What can art bring to science? Historically, Japanese amateur painters have painted northern lights, and these “data” are useful for scientists to study past magnetic storms. The new Agora supplement of the Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate is the place for the space weather community to discuss, evaluate and distribute papers on historical space weather events and observations, and other non-traditional scientific output.

It is very rare to see northern lights from Japan because of its low magnetic latitude. On 11 February 1958, a 17-year-old high school student with an interest in astronomy was listening to the radio broadcast, which said “an extraordinary light is now being observed in the sky over a wide area of northern Japan”. This broadcast prompted him to go to the coast and paint the red aurora with the watercolors which he was using in high school. This 61-year-old watercolor painting was recently discovered, and serves as a valuable point of contact between the modern recording of data and photographs, and pictorial records taken over a long period of time.

The article “ A watercolor painting of northern lights seen above Japan on 11 February 1958 ” is the second Agora article published in the Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate.
See also the announcement on the new Agora supplement.

Image credit: New York Public Library