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Aurora in Slovenia

October 30/31, 2003



In the last week of October, three giant sunspot groups (NOAA 10484, 486, 488) unleashed a number of powerful X-class flares. On October 28 an enormous X17.2 flare erupted from 486, followed by a huge X10.0 flare only 36 hours later. Both flares sent Earthwards very fast CMEs with speeds in excess of 2000 km/s. They triggered a very strong geomagnetic storm that reached G5 levels and lasted well over two days. Planetary A index reached a peak value of 192. Poor weather prevented observations during the first night of the storm, but it improved during the second night. Very active aurora was observed from 21h UT onwards in two waves of intense activity. In fact, the period of observations covers the period of the highest activity, when Kp index reached 9. The first wave coincided with a -35 nT drop in IMF, with intense red aurora reaching almost to the zenith and a greenish arc lower on the horizon. Another, slightly less intense wave came at 00:45 UT with intense red glows reaching 50 degrees high, forming pillars and rays. You can find individual reports and photos below.

If you also observed the aurora from Slovenia, please send a report by e-mail!


Photographs from Slovenska Bistrica, Slovenia (N46.38, E15.52)
by Javor Kac using 37-mm f/2.8 lens and Fuji 400 film

23:58 UT .. 60 sec

00:42 UT .. 30 sec

00:43 UT .. 25 sec

00:44 UT .. 30 sec

00:45 UT .. 30 sec

00:46 UT .. 20 sec

00:47 UT .. 30 sec

00:49 UT .. 35 sec

00:50 UT .. 30 sec

00:51 UT .. 30 sec

00:52 UT .. 20 sec

00:56 UT .. 60 sec

00:58 UT .. 60 sec

01:01 UT .. 30 sec

01:07 UT .. 20 sec

01:13 UT .. 60 sec

Photographs from Kamnica, Slovenia (N45.75 E15.75)
by Jure Zakrajsek using 28-mm f/3.3 lens and Fuji 100 film

