University of Saskatchewan


"One of the more important, and quite new, efforts in this International Polar Year…was the use of photography for studying the aurora. We devised a very big program for auroral observations. ... [Balfour Currie] operated the second station [at Fort Sik-Sik] while I manned the first station at Chesterfield, and with radio communication we could time the photographs exactly. Balfour could not talk to me, but I could communicate with him, and we had boned up our knowledge of the constellations in the northern hemisphere before we left Toronto, so I would describe a piece of aurora we were going to photograph as an arc or ray…and then give him the background constellation (which often was Orion). I would wait a few seconds until Balfour had focused on exactly the same display. Then I would say "on" and watch the aurora, and leave the exposure as long as the display appeared to be steady; but once it started to move I'd say "off." We have hundreds of pairs of these parallactic plates…In later years in Saskatchewan Currie was able to use them to find, for the first time in Canada, the actual altitudes of the aurora."

- Frank Davies

Parallactic plate 58.

Parallactic plate 58s.

Parallactic plate 8.

Parallactic plate 8s.


Parallactic Photographs (Aurora, 1933).

Description of Parallactic plates.

Auroral Images, Chesterfield.

Graph of Height Frequencies, Aurora, Chesterfield.

Fritz Isolines of Auroral Occurrence.



Visual Auroral Observation card.

Front side
Reverse side
Back of packet

Instruction Pamphlet for
Visual Auroral Observations.

Electrometers - Chesterfield Observation.
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