Thursday, 19 March 2015

Sleepless in Skye

It did prove quite a long night's vigil on Tuesday night / Wednesday morning, but it was worth it because we did see the Northern lights eventually.   In the evening high cloud obliterated the Northern night sky as the forecast Kp from the Kjell Henriksen Observatory in Svalbard, remained tantalisingly at 9 (on a scale of 1 to 10)   As the night wore on, I dozed off in my chair, but woke up to find the sky quite bright, as if moonlit, and most of the cloud gone.   The aurora light show was just beginning, the time being 01.30 am.   By then the Kp forecast had fallen to 7 and with the naked eye the colours were muted, yet distinct beams could be seen, brightening and fading.   The camera on a long exposure enhanced the colours, green and purple in the main.  The whole show lasted around an hour - I found that whisky keeps the cold away - and towards the end the sky seemed to shimmer and sparkle like sunlight reflecting off waves in the sea.

Daytime and yawning whole otter family made an appearance in bright sunshine, fishing in Loch Ainort at low tide. There is ample food available, but identification of what the otters are eating is difficult when most fish are eaten in the water.   What is apparent though is that they come to the rocks with scorpionfish, almost without exception, probably because they are spiny and awkward to deal with.


The eclipse next; my wife has got a colander ready as a super pin-hole.  Unfortunately the forecast is for cloud tomorrow morning.

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