AURORA and SOLAR SECTION
ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY of NEW ZEALAND
REPORTS OF AURORA AUSTRALIS SEEN DURING
1998 MAY

All dates and times UTC

May 2 10:30 Small, whitish like a curtain.
                (S41.3 E174.8) - Wellington, New Zealand
            11:00 Bright glow behind cloud. SE - SW. To elev.15 in S. IBC 2-3.
                (S45.8 E169.3) - Edievale, West Otago, New Zealand
            11:00 - 12:00 Glow without colour or activity silhouetting light cloud low on southern horizon.
                (S43.5 E172.5) - West Melton, Canterbury, New Zealand
            12:30 Ray structure seen from moving car.
            12:40 Ray faded, glow remained.
            13:00 Glow in SSW, IBC 2.
                (S44.3 E171.3) - Timaru, New Zealand
            12:30 Glow noted.
            12:45 Glow much brighter.
            13:00 Faint crimson glow noted in SSW.
            13:07 Rays up to 20 in S. Arc clearly defined - about 60 wide.
            13:22 Curtains in small clump to S 15 wide, 15 elev. Fast moving ripples. Long thin rays (5 - 6) in S, up to 30, short lived.
                (S42.8 E147.3) - Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
            13:40 Brightly lit southern sky, very much like dawn twilight. White at the southern horizon and blue above that. A very strong aurora was in progress. One thing immediately noticed was how the Milky Way stood out uncharacteristically clear across the visible sky. A bright white colour for the star clouds and many of the stars of easily visible magnitudes were surrounded by a blue halo of light in all directions visible.
            13:46 Then the "fireworks" began with an intense glow climbing as high as 20 - 30 elev. with rays shooting up as much as 50. These rays appeared and disappeared rapidly but varied for some 5-10 seconds., almost rippling across the southern sky before disappearing. Some rays were seen that matched spotlights used by hunters, although they started above the horizon, were vertical, backlit clouds, and moved from side to side. The blue haze around the stars had faded at this time and we were concerned that it was our eyes playing tricks on us when coming out from being under red observatory lights.
            14:15 But the blue haze was again seen around stars, although in a more limited form, just affecting the stars as high as the Southern Cross and Pointers. Later, a quite subtle but easily identified red glow was often discernable on the top of the auroral glow, as it brightened and faded. Antares in Scorpius was not noticeably a different colour from the other stars.
            14:50 The display began to die; the sky finally dark again at 15:00.
                (S43.5 E172.5) - West Melton, Canterbury, New Zealand

May 3 08:15 Noticed a glow in the south.
            08:25 Rays started shooting upwards as far as SMC or Tucana, and moving sideways quickly. They were light green in colour with a touch of red.
            09:00 Aurora had disappeared.
                (S45.1 E171.0) - Oamaru, North Otago, New Zealand
            08:40 Pale white glow SSE to SW with white rays rapidly growing and waning over periods of 5 - 10 seconds. Maximum elevation reached was 20. About 10 rays maximum at any time. Activity died at 09:10.
            10:00 Aurora completely gone.
                (S43.5 E172.5) - West Melton, Canterbury, New Zealand
           9:00 - 09:15 Glow in SSW, maybe IBC 2. Moon bright.
                (S44.3 E171.3) - Timaru, New Zealand
            11:30 Green glow with pink in E, and up to SCP.
                (S46.4 E169.8) - Otekura, South Otago, New Zealand
            11:30 - 13:30 Bright glow.
                (S46.5 E169.7) - Owaka, South Otago, New Zealand

