The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #90257   Message #1712943
Posted By: GUEST
07-Apr-06 - 10:53 PM
Thread Name: BS: seeing the Northern lights
Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
What an excellent description "sensory confusion" is of the experience of seeing them! So true!

I've seen them all my life living in Minnesota, Leenia. In many variations. As others have said, they can be visible sometimes pretty far south and in cities. But as I have grown older, I have watched the visibility of the northern lights recede from the Twin Cities a great deal due to light pollution. The best viewing is from dark sky sites. But we still see them in town on occassion. Usually the darker the sky, the better the viewing.

As others have noted, they are somehow connected to solar activity, but are never "predictable" in the way they look, despite much study. And I LOVE the study of them, as they are so awe inspiringly mysterious. Very few occurrences in nature have made me feel the way that seeing the northern lights does. Not even having a tornado blast by me! The only other natural phenomenon that matched the sensory confusion and awesome inspiration of the northern lights is fog, in a handful of experiences I've had with it.

Oh, and one truly spooky, wierd experience on a ship on the ocean at night once, when these yellow glowing lights underwater faded in and out. Happened in the Caribbean. We were sailing with friends who sail the area all the time. Two of them had experienced those lights before, and said they had researched a lot trying to find out what the phenomenon was, but never did.

That ocean glowing experience was eerily reminiscent of one time when the northern lights very suddenly appeared super low on the horizon, and came shooting across a smooth as glass lake RIGHT AT US up in the Boundary Waters. I thought we were being atom bombed without sound, and I had seen the northern lights a bazillion times before that.

They are A Great Mystery in the way they make humans react!

Even more cool websites from NOAA you might want to spend hours looking at:

Their Arctic page

This NOAA page gives data about both poles, and includes tips for viewing, which might help you target your desire to view them a bit more accurately!

I know they are, at times, seen from pretty far south, though I don't have a clue as to the whys and wherefores of them showing up far to the south. Or presumably north, if you are viewing them from the southern hemisphere. My brother in law did two tours in Antarctica, and brought home some cool photos and movies of them.

If you're interested in some truly wild astral "into the mystic" type stuff from a southern hemisphere perspective, you can play around here for awhile too.