I wanted to share a captivating experience from my recent venture into the Northern Lights phenomenon, a story that unfolded on the evening of November 5th, continuing into the early hours of the 6th. On that particular night, at around 7 pm, fueled by anticipation, I embarked on a Northern Lights expedition in the enchanting area of Fergus, accompanied by a fellow enthusiast.
Despite the challenging cloud cover, the KP index hinted at a promising show with a reading of more than 5 and a visibility of 3%. Undeterred by the cloudy obstacle, I made multiple attempts to capture the elusive lights, testing my luck against the whims of nature. However, my efforts seemed thwarted as the clouds persisted.
As the night progressed, around 11:45 pm to 12:15 am, a twist of fate awaited me. Miraculously, a break in the clouds revealed a patch of clear sky adorned with stars, including the dazzling Venus. Swiftly seizing the opportunity, I readied my camera, initially hoping to capture phenomena akin to my previous encounter with STEVE on September 18th. To my astonishment, what unfolded before me transcended my expectations. Instead of the anticipated celestial display, a mesmerizing reddish-magenta patch manifested itself against the night canvas. Intrigued and captivated, I realized I was witnessing something extraordinary—something beyond the conventional Northern Lights imagery. With my Sony A7III, set at 30 seconds exposure, ISO 4000, and aperture 4.5, I managed to immortalize this rare celestial occurrence through approximately 10 photographs. Subsequently, my curiosity led me to discover that what I had witnessed was none other than the elusive SAR Arc, a phenomenon rarely associated with the Northern Lights. The SAR was visible for nearly 30 minutes and after that it started fading.
What are SAR ARCs?
SARs are bright red arcs in the sky that show up when there are big geomagnetic storms. They might seem like auroras, but they're not quite the same. Auroras happen when space particles hit the air, making it light up, like an old color TV. SARs happen in a different way. They signal that heat energy is slipping into the upper atmosphere from Earth's ring current system.
Published in PetaPixel: https://petapixel.com/2023/11/16/photographer-captures-rare-sar-arc-a-patch-of-red-light-in-the-sky/