May 4 07:20 - 08:00 Big auroral glow with plenty of activity from Scorpius in the east to Orion in the west, and up to Achernar; about 15. Rays shooting as far as LMC, rapid movement of rays sideways. Mostly light green in colour except reddish tinge in glow near the east covering part of Scorpius. Flaming observed about 07:40 up towards the zenith.
            10:00 Ceased observing the aurora.
                (S45.1 E171.0) - Oamaru, North Otago, New Zealand
            07:30 - 08:30 Bright but not impressive aurora. Mostly a diffuse and formless arc right across the southern sky from ESE to WSW. Occasionally it produced rays and once or twice it started to develop a curtain but quickly lapsed to a formless arc. Reddish tints in the SE.
            12:06 Arc had many fast-changing rays (though not much colour).
                (S44.0 E170.5) - Tekapo, Canterbury, New Zealand
            07:45 Green arc and glow and rays to 60 elev. Red in SE. Second broken arc near top of display.
                (S45.3 E169.4) - Alexandra, Central Otago, New Zealand
            08:00 Massive pink, less of green. Vivid movement behind very light cloud. Almost to the zenith. A little cloud on the zenith; looked like half a corona.
            08:14 Large white patch SSW. In W and E red and green rays on the move behind light cloud. S very bright and movement of rays behind light cloud.
            08:30 Pink and green rays all around, E through S to W behind light cloud. Looked like an arc or rayed band. One white patch in S fairly high.
            09:15 White band S and SE.
            10:15 Still vivid pink through cloud in S and E. Rest of sky darker cloud.
            11:00 Not so vivid nor so much activity.
                (S46.4 E169.8) - Otekura, South Otago, New Zealand
            09:00 - 12:00 Glow E to W. Cloudy.
            12:00 Thin rays various colours to high overhead.
            12:15 Mostly clouded out. Bright in W.
                (S45.8 E169.3) - Heriot, West Otago, New Zealand
            11:30 - 12:00 Diffuse glow in S, increasing to rays and a visible curtain with some pulsations at around 12:00.
            12:30 Decreasing slightly when ceased observing.
                (S43.2 E147.5) - Woodbridge, Tasmania, Australia
            12:00 Glow, patch and ray, E to W and to zenith. Forms faded quickly to be replaced by others. Flickering. IBC 4.
                (S46.5 E169.7) - Owaka, South Otago, New Zealand
            14:45 - 15:00 Faint widespread glow. Brightest in SE.
            17:00 Nothing obvious.
                (S45.8 E169.3) - Edievale, West Otago, New Zealand
            16:30 Arc quite reduced; mostly just a lightness along the southern horizon. But even after moonset the entire sky had a brightness usually associated with a fairly bright Moon, especially towards the horizons including the north.
                (S44.0 E170.5) - Tekapo, Canterbury, New Zealand
            18:00 Two large white patches in S. Still bright.
                (S46.4 E169.8) - Otekura, South Otago, New Zealand

May 7 09:30 - 10:30 In spite of light cloud the movement and colour was amazing. Mostly pink but the bands were white. One large one from SE to nearly SSW. One small band underneath it from S to SW. Patches were small and white. Sideways movement of rays, flickering, flaming and pulsating. IBC 4.
                (S46.4 E169.8) - Otekura, South Otago, New Zealand

May 8 07:35 - 07:45 Blue-green tinged glow az 160 - 220, elev 10 deg. elev increased to 15 at 07:45. Occasional rays seen with averted vision. This all despite a bright gibbous Moon.
            22:30 - 22:40 Glow still present, az 150 - 250, to 10 elev. At 22:35 a 1 wide and 1 high brightening on horizon at az 190 for 30 s.
                (S46.5 E168.3) - Otatara, Invercargill, New Zealand

May 15 12:15 Pronounced glow on SW horizon to perhaps 25 elev.
                (S46.5 E168.3) - Otatara, Invercargill, New Zealand

May 24 14:35 - 14:45 Visible through gap in cloud; Canopus only star showing. White glow at first, then changed to pink. Then to green, a little blue and a few rays. Movement stopped and then it became all green.
                (S46.4 E169.8) - Otekura, South Otago, New Zealand

May 30 04:30 Glow, rays, band, E through S to W and up to about 80 elev. Folding of band, sideways movement of rays, forms faded quckly to be replaced by others. IBC 2.
                (S77.8 E166.7) - Arrival Heights, Ross Island, Antarctica
            09:15 Glow SE to SSW. Rather lack-lustre, but a few pink and green rays lasting about 10 minutes. Plenty of pink in SE for a short time.
            14:00 Cloudy but could still see the green brightness in the south. Confirmed by observer's Fox Terrier.
                (S46.4 E169.8) - Otekura, South Otago, New Zealand
            11:15 - 11:25 Glow E through S to NW, 30 - 40 elev. White. IBC 2.
            11:30 Fainter E to SW. Still bright SW to NW.
                (S45.7 E168.9) - Waikaia, northern Southland, New Zealand
            14:30 Glow due S about a degree above the horizon. A fainter glow extended up to 15 to 20. Glow brightened and faded over 10 s or less, but often faint and little to be seen.
            15:30 Aurora had more or less disappeared.
                (S43.5 E172.5) - West Melton, Canterbury, New Zealand