Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Early morning aurora borealis over Ireland

I have a confession to make. Something to own up to. Something I'm ashamed of. It's difficult for me to open up in front of the whole world (or more like the 50 people who will visit this sad blog today) and tell you my innermost secrets. But here goes . . .


An aurora I photographed from my QTH in 2003
Never have been. Always found it tough getting out of the old scratcher in the mornings. It can take me a good while to wake up too. And in that period between getting out of bed and waking up, there is one warning for all of those around me: "Don't kick the bear!"

So when my phone beeps (loudly) at 4.47am, with me entranced in some wild dream (probably about working a pile-up into Oceania on 10m HI!) I was startled beyond silly. I thought, "who the heck is texting me at this ungodly hour?" Mind you, the auld eyes were not exactly wide open and I had to squint like a geriatric monkey to see the numerals on the clock. Yes, 4:47. I was right, it was that hour between early morning and slightly later early morning. Otherwise known as the "Do Not Disturb" hour.

It turns out that the text message was from a well known insomniac at Astronomy Ireland. He was texting me to let me know that he was standing staring up at an aurora borealis display in Dublin. "Great, sounds lovely," says I to myself before turning over. The bed was nice and cosy and I was fit for a few more hours' sleep. It was about five minutes before the information actually sank in. "There's an aurora," I says to myself before leaping up in the bed.

An aurora means two things for someone like me. (1) There's some nice photos to be got and (2) there might be some skip on 2 metres. It was another ten minutes before I decided to brave the cold and actually get out of the bed. But rather than go to the trouble of getting dressed and going outside, I stumbled to the window, opened the blind, opened up the window and looked out. I could see some stars and some clouds but no aurora. So I closed the window and went over to shack B (yes, the "B"edroom shack) and turned on 2 metres and could hear nothing at all.

So the bed-loving animal in me decided that this whole aurora thing shouldn't disturb me any longer and went back to sleep. Not sure I regret it that much. I was too tired to sit at a radio and too comfortable to be getting dressed and looking for camera equipment to take out into the garden.

But it's a promising sign. It's six years since I last saw an aurora display. The sun was pretty dead in 2008 and 2009, and not much better in 2010. Now, in 2011, it's finally showing signs of awakening from its slumber. Maybe the sun, like me, is a bit fond of the bed . . .

1 comment:

  1. Hello Anthony, so unfortunate you didn't spot the aurora. Have you ever worked aurora on 10m (11m) ? I did....a nice experience. So far I only saw aurora once here. 73, Bas


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