Red alert cancelled.
Red alert: aurora likely.
Issued 2016-08-23 13:25 UTC (14:25 BST) by AuroraWatch UK using SAMNET LAN2 data from Lancaster, UK.
AuroraWatch UK issued a red alert at 14:25 (BST) today based on magnetic field data from the LAN2 (Lancaster) magnetometer. Unfortunately, the readings were spurious and not related to geomagnetic activity. It, instead, appears that some local inteference set off a massive spike in the data (no, it wasn’t the intern!). Whilst we’re not sure yet what this interference was, the magnetometer is located in a site shared with other experiments, and something metallic may have been placed on our instrument or some machine may have been in operation nearby. Investigations will take place and steps to prevent a reoccurence will be taken.
Update: we believe the interference was caused by University staff mowing the grass on a sit-on mower. We’ll work with the facilities team to try and avoid an incident such as this occuring in the future!
As you may know, the CRK2 (Crooktree, Aberdeen) magnetometer is normally used to issue alerts, however, this had itself been “playing up” and so our system had swapped to LAN2 as a back-up. Unfortunately, it seems our back-up needed a back-up.
After the alert was triggered, we manually editted our Facebook post to override the alert. Unfortunately, it was not possible to stop our alert emails being sent. We also manually switched our alert system to LAN1 and then back to CRK2. We’ve also issued a message through our new API system. Although our web pages use this feature as yet none of the apps implement it.
Apologies for any inconvenience. But, hey, at least we know our new system works for next time 😉