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BS: seeing the Northern lights

GUEST,leeneia 02 Apr 06 - 08:44 PM
Peace 02 Apr 06 - 08:52 PM
Once Famous 02 Apr 06 - 08:52 PM
Peace 02 Apr 06 - 08:53 PM
Rapparee 02 Apr 06 - 09:16 PM
Peace 02 Apr 06 - 09:19 PM
Rapparee 02 Apr 06 - 09:20 PM
Dave Swan 02 Apr 06 - 09:27 PM
Sorcha 03 Apr 06 - 12:01 AM
GUEST,me 03 Apr 06 - 01:11 AM
Ebbie 03 Apr 06 - 01:16 AM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Apr 06 - 10:03 AM
Alaska Mike 03 Apr 06 - 10:25 AM
Peace 03 Apr 06 - 10:25 AM
Bunnahabhain 03 Apr 06 - 10:43 AM
Ebbie 03 Apr 06 - 10:44 AM
Strollin' Johnny 03 Apr 06 - 10:47 AM
TheBigPinkLad 03 Apr 06 - 02:23 PM
Peace 03 Apr 06 - 02:26 PM
Bert 03 Apr 06 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,dianavan 03 Apr 06 - 04:33 PM
Morticia 03 Apr 06 - 05:11 PM
GUEST,thurg 03 Apr 06 - 05:36 PM
MaineDog 03 Apr 06 - 06:26 PM
Nancy King 03 Apr 06 - 07:04 PM
GUEST,Joe_F 03 Apr 06 - 08:15 PM
Beer 03 Apr 06 - 08:39 PM
GUEST,DonD 03 Apr 06 - 10:01 PM
Barry Finn 04 Apr 06 - 12:52 AM
open mike 04 Apr 06 - 02:08 AM
GUEST,me 04 Apr 06 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,Van 04 Apr 06 - 03:12 PM
Nancy King 04 Apr 06 - 03:36 PM
Charmion 04 Apr 06 - 06:47 PM
open mike 04 Apr 06 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,dianavan 05 Apr 06 - 03:21 AM
AKS 05 Apr 06 - 04:41 AM
GUEST,leeneia 05 Apr 06 - 10:30 AM
Ebbie 05 Apr 06 - 11:35 AM
Beer 06 Apr 06 - 08:23 AM
Big Jim from Jackson 06 Apr 06 - 09:40 AM
bassen 06 Apr 06 - 09:44 AM
ThreeSheds 07 Apr 06 - 08:04 AM
gnu 07 Apr 06 - 02:44 PM
skarpi 07 Apr 06 - 04:23 PM
GUEST 07 Apr 06 - 10:53 PM
GUEST 07 Apr 06 - 11:49 PM
Joe Offer 08 Apr 06 - 02:13 AM
Ebbie 08 Apr 06 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,TJ 08 Apr 06 - 09:08 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 08 Apr 06 - 10:57 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 08 Apr 06 - 11:01 PM
Ebbie 09 Apr 06 - 02:17 PM

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Subject: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Apr 06 - 08:44 PM

I would like to hear from anyone who has been in Canada and seen the Northern lights. I have always wanted to see them.

Once I read a mystery novel by Dick Francis which was set on a train going across Canada. In the novel, the Northern lights seemed to be visible almost every night. Are they actually that predictable, or was it just good fiction?

By the way, I wrote to the Canadian Tourist Bureau (whatever its official name is) about this some time ago. All I got back was a letter that said, "If you want to visit a certain province, write to the tourist bureau in that province." Perhaps the person writing that had never heard of the Northern lights.

Anyhow, is there a good way to see them?


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Peace
Date: 02 Apr 06 - 08:52 PM

The NL are visible from Red Deer (Alberta) north.

Here ya go.

They are not static. I've watched them dance for an hour at a time. When the Alaskans see this thred, they'll link you to some phenomenal sites.

Best to get away from bright lights and watch. Take a blanket. And a camera.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Once Famous
Date: 02 Apr 06 - 08:52 PM

Yeah, stoned.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Peace
Date: 02 Apr 06 - 08:53 PM

LOL

BTW, click on the pics in that link and they get bigger.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Rapparee
Date: 02 Apr 06 - 09:16 PM

I've seen them as far South as Springfield, Illinois -- red curtains dancing in a dead-black sky as we drove west on I-72 west of Decatur.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Peace
Date: 02 Apr 06 - 09:19 PM

"Decatur"

How's that pronounced?


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Rapparee
Date: 02 Apr 06 - 09:20 PM

Dee-ka-tur. No real emphasis anywhere. Kinda like Al-burr-ta.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Dave Swan
Date: 02 Apr 06 - 09:27 PM

The first time I saw them was from an airplane returning to California from Anchorage.

The best sighting I've had was lying in my sleeping bag atop a dogsled and watching them dance over the Yukon. On that trip I had lights ten nights out of twelve. White, pink, green, a little blue at the edges. They dance quickly, then seem sometimes to take a rest and slow down a little. Then, as if refreshed, take off again.

