Abstract A variety of measurements of auroral spectra has been made with a photoelectric spectrometer. These include relative and absolute intensity measurements of the more prominent features, and a verification of Seaton's absolute intensity scale. Observations of Hβ seem to indicate more erratic behaviour than has been assumed. The intensity of the N II lines 5001-5 Å shows little or no excitation by helium ions. A very intense feature observed in Type B red aurora appears to be due to sodium. The vibrational development of the N 2 + first negative system indicates electron excitation from the ground state of N 2 at a temperature of 0-700°K. The results show the spectrometer to be useful for intensity measurement and the observation of short-lived effects. It is, however, limited to the brighter forms of aurora.