21:30 UT .. 30 sec

21:32 UT .. 30 sec

21:35 UT .. 60 sec

21:45 UT .. 60 sec

22:11 UT .. 60 sec

22:12 UT .. 30 sec


28-mm f/2 lens and Fuji 800 film

22:20 UT .. 30 sec

22:21 UT .. 30 sec

23:26 UT .. 30 sec

00:41 UT .. 30 sec

00:42 UT .. 15 sec

00:44 UT .. 15 sec

00:45 UT .. 15 sec

00:46 UT .. 15 sec

00:46 UT .. 15 sec

00:47 UT .. 15 sec

00:49 UT .. 30 sec

00:51 UT .. 30 sec

00:52 UT .. 30 sec

00:53 UT .. 15 sec

01:23 UT .. 120 sec

01:26 UT .. 120 sec


Individual reports
Location: Velenje (N46.37,E15.11)
UTC Time and Date: 30.10.2003 - 21:05 (5 hours 30 minutes)
Observer: Jure Atanackov
Limiting magnitude: +6.2
Light pollution: moderate
Cloudiness: 0%
Limiting magnitude at the location of aurora: ca +2.0
Auroral activity: high
Elevation of activity: 80 degrees
Types of activity:
(diffuse glow) (discrete arcs) (rays) (colour variations) (localized pulsations) (wave-like pulsations)
Comments: Aurora came in two waves. First at 21:05 UTC, second at 00:35 UTC. Highest activity at the beginning of observation. Intense red patch, possibly some ray structure in NW. Up to 80 degrees high in NW, 60 due N, 50 NE and E. White-greenish arc up to 25 degrees high along the horizon. Very high activity. Then, ater 22:15UTC activity dropped, but still whitsh arc up to 25 degrees high and localised patches of red diffuse glow varying from very faint to bright. Continued so, with patches up to 50 degrees high until 22:20 UTC, then clouded over. Cleared up by 23:15 UTC with aurora still visible as a faint reddish glow up to 45 degrees high. Activity dropped off, until at 00:10 UTC there was no visible activity. The second wave (very strong, but not quite as strong as the first one) hit at 00:35 UTC, with intense red glow reaching 50 degrees high. Rays and pillars. Glow stretches all the way from east to west. Wave-like pulsations could be seen, with aurora reaching 50 degrees up, then weakening a bit and receeding, then again intensifying and reaching up. Strong activity until 01:10 UTC, then dropped off. No activity was seen at 02:35 UTC.
Location: Slovenska Bistrica (N46.38, E15.52) UTC Time and Date: 30.10.2003 - 22:20 (3 hours 10 minutes) Observer: Javor Kac Limiting magnitude: +5.8 Light pollution: moderate Cloudiness: 0% Limiting magnitude at the location of aurora: +3 to +4 Auroral activity: high Elevation of activity: 50 degrees Types of activity:
(diffuse glow) (discrete arcs) (rays) (localized pulsations)
Comments: I first observed red auroral glow in 50% clouded sky. The aurora was visible from 22:20 UT until I was clouded at 22:42 UT. It partially cleared again at 23:25 UT and there was a faint red auroral glow in the N up to 25 degrees high that became invisible at 00:00 UT. The second wave of activity was much more intense. When I looked out at 00:35 UT I saw a very bright red aurora in the W. At that time aurora covered about 130 degrees on the horizon from W to NE up to 45 degrees high. In a few minutes there were multiple ray structures, some pulsations and a white arc low over the horizon were observed. The strong activity lasted until about 02:10 UT. Some red glow was stil present at that time.
Location: Kamnica, Slovenia (N45.75 E15.75) UTC Time and Date: 30.10.2003 - 21:10 (5 hours 30 minutes) Observer: Jure Zakrajsek Dimmest Stars Visible: 3rd to 4th Mag. Light pollution: high Cloudiness: 0% Auroral activity: moderate Elevation of activity: 50 degrees Types of activity:
(diffuse glow) (rays) (localized pulsations)
Comments: I was out all night. First noticed Aurora at 21:10UTC with very high activity, strong red glow on NW horizon some 50-60 deg high! Than it slowly vanished away. The next 2h were quiet, some red glow could be seen in the N direction, but hard to see in the light poluted area where im living. The next shock was around 00:30 - 01:00 Strong RED glow with some Rays formimg and dissapiering in NW-N-NE direction. Some rays even 60 or mor degrees high! Realy beautiful!
Location: Mojstrana, Slovenia (N46.46 E13.94) UTC Time and Date: 30.10.2003 - 21:10 (1 hour 30 minutes) Observer: Goran Ilic Limiting magnitude: +6.5 Light pollution: low Cloudiness: 0% Auroral activity: high Elevation of activity: 50 degrees Types of activity:
(diffuse glow) (rays)
Comments: Bright red aurora between Altair and Albireo reaching as high as the star Deneb. Another glow from N to E up to the altitude of Polaris. The aurora was brightest between 21:10 and 21:20 UT.
Location: Grize (N46.23, E15.15) UTC Time and Date: 30.10.2003 - 23:15 (1 hour 40 minutes) Observer: Tomi Laptos Limiting magnitude: +6.0 Light pollution: low Cloudiness: first 95%, later 5% Auroral activity: high Elevation of activity: 75 degrees Types of activity:
(diffuse glow) (discrete arcs) (colour variations) (wave-like pulsations)
Comments: Aurora must have come in two waves, of which the first I was unable to determine when it started, since the cloudiness was high. However, the first wave was visible at 23:15-23:20 UTC, then the cloudes moved on again. The second wave came at 00:35 UTC, the cloudiness fell to 5%, and some fog covered the light pollution of the lower valley. Activity was high, and lasted for 15 minutes, the it slowly stopped. The sight was really beautiful and worth catching a cold.

The text and photos on this page are © 2003 by MBK Team.

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