Letter | Published:

The Aurora of November 23, 1894

Naturevolume 51page390 (1895) | Download Citation



MAKING the necessary allowances for increased apparent luminosities of bright streaks, or of layers of light in the atmosphere, by the foreshortening effects of end-on, and of edge-presentations, the observations at Dingwall and in Dumfriesshire of the aurora of November 23 last, scarcely seem to recount very much which was not at the two places, at least partially, a fairly comparable and nearly contemporaneous description of the same phenomena. The first-formed light-band of the glow was very strong at Dingwall from the east to west, a little southward from the zenith, until 7.30 p.m., when with the usual drift of such displays to southwards, it became less prominent there than the approaching canopy of streamers which supervened, drifting up from the north-eastern sky in rear of it. But it assumed at the same time increasing prominency in Dumfriesshire (150 miles south of Dingwall), where between 7.30 p.m. and 8 p.m., it passed overhead in the shape of detached patches of light, a form which the belt was also seen to assume and to break up into, in a slow extinction stage at Slough, in that interval. The display of streamers rising from a large tract of light-mist approaching Dingwall from the northward and increasing constantly in lustre at 7.30 p.m., did not extend far south of Dingwall before it faded out soon afterwards; and being (as it was seen at Slough) a dense local discharge of them, its corona of brightly-foreshortened beams overhead would naturally be a very impressive sight at Dingwall, although from a position 150 miles distant in Dumfriesshire, the broadside aspect of the short outbreak, seen from afar, instead of from underneath, would only have the appearance of a sheaf of coloured light projected up from the usual flat streamer-base, neither very wide nor extraordinarily lofty, but of the massive berg-like form, which was its description at Slough, not unfrequently noticeable in rather strong auroras; and it may even have been quite easily hidden from view entirely at Tynron, although a clear horizon in the north near Slough allowed its observation there, by trees or by other obstructions in the landscape.

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