Letter | Published:

The Aurora Borealis of Nov. 9 and 10

Nature volume 5, page 44 | Download Citation



THERE have been two magnificent auroral displays on the nights of the 9th and 10th inst. That on the 9th commenced at 10 o'clock, and continued with little interruption until 12.45; and last night from 9.40 until 12 o'clock. Both displays were in the north and north-west, and at times the streamers reached the zenith, but I did not observe them to pass beyond that point. The colours were varied; at one time of a beautiful crimson, at another a greenish white. Last night's display was the most interesting, but not so brilliant as that of the previous night. The aurora made its first appearance by an undefined redness in the north; it then gradually developed into a crimson, and assumed the shape of a vertical pillar, the upper part tapering to a clearly defined point, within a few degrees of the zenith. It remained in this shape and position for two minutes, and then faded away. At 10.15 there appeared, at about 10 degrees above the horizon, a peculiar lightness, like the edge of a dark horizontal cloud illuminated by the hidden moon, but I could distinctly discern some stars below the illuminated stratum, which proves that the cloud was transparent; the stars could not, however, be seen through the lightness. At 10.40 there were three distinct streamers shooting up from this light, emanating from separate parts, but all in the north and north-west. They then assumed an easterly movement, the right hand streamer before disappearing being in the north-east. The centre one of these was of a very light colour, approaching a faint or whitish green; the others were crimson. At 11 o'clock I saw an exceedingly brilliant patch undefined in the north-east; by this time some clouds, stratified horizontally, rose from the northern horizon and passed into the light part of the heavens, which seemed to influence the display by intensifying the streamers, which were shooting up, at this time, to the zenith. At 11.30 I saw six beams start across east and west, of a whitish colour with dark spaces between, and the southern one in the zenith. The northern streamer now disappeared, but the auroral twilight was still visible, although gradually fading, and by 12 o'clock all was darkness. I did not continue my observation beyond this hour, the temperature not being conducive to personal comfort.

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  1. 43, Red Lion Street, Nov. 11

  2. Nov. 13


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