Unfortunately I was still walking to my viewing location at 22:30 UTC when the aurora sparked into life this evening, and was nowhere suitable to take photographs due to the strong surrounding light pollution. I could still appreciate it with my eyes though, and there were some fast-moving curtains of rays with pink lower fringes dancing across the sky. By the time I set up the camera at 22:39 then the best was already over. And then I realised too late that the camera was at ISO3200 for the first few shots and consequently managed to over-expose them. Not the best start to the evening! Anyway, one of those over-exposed shots is shown below as an example of the strong activity that was occurring at that time (Image 1). Moderate to strong activity continued in the north until 23:05 UTC, with a variety of structures including rayed bands, patches and clusters of rays filling the northern sky. While most activity occurred at around 40 to 60 degrees, there was aurora all the way from the northern horizon to overhead (Images 2 and 3).
After 23:05 the activity was weak for the majority of the rest of the time that I was observing for (until 00:34). I relocated to a darker place from 23:25 onwards. The northern half of the sky was covered with diffuse aurora glow for the entirety of this time, but with relatively little definite structure. The cloud was also worsening by this time. There were a few glimpses of tall rays to the north-east in the cloud gaps, and on camera these had purple tops (Image 4).
Perhaps the most interesting observation during this period was the presence of pulsating aurora overhead between 00:10 and 00:21 UTC. This took the form of dense white patches (to the eye) which flashed at 1-sec intervals and appeared/disappeared continuously. I turned the camera vertically upward to try and photograph this, and a couple of the resulting images are shown below (Images 5 and 6). Of course it is pretty difficult to capture 1-sec fairly-faint flashing patches on a camera, and so the images don’t really illustrate it as well as I would have liked. This is a fascinating form of aurora, and one I have seen several times previously – always directly overhead and always in the aftermath of relatively strong activity earlier in the evening.