On my last trip I had them two nights out of ten, filtered through overcast.

A friend of mine says that they make you feel small and large at the same time.

I'd really like to see the Aurora Australis. Has anyone see them?

D


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Sorcha
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 12:01 AM

I saw them once about 25 yrs ago in Torrington Wyomin...a dancing red curtain....didn't know at the time what I was seeing....


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: GUEST,me
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 01:11 AM

To answer one of your questions: no, they are not predictable - at least, I've never heard of them being predicted, though I suppose there's an atmospheric-scientist sitting at a computer somewhere who claims to be able to ... Probably some tour guides make the same claim ... Okay, let me put it this way: I can't predict them.

I've seen some winters when they've been frequent and lively; others when they've been rare and not too spectacular. As a rule of thumb, the further north you go, the more likely you are to see a show.

By the way, the government bureaucrat who replied to your letter is probably a guest in our country, and would likely have a hard time finding Canada on a map.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Ebbie
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 01:16 AM

Wow. I have never seen any like that photo with the streaky green and purple curtains. I've seen all of the others as well as some that are not listed there.

There are so many kinds, all dependent on the height and the ions, I think it is. Once I saw white 'smoke rings' form until the whole sky was covered with linked rings. This was in May of 1993.

In Juneau I've seen them in every month but June or July. The sky is just too light in those months. In Juneau, of course, our skies are very often too cloudy to have much hope of seeing them. That is why they are more reliably seen in the dry, clear Interior of Alaska than in the Southeast rain forest. And of course, a full moon frequently makes the sky too light no matter what month it is.

At night I watch the Northern Lights
Stream across the sky
Silver and gold in ripples and folds
Of a purple scarf flung high.
Green canopy of the Northern Lights!
Gleaming stars hang nigh
All nourish my soul in the crystal cold
Alone in the Northern Lights
Alone in the Northern Lights


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 10:03 AM

Thank you all for the tips.

Of course I should avoid the time of the full moon. I should have thought of that!

I will be coming back for more ideas, so people keep posting.

Thank you for the poem, Ebbie.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 10:25 AM

Hi Leeneia, the Aurora Borealis is generally predictable. They are much more likely to be seen following intense solar flare activity. They occur day and night throughout the year whenever the upper atmosphere gets irradiated with solar flare energy. If you want to view the Aurora, you will need to find a spot far enough north (or south0 when this activity is happening.

The Aurora Page will give you some good photos, but also there are links to various websites that can help predict when activity might occur. If you travel to Alaska or Canada, be sure to find a place where the cloud cover will be minimal and hope for the best. Like Ebbie, I have seen Northern Lights throughout the year, but it gets harder to see when the sun is up at 4:30 am and doesn't set until midnight.

Good luck, I hope the website helps.

Mike


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Peace
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 10:25 AM

"By the way, the government bureaucrat who replied to your letter is probably a guest in our country, and would likely have a hard time finding Canada on a map."

It's that pink part just south of Boise.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 10:43 AM

I'm fairly sure the only places far enough South to see the lights is the Southern Tip of South America, and Antarctica of couse.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Ebbie
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 10:44 AM

Isn't that where Rap lives? (As long as we're mangling geographica!)


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 10:47 AM

Seen them in Gainsborough, Licolnshire, UK on a couple of occasions. Seen them a number of times in North-West Scotland.
S:0)


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 02:23 PM

I'm fairly sure the only places far enough South to see the lights is the Southern Tip of South America, and Antarctica of couse.

you'd need good eyesight to clock the aurora borealis from there. The aurora australis however ...


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Peace
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 02:26 PM

But on a clear day you can see forever . . . .


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Bert
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 02:54 PM

Saw them in Aldershot, England once.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: GUEST,dianavan
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 04:33 PM

I've seen them twice. Both times were spectacular. They were both pulsing! The first time it was very colourful. A different colour with every pulse. The second time was more like a comet shower but it lasted more than an hour.

No, they were not predicted which made them all the more wonderful. Its one of those rare moments when time stands still and you are filled with awe.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Morticia
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 05:11 PM

I saw them in Edinburgh, didn't even know what I was looking at to begin with, then they just took my breath away. And there is of course " The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen" just to link it back to music.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 05:36 PM

Not to mention "The Northern Lights of Labrador".


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: MaineDog
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 06:26 PM

I saw them several times in northern Massachusetts. They were frequently an undulating yellow/green curtain. Creepy, awesome, sort of like seeing a moose in town in Maine. Wow, is -- that -- really ?? yes!!!
MD


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Nancy King
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 07:04 PM

When I was a kid I saw them in northwestern Pennsylvania. My older cousins woke me up in the middle of the night, wrapped me in a blanket and took me outside to watch. Amazing.

The best time was 30 or 40 years ago at my family's cottage on Sebago Lake in southwestern Maine. The display went on for hours, and was absolutely spectacular! Curtains, rays, different colors, all shimmering and moving, and all reflected in the lake. I tried to draw it, but somehow it wasn't the same....   I'll never forget it!

