Like in 2012 and 2013, an expedition to observe the Aurora Borealis from the south of Greenland and Iceland will take place in the period 23-28 August. Named Shelios 2014, the expedition is promoted by the scientific-cultural association Shelios and is coordinated by its president Miquel Serra-Ricart, astronomer of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands and member of the GLORIA Project. Daily broadcast from three different places in Greenland, between 23 and 25 August, will be transmitted: the surroundings of the Qaleraliq glacier, a farm called Tasiusaq, the town of Qasiarsuk, will be available on the web. Additional broadcasts from Hestheimar farm (South Iceland) will be on air between 26 and 28 August. Photos will be uploaded to a web album for one hour every day in real-time.
This wonderful celestial spectacle takes place when very energetic particles from the Sun reach the Earth’s atmosphere via the solar wind. The entrance of these particles is governed by the Earth’s magnetic field and, therefore, they only can penetrate through the atmosphere at the North Pole (Aurora Borealis) and the South Pole (Aurora Australis). The auroras consist of luminous curtains, which change quickly and have several shades. The light emission takes place in the higher atmosphere (at altitudes between 100 and 400 km) and is a consequence of the collision of the solar wind (essentially electrons) with atoms of oxygen (greenish tones) or nitrogen molecules (reddish tones). As mentioned, auroras only takes place in regions not to far from the Earth’s poles. However the show is worth a trip at least once in a lifetime! But if you can’t, Shelios and GLORIA are offering you a chance to watch the show via Internet at live.gloria-project.eu (see details below).
The Shelios 2014 expedition is promoted by the scientific-cultural association Shelios and is coordinated by its president Dr. Miquel Serra-Ricart, Astronomer of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands. The main objective of the expedition will be the observation of the aurora borealis from the South of Greenland and Iceland. More information available at shelios.com. A collection of images from the past expeditions is available here and from here.
There will be a daily broadcast on the three days 23, 24, 25 August 2014 from 1:00 to 1:30 UT (3:00 to 3:30 CEST) and on 26, 27, 28 August 2014 from 23:30 to 24:00 UT (1:30 to 2:00 CEST). Broadcasting places in Greenland will be: 1) the glacier Qaleraliq (longitude = 46.6791W; latitude = 60.9896N), 2) a farm called Tasiusaq and 3) the town of Qasiarsuk (Leif Eriksson Hostel, see route map). And additionally from Hestheimar farm (South Iceland). Note 1: UT = Universal Time and CEST = Central European Summer Time). Note 2: Weather conditions could cause changes in the schedule. The event broadcast will include:
- Live Connection Live footage will be broadcast from a color camera each evening, providing video sequences showing the movements of the aurora. It can be watched on the GLORIA live website live.gloria-project.eu and the main collaborator sky-live.tv.
- One-Minute Time-Lapse Color still images will be obtained each minute and posted to the mentioned website to create a time-lapse animation of the aurora. Two identical Canon 5D Mark II cameras will be used. The observing sites will be separated by a distance of at least 1 km (maximum 50 km) in order to be able to calculate the height of the aurora using the parallax method. In fact these images will be accessible from the web in order to perform an educational activity.
During the broadcasts we will have daily information on the solar activity through the following nodes:
- Latest solar images in different wavelengths from the SOHO Satellite (international cooperation between the ESA and NASA space agencies): http://sohowww.estec.esa.nl/data/realtime-images.html
- Solar activity and forecasts:
- SolarCycle24 website: solarcycle24.com