Geomagnetic and Auroral Activity in August 1956
According to Ron Livesey, Director of the Aurora Section of the British Astronomical Association (letter to Paul Fuller dated 14 April 2003), the Balfour Stewart Auroral Laboratory at the University of Edinburgh began collecting auroral observations in 1952. These records are now held with Historic Collections, Special Libraries and Archives, King's College, Aberdeen.
Ron Livesey says that there were no visual observations of aurora during August 1956 in the Balfour Stewart records. This is backed up by some records for RAF Kinloss for the period 1953-57 which were discovered and retrieved last year by the Met. Office staff at the base. Again, nothing visual was reported from Kinloss either.
1957 was a sunspot maximum year; however, the Balfour Stewart
data for central Scotland shows little change compared with
previous years, i.e. the number of reported aurora were :-
On the night of August 13/14 1956 the earth's magnetic field was "quiet" based on the auroral geomagnetic index for two antipodal observatories, according to Ron Livesey, who adds "it is possible to get some mid latitude aurorae in Scotland when the magnetic field is quiet. It is also possible to have some large magnetic activity but with no aurora, but this is rare." The full list of auroral indices for August 1956 is :-
There is also geomagnetic data for Kinloss by month which shows that for 1956 the auroral index was zero for the months of July, August and September.