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Auroral Display on February 3

Nature volume 139, page 277 (13 February 1937) | Download Citation



REPORTS from various observers in Yorkshire and south Lancashire, who witnessed a display of the aurora borealis in the evening of February 3 last, have appeared in the Yorkshire Post. The aurora, which was evidently a striking phenomenon to those favoured with a clear sky, began about 18h 30m and lasted for an hour. One observer at Bradford noted a broad band of red passing overhead from east to west. On inquiry at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, it was stated that a magnetic disturbance, which could be associated with this aurora, had been recorded at the Abinger magnetic station. The disturbance began suddenly on February 2 at 23J1 5m U.T., and within a few hours a range of 220y in horizontal force had been registered. The disturbance then died down, but was renewed between 17h and 22h on February 3; a typical movement (associated with auroras) in declination occurred about 19h with a range of f °, the range in horizontal force being 190y. At the commencement of the magnetic disturbance on Feb. 2d 23h, the centre of the large sunspot, reported on p. 228 of NATURE of February 6, was about 40° west of the sun's central meridian and the following extremity of the spot about 32° west. A statistical analysis made at Greenwich of big sunspots and associated magnetic storms shows that spots of the size of the recent one are associated, in about two out of three cases, with either a large or a small magnetic storm, occurring on the average about 1J days after the central meridian passage of the spot. It may be added that 27 days (or a solar synodic rotation) before the aurora on February 3, the Abinger magnetic traces at about 19|h on January 7 show a movement distinctive of auroral activity. An observer at the Saltburn Coastguard Station who saw the aurora on February 3 is reported by the Yorkshire Post as having stated that he “saw the lights a month ago”.

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