Sky at Night presenter
As well as curating our 17-page Sky Guide as usual (page 49) Pete reveals how to give your astrophotos scientific value.
Atmospheric phenomena sit on the boundary between meteorology and astronomy. Though some effects, such as ice halos and rainbows, are obviously more a part of Earth’s climate, observing them still contributes to the study of how our planet’s atmosphere interacts with sunlight and space weather.
Phenomena such as noctilucent clouds (NLCs) and the aurora definitely sit in the domain of astronomy. In order to be useful to science, images of targets like these should be annotated with the same extra information that would be added to any other type of astronomical observations. This includes the date and time images were taken and the location they were taken from. In this feature, we’ll look at a few more specific requirements to add to your images of both NLCs and auroral displays to make them scientifically relevant.
As well as the long term usefulness of such records, now that social media can spread information rapidly, informing others of potential displays with clarity and accuracy will greatly enhance the chances of it being seen from other locations too.
Your photographs and notes could help reveal more about the aurora (top) and noctilucent clouds (bottom)
These would probably rate a five on the NLC scale (see page 71)