Updated March 7th 2014
The finest aurora display I have witnessed in over a decade announced itself in the evening sky after sunset on Feb 27th 2014 when a CME delivered a glancing blow which generated a stunning G2 geomagnetic storm. The aurora almost reached the zenith with striking green and red colours with extremely rare orange rays which gave the impression of a crimson veil or glowing fire in the sky, even the frost on the ground was glowing red. This report documents in detail the events leading up to this storm beginning with a storm chase to the Antrim coast then the rapid dash south where I met up with Paul Martin and Jude Browne at Beaghmore stone circles and Lough Fea in Co. Tyrone where we watched in awe as the aurora went into outburst, this was a night we will never forget. One page report with 14 images. - REPORT.
Epic 13 hour Winter photo shoot with Paul Martin documenting beautiful moonlit snow scenes on Glenshane Pass where we photographed an old derelict stone house covered in glorious moonlit snow with stars accompanied by a 5ft snow drift. This was followed by an adventure through the stunning snow-covered Coleraine Road outside Maghera then ending the night shooting the famous Swatragh church and graveyard covered in magical pre-dawn snow. Two page report with 31 images & 1 video clip. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2
I was in Castlerock today at the north coast delivering prints and doing a little storm chasing because early season inland and coastal showers of hail and thunder were forecast with over 400 CAPE, LIs of -1, and very cold air aloft in conjunction with a series of troughs moving in from the SW however capping, weak solar heating, and lack of forcing stopped any inland cell growth however there were an abundance of squally showers impacting the country nonetheless which warranted observation. I encountered one of these while walking on Castlerock beach, the local wind gusts became enhanced by the outflow (downdraught) from this convective shower located over the ocean.
Strong cold air blasted the shoreline picking up sand particles which swept across the beach at high speed like a full-on sand storm which was fantastic to watch, here's one shot taken in the middle of the action, I had to make sure my back was to the wind to reduce the chances of sand getting inside the camera which could cause serious damage.
No more storms after that however nature always presents you with something nice if you are patient and prepared to wait around, this horse on Benone beach did the trick.
Video clip taken in the middle of the blowing sand which really does the experience justice, choose HD mode and turn your volume up for maximum impact.
Astronomy is not the only subject I am interested in. One other such area is severe weather which will be playing a major role on nightskyhunter from now on in conjunction with my other astronomical pursuits. Check out my new 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 and aurora displays.