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Aurora Alert Scotland 11th May 2024

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We’ve had some amazing images of the Aurora Borealis over the years and we’ve posted some of these below.

If you’re thinking of entering this year’s competition then there’s rare opportunity to catch the Aurora Borealis. Tonight (11th May 2024) it is forecast that the earth will experience an extreme geomagnetic storm hit and clear skies across much of the uk – fingers crossed, so there is a very good chance of capturing the northern lights.

When can you see the northern lights tonight?

©John Graham – aurora over fishing station bothy Clachtoll

At this time of year in Scotland, we are blessed with long daylight hours and typically, it doesn’t get dark till around 11pm. Even then there is still some light in the northern skies and depending how far north you are, it may not get really dark till after midnight, typically around 12.30am-1.30am.

The good news is that the geomagnetic storm is forecast to be in the strong range so you should have plenty of time to see the display.

Whilst the forecast for tonight is good, bear in mind that the activity and movement is unpredictable so youn should be scanning the skies to look for the different colours and patterns and different places and different times.

©Mark Appleton

How to capture the northern lights

Presuming that you have a modern digital camera, and you’ve never done night photography before, you should be able to capture them in most cases on your camera’s auto setting.

If the aurora is bright and actively moving, a shutter speed of 5-10 seconds should give results. If it is slow then try 10-20 seconds and if it is faint, a longer exposure of a round 25-30 seconds will be required.

Try experimenting with the ISO. At higher ISOs you’ll benefit from shorter exposures but more grainy images. At lower ISOs, you’ll need a longer exposure but you’ll benefit from cleaner, grain free images.

The aurora is predicted to last quite a long time so you should be able to capture a lot of images

If you’re using a mobile phone, you may need to test various settings and but if you have a more up to date phone like one of the newer iPhone models, you can switch to the inbuilt night mode. Some phone may automatically switch to night mode so play around and have some fun.

©Kevin Roberts – Aurora over St Abbs Lighthouse
©Craig McDiarmid – Northern lights over Stac Pollaidh

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