Tag Archives: Weir

Chasing Aurora in the Convertible Aurora Ship

After the long bright summer skies, we finally have darkness again and with the increased solar activity, it was only a matter of time before the Northern Lights would return to Northumberland.

This wasn’t the first time I’d seen the Northern Lights from Northumberland. I photographed the Aurora back on the 10th March 2011 at Lindisfarne, not long after my amazing Irish Aurora experience.

Lindisfarne causeway Aurora featuring yours truly 10-03-11

This time things were just slightly more fun with the addition of the Aurora-chasing convertible warp ship. It can transport two persons and camera equipment at high warp.

The Aurora Ship docked at Lindisfarne Causeway 26-09-11

I was aware there might be a possiblity of a severe geomagnetic storm following three CME eruptions from the Sun. But it wasn’t until around 17:00 that evening I really fully believed that there would be a chance of viewing the Northern Lights from the Northeast.

I checked all my available data and everything added up so I called my co-pilot, friend and colleague Patrick Hussey, and we launched the Aurora Ship up the A1 at high speed (within the legal limit, of course).

I decided to head for a place called Howick to do the first check and see if we had any Aurora in the sky. As soon as we pulled up, the sky to the North was bright with a tint of green but we had heavy cloud obstructing the view.

I set the camera up on a tripod and took an exposure of around 8 seconds. This confirmed the Northern Lights were out to play. We got straight back in the Aurora Ship and headed further north. We pulled up at Bamburgh  despite the large amount of light pollution from the village and castle, the Aurora was building in strength and structure, so it was well worth a few photographs before setting off to the next location.

Northern Lights Bamburgh Beach 26-09-11

Northern Lights with the Aurora Ship Bamburgh 26-09-11

The next stop was just slightly further North at Budle Bay. The light pollution was much more under control, we could even see the Milky Way!

The Milky Way with some added lens flare supplied by the Aurora Ship's particle sensors.

After viewing the Aurora here for around 20 minutes, I decided we needed a clear view North and the best and closest place for that is Lindisfarne Causeway.

After a cracking little flight in the Aurora Ship, we arrived not knowing where the tide would be. Amazingly, the tide was out so we had a safe crossing to Holy Island. We parked up about halfway across the Causeway and set up the camera.

By now the Aurora was very bright and clearly visible with structure and an array of colours. I took some comedy photographs of the Aurora Ship but while doing this, the sky ignited.

What was already bright visible Aurora became insane with large curtains of light falling from the sky! It was quite a sight to see such a display from Northumberland and I was so happy I had followed my heart and belief that we would see the lights that night. The insane display didn’t last long, probably only 5 minutes, before it settled and faded away to just a slight green hum in the sky.

Northern Lights building in strength at Budle Bay 26-09-11

The Climax of the evening with a large array of colours and curtains of light 26-09-11

After the epic display 26-09-11

Now for the science bit. | © Tromsø Geophysical Observatory

As it’s quite rare to have such powerful displays of the Northern Lights in England, my images were published by major UK papers including The Sun, The Mirror, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, and online publications including Spaceweather &  National Geographic.

I will be taking my images to Jack Lowe Studio were he will be making a series of fine prints that will be available to purchase on my new website. It should be live over the next few months.

In the meantime, should you want to order a print or talk about licensing, please contact me direct.

If you live in the North East and want the chance to see the Aurora, feel free to follow me on twitter and check now and again. If it’s happening I will be talking / tweeting about it.