2016 schedule


Observation and Frequency of the Aurora Australis in New South Wales

Andrew James

Non-Affiliated Independent Amateur Astronomers (NAIAA)

For many years I have been slowly collecting historical information of past Aurora Australis observations seen from Sydney and NSW, and have uncovered many dozen reports between 1820 and 2015. By collecting these various observations, the combined data gives important clues about the rough expected frequency of the Aurora Australis and its relationship to the 11.3 year long sunspot cycle, whose expectant frequency averages about two or three per decade.

Notably, many have been likely missed because of bad weather, etc., concluding the true number of aurora are higher in number than currently accepted. Due to the rarity of such low-latitude aurorae, most modern amateurs are seemingly quite unaware in how to observe or photograph them. Presented in the poster is how we can obtain relevant activity and space weather information and learn of the likelihood of seeing active aurorae from the observer's location.

There is also now an important call for all amateurs to report visible aurora for future estimation of low-latitude auroral frequency. Highlighted are the extraordinary series of aurorae occurring in 1859-60, including the dramatic effects of the famous Carrington Event between 1st-2nd September 1859. Others include the bright aurorae (some in series) seen in November 1870, 1872, 1880, 1894, 1909, 1921, 1947, 1982, 1990 and 2002-3. Especially noted are the last three bright auroral events that have happened during March, April and October 2015.