 900 CAPE, LIs of -3 and 40 knots DLS. I teamed up with chaser Colleen Webb, we targeted the Co. Antrim storms which turned out to be a grey mess. We were about to give up when through several chance decisions we made our way to the north coast where better solar heating and discrete cells were rapidly forming. We arrived at Gortmore Viewing Point to be greeted by a rare classic supercell thunderstorm over the W side of Lough Foyle. The structure was amazing with mesocyclone, striation rings, vault, wall cloud, RFD slot and accompanied by thunder and lightning. After 15 years chasing I finally captured a structured surface based supercell over N. Ireland! One page report with 26 images and 2 video clips. - REPORT.

Chase Frustrations, Warm Cloud Tops Vs Strong Shear, Funnel Cloud & Cruise Ship With Storm Clouds - NEW REPORT

June Bust Storm Chasing

Don't get me started on the Summer of 2022. At the time of writing this has been the worst Summer I have ever experienced with countless grey days, overcast nights, missed NLCs and very few thunderstorms, and the convective set-ups we did get were either cap busts or had no weak CAPE. June has turned out to be very uneventful and extremely frustrating, that being said I still chased what I could. This report covers several warm sector capped high shear chases, a surprise funnel cloud (4th of the season) with perhaps the most photogenic catch being a storm gust front over a cruise ship on Lough Foyle (29th & 30th). One page report with 19 images. - REPORT.

Spectacular Cirrus Sunset Over Cookstown - NEW REPORT

Beautiful Cirrus Sunset Report

June 2022 has been a very uneventful month with no storms of value, Autumn-like weather, cloudy nights and a lot of grey skies. On the 18th a clearing front during the late evening suddenly unveiled a dramatic sunset which took many people by surprise. The sun appeared in a clearance and lit up a formation of very swift-moving high level cirrus clouds illuminated red, orange and yellow by the sunset afterglow. The cirrus bands covered the entire sky with beautiful colours and structures where they converged in the SW & NE sky sectors. With no time to waste I ran into a field with the DSLR and took these images from Cookstown. One page report with images and 1 video clip. - REPORT.

Astro Talk At OM Dark Sky Park - Thanks!

I would like to thank everyone who attended my presentation at OM Dark Sky Park & Observatory in Davagh Forest on Saturday June 25th. I was delighted with the turn out and support from those who attended, it really was great to see such an interest in the night sky and photography, I hope you may have learned a thing or two along the way and that it will inspire you to look up and enjoy the majesty of the stars and perhaps ignite the spark for what could be a life long passion.

We covered quite a bit, from my personal story, to lenses, tripods, mounts, cameras, settings, reducing vibrations, getting focused, with tips and tricks. We also covered Astronomical and Meteorological subjects such as the Milky Way, shooting star trails, Noctilucent Clouds, great Comets, the Aurora and planet conjunctions along with a few personal stories related to these subjects. I would also like to thank the staff at OM for their fabulous work and for making the day a success. For anyone who attended, I have a copy of the power point presentation available, if you would like to have it to read at home simply drop me an email. Here are a few images, thanks to Roisin McKenna and Nigel McFarland for taking these.

You can see my very first digital camera on display (silver)

If you couldn't make the presentation then don't worry as we are planning further talks at OM in the future, once again, thank you very much for your interest and support.

Huge Multicell Thunderstorm With 40 knots Shear Impacts The Sperrins - NEW REPORT

Sperrrins Multicell Report

May 16th brought ripe conditions for strong storms across N. Ireland with 1000j/kg of CAPE, LIs -4 and 40 knots deep layer shear. After a clearing front temps reached 20c which triggered the onset of rapid convection. By early afternoon a huge thunderstorm had developed over the Sperrins which impacted the Mid-Ulster area with flash flooding, prolific lightning knocking power out, it was the largest multicell storm in years. I intercepted the storm on the Omagh rd and chased it E, the storm exhibited dramatic storm clouds, a menacing gust front and the best whale's mouth I've ever seen. One page report with 21 images and 1 video clip. - REPORT.

Large Funnel Cloud/Possible Tornado Near Cookstown - NEW REPORT

Cookstown Tornado

On May 1st 2022 nothing exciting was expected in the skies. By late morning and quite by chance I had spotted dark storm clouds rotating over the fields east of Cookstown in Co. Tyrone. My Wife and I where driving through town and as we emerged through a curtain of rain we were shocked by the presence of a fully formed funnel cloud. The funnel was massive and at fairly close range in the form of a dark grey vertical cylinder spinning over the fields at the edge of town, we were in complete disbelief. I managed to snap a few images with my mobile phone before we lost it from view behind trees then the vortex vanished into thin air. Based on it's close proximity to the ground this may have been a tornado! One page report with 6 images and 1 video clip. - REPORT.

HP Sunsets, Lough Fea Funnel Cloud & Ballintoy Sea Stacks Aurora Borealis - NEW REPORT

Ballintoy Sea Stacks Aurora

March 2022 turned out to be a pleasant and active month for sky action and perfect Spring weather thanks to strong high pressure which brought fine sunny days and clear nights. HP haze and Saharan dust resulted in beautiful sunsets when the solar disk was visible to the naked eye. Large sunspots also appeared on the sun with M-class flares unfurling CMEs. I also captured a surprise funnel cloud from Lough Fea which lasted for over 20 min's making it the longest duration vortex I've ever seen. The climax of this month was the all-night aurora watch at Ballintoy with Paul Martin on the 31st when we got rewarded with a photogenic G1 aurora during the pre-dawn hours in perfect dark skies from the famous sea stacks. One page report with 16 images and 1 video clip. - REPORT.

New Nightskyhunter Website Galleries! - VIEW

Please check out the home page and scroll down. I've made a brand bew range of image galleries covering a broad range of sky and nature subjects using jalbum. Simply click on the thumbnail of the subject of your choice then browse the new galleries. They are compatible with PCs, lap tops and mobile phones. I have spent months working on these galleries and uploading my best and favourite images for viewing. I'm still fine tuning and editing older images to be included, however for the most part I'm delighted to have these new galleries on the site. Why not have a look and see for yourself, thanks.

N. Ireland Storm Chasing Image Reports - Archive

N. Ireland Storm Chasing Image Reports

Astronomy is not the only subject I'm interested in, check out my N. Ireland Storm Chasing section and view the chase reports and images which detail not only storms but other phenomena such as a moonbows, noctilucent clouds, aurora displays and exciting nature related photo shoots.

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Martin McKenna

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