Pete Lawrence

Sky at Night pre­sen­ter

Sky at Night Magazine - - CONTENTS -

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)

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