I was reading at Spaceweather.com about solar storms, as we had just recently a sudden mild impact which was not foreseen, but created a mild Auroras over Stockholm, and the strength was around KP-Index 5. Nothing truly to write home about, but it was an unexpected storm, and I just happened to look out of the window, as usual with a camera because the modern ones can see more than the naked eye - which means, if there is any hints of green auroras, the lifeview feed in the camera, will show it.

And it did.

So, as I was browsing through the text - it contained an article about a study regarding the disintegration of Space X satellites, when they were hit by a mild outburst from the sun, leading to the disintegration of 38 satellites due to heating of the upper earths atmosphere, producing more drag - making the satellites falling out of orbit towards earth.

So, then I was reading about the "Halloween Solar Storms 2003", which was a series of strong solar flares up to X28, estimated having been a whopping X45 flare, the strongest ever measured in modern history - you can read about it at Wikipedia here.


Nothing happened over Stockholm, 29-30 Oct 2003

So, I was wondering if I had any notes about this storm in my photo archive...

Uhm... I looked... but in the evening of 29 October 2003 towards 30 Oct... nothing. No auroras. I was aware of the geomagnetic storm... but didn't see any Northern Lights in the sky. Kind of strange... why weren't there any Auroras visible over Stockholm that evening ? I even have a saved illustration of the Auroral Oval projection model. It looks like there was a strong outburst, and there were reports from aurora over Texas.

But nothing over Stockholm. How strange.


Strong action all over the Northern Hemisphere... but where were the Auroras, damn it ?

I wonder at what time on the 30 Oct 2003 this satellite composite was taken - I do not know.

A very strong 160 GW output - should have resulted into auroras... but didn't.


At the same in the Photo Archive; Nov 2003...

naturally, I bumped into images of Perry, which whom I lived together in the same apartment back then.


Halloween 2003

So, a couple nights later, we were at the Skogskyrkogården Cemetery, with white painted faces, making goofy images while there.

It was my first dSLR camera (and Canon's first) the Canon EOS D30 - with it's hilariously bad autofocus, and a 3 MP CMOS sensor (which was good at low ISO, though). But taking images in the night, with relatively good illumination (or indoors) - was absolutely hopeless. I often had to use manual AF instead. Which wasn't the easiest thing, often missing the exact point of sharpness.

Well, those were the first baby steps of consumer digital photography back in 2001-2003 with that camera. At least you could change lenses - albeit I didn't have many. Just the plastic 50 mm f 1.8, a no-name, pretty bad 19-35mm zoom, but later I added the Sigma 20 mm f 1.8 lens. Not really that sharp, but better than nothing, and delightful large aperture.


Today, 20 years later

I can enhance the small 3 MP images without much problem. With tools and good touch, giving them sometimes a lot better quality. Like in the main photo of Perry right in the beginning, which looks a lot better than the original. I sometimes spend evening with enhancing my very old digital images... just imagine... it's been 20+ years ago.

And everybody who was part of it, also in it...


Re-Living ?

I guess the Photo archive gives me a unique "re-living" experience of old times. I mean, within just seconds, I can travel right to the spot of November 2003... Just like that. It's really strange.

By the way; it is not exactly like re-living past experiences and memories - it's more. Additionally on top of old memories, I also sense the impressions and feelings from the spectrum of myself, here and now. So, it is really weird... Many fragments shoot though mind and heart.

I doubt people in general are browsing through their 425.000 images in an photo archive... Having it is neither good or bad. It just "is".

Which means an array of emotions, fragments and images/moments passing by, mixing between past and present time, sometimes even with hints of possible futures.


The next Major Outbreak: 20 Nov 2003

It was in the evening of 20 November 2003 - a major outbreak occurred. Like really major ! With a whopping 411 GW Auroral Power, it was just hyper strong !

At around 17:00 i was able to spot the first auroras with the camera. Since the Nynäsvägen Highway was dreadfully strong lit by many light, i had to use the camera as a helper tool to see if there is anything green going on, by taking blind test shots.

A half hour later, I was in the park, to take shots. The Northern Lights went on the whole evening until midnight and then subsided rapidly.

Here the first photo taken at 17:31 on 20 Nov 2003, and the last one taken in the with light flooded Old Town of Stockholm, around 23:17.


The event of 20 Nov 2003

represented one of the biggest Auroral outbreaks I have seen since the digital photo era.

18 Aug 2001 had a moderate outbreak visible, while on 6 Nov 2001 after midnight, very strong red auroras were visible - it's display was an absolutely majestic event.

A medium strong display on 19 Sep 2012, a large display on 16-17 Mar 2013, a major outbreak on 17-18 Mar 2015 as well 7 Oct 2015 (but I only had a crappy iPhone with me).

The 15 Jan 2022 auroral event was pretty neat, too. Nothing major, but clearly visible to the naked eye. Even Sal saw the dancing auroras - and it was the first time in his life !

There are more events present in my archive - mainly weaker ones - and not all images are tagged as 'Northern Lights' images. Perhaps I should make an entry into my Diary, showing each date where I saw Northern Lights over Stockholm, together with a corresponding photo of the events !

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