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StarDome Blog

by Sonia Turkington FRAS.


Each Month Sonia will bring you a roundup of the latest astronomy & Space news directly to this page.



Hi I'm Sonia, I have been into astronomy since 1997 when I was 11 years old when comet Hale Bopp was around.

I remember being in the back garden with my dad and he was showing me how to take a photo of it with his old Fujica camera,

that I still have now. Ever since then I've been fascinated with space.


 I started with a very cheap Tasco telescope from Argos to look at the moon, went onto a Meade go-to - ETX  90 telescope, which unfortunately due to it's age stopped working. For a very long time I have also used a Skywatcher 10" Dobsonian, to mostly photograph the moon with a moon filter and also the planets.


I now have a Seestar S-50 which has got me into deep sky imaging which I love! I also own a Coronado PST for solar imaging.


 I have two Bsc. (Hons) Open degrees in "Introducing Astronomy and the planets".

In 2023 I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and am also Vice President since 2024

for the Manchester Astronomical Society. Also I am currently a freelancer for the BBC sky at night magazine.  


Clear Skies​





Well, what a month May was for us. I for one won’t forget May 10th 2024 the night the whole of the UK got a magnificent show of the Northern Lights/Aurora Borealis and I don’t think anyone else will either. It’s something that I’ve now ticked off my bucket list.It was all down to this large number of sunspots, named AR3664.


They say that it was as big and rivalled the Carrington event of 1859.

For those of you that hadn’t heard of the Carrington event, it was to be the most geomagnetic storm ever to be recorded in the beginning of September, which was during solar cycle 10.

We are supposed to peak at maximum in 2025 so we aren’t too far away.

Anyway, this was a photo of the sun I had captured before the auroras had come our way from a coronal mass ejection (CME)

Here are some images you have taken (Thank you for letting me use them)

that have been imaged up and down the UK, including Ireland and Scotland.


There might be the odd one also, from other countries. Enjoy!














































































































But, how do we get the northern lights?

When we get a solar storm hurtling towards our world from a coronal mass ejection, all of the particles go down the magnetic fields at the North and South poles and enter the atmosphere. Once all these particles enter our atmosphere, they dance around with different gases which cause stunning auroral displays.











(Image - NASA)

So then what causes the beautiful colours that we see?

Here is the perfect explanation.











So, that was May!

Next up, will be Noctilucent cloud season, as that starts end of May time to August.

So, keep your eyes peeled for me and clear skies!






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