BBC Sky at Night – March 2022
English | 102 pages | pdf | 30.16 MB

Exploring why the Northern Lights are heading south

There have been many reports of dramatic aurora displays by UK astronomers in the past few months, increasingly from areas further south which are not often treated to displays of the Northern Lights.
It’s a sign that auroral activity is on the increase, and on page 38 aurora expert Dr Melanie Windridge explores what’s behind these more powerful displays and how they are intimately linked to longer-term activity on the Sun. You’ll also find an observer’s guide to the many different forms an aurora display can take on page 40, to prepare you for your next Northern Lights expedition – perhaps your next view of the aurora could be close to home!
From space weather to our planet’s weather, and the big influence it has on the success of our observing. On page 61, Pete Lawrence looks at how to read weather forecasts and charts if you’re an astronomer, in a bid to avoid rain and cloud, as well as some less well-known effects the atmosphere can challenge us with.
When weather doesn’t cooperate, there’s not much we can do about it. However, there are other factors that conspire to interrupt our observing plans which we can control. Long-time Canadian astronomer Ron Brecher considers these – such things as exposure to the wind and how to make the most of available time – on page 28, to put forward the Make-or-Break equation, an adaptation of the famous Drake equation. It’s a light-hearted view of observing and imaging that could help you spend more time out under the stars.
Enjoy the issue!
Chris Bramley, Editor

PS. Our next magazine issue goes on sale on Thursday 24 March 2022.
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