Five years or so ago I was at the cottage and watching the 11 pm news on TV when they said there were reports of northern lights, especially in the lake region. I was not dressed, and was in the middle of doing something I couldn't just drop, so I told myself when I finished that task I'd put on some clothes and go outside. But I finished the task, and went to bed, forgetting all about going outside. The next day the papers and TV were rhapsodizing about how wonderful the display had been. I really kicked myself over that!

Nancy


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 08:15 PM

I saw them in southern Vermont, ca. 1953. Like shifting curtains of various colors. You don't often see them that far south.

ObFolk: The northern lights have seen strange sights / But the strangest they ever did see / Was that night on the marge of Lake Labarge / When I castrated Sam McGee.

--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: Every moment of happiness is a timeless victory over Satan that can never be annulled. :||


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Beer
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 08:39 PM

Spent some time just out side Whitehorse (Capital of the Yukon for you folk who don't know Canada.) and around the end of July you could sit outside about 11 at night and read the newspaper. Looking up you could observe the northern lights and if you whistled at them they would scream back. What eerie sounds they would make.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: GUEST,DonD
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 10:01 PM

It's been over sixtyfive years ago, but I'll never forget seeing the Lights from our back porch in The Bronx! Yes, The Bronx.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Barry Finn
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 12:52 AM

Nancy, could we have seen the same display? I was about 17 in a boarding school (for wild teens) in Southern NH. had to be about 1968, I don't remember the time of year but it couldn't have been summer & it wasn't cold enough to be winter. We were in class, a part of the barn that had been renovated & a guy I think in his 50's burst into the middle of the class babbling about tracking lights all his life & this was the big one. Being a wild bunch from the 60's we all at once figured he was on a bad acid trip & kept trying to calm him down. Finally he spit out "The Northern Lights" & we all ran outside. It was probably about 7:30/8:00 pm, we stayed out laying on our backs for, what seemed like hours. It was shaped like a spray like when you're in the shower only nothing was in the center except for the center at the peak where all the light converged from & it came down sourrounding us. The sides shimered like waves of curtains & different light shades (can't really remember the colors anymore) pulsed up the sides of the cone all making their way in unison towards the peak. It was the only time I'd ever seen them & it was unforgettable. Two other sky spectulars that I've witness was the green flash of the sun setting in the ocean & a moombow over a canyon on Maui. The Northern Lights was the the Big Top though.
Barry

Wasn't there another thread way back about this?


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: open mike
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 02:08 AM

yes they are predictable..
they are caused by magnetic activitiy
which is often a direct result of
sun spot activity or solar storms.
If there is a burts of energy spouting off of the sun
the "coronal mass Ejection" will trigger a
light display.

I am on anb e-mail list for the aurora watch,
where i will be notified if a CME happens
and they will be able to predict which
latitude will be most likely to view
the lights..there is a great gallery
online...
http://www.spaceweather.com/aurora/gallery_06nov01.html
http://www.spaceweather.com/aurora/gallery_06nov01.html
http://www.sel.noaa.gov/pmap/

they are more visibe. more frequent,
more colorful and more strong
every 11 years when we have a cycle of
solar flares and geomagnetic storms.
"sun spots"

this was jsut last year, so wait for
10 years for another such show.

these magnetic storms sometimes
cause interference with radio
and satellite signals, cell phones
and other electronic devices.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: GUEST,me
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 12:26 PM

See? I knew some smarty-pants would come along and make me look like a fool. (Some say that's not too hard ... )


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: GUEST,Van
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 03:12 PM

I saw them in Kent England once.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Nancy King
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 03:36 PM

Hi Barry -- The year is plausible, but it had to have been summer when I saw them from Sebago Lake, because that's the only time we were ever at the cottage. Almost certainly July or August. Maybe that was just a particularly active year. (?)

Nancy


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Charmion
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 06:47 PM

I saw them in central southern Ontario during a winter exercise when I was in the forces. I was the poor sap stuck monitoring the radio, and at a certain point a transmission vanished into a blast of crackles. I poked my head out of the tent to see if anyone else had noticed "trouble on net", and immediately saw the reason: the sky was full of white and green shimmers. It lasted about 45 minutes, and the exercise just stopped until it was over.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: open mike
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 08:09 PM

i think the lights are usually visible
24-36 hours after a sun spot eruption

it takes that long for the magnetic
energy to travel 93 million miles..

one of the neatest views on the
aurora borealis gallery of pictures
is from as far south as Florida.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: GUEST,dianavan
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 03:21 AM

wow, open mike - I didn't know they were predictable. I think when I retire, I'll just travel around looking for the next light show.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: AKS
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 04:41 AM

In the North of Finland (and in Lapland) the AB (revontulet 'fox's fires') were believed to be sparks created by the Firefox's (tulikettu, a mythical creature) tail hitting the snow while it ran across the fjelds (barren arctic mountains) - I wonder how the inuits or northern indians call them...

If my memory serves ok, on the average in the South of F. (~ 60 degrees N) the AB are to be seen once in 10 days and in the North (~ 70 degrees N) every second day. At the Mediterranean 'level' (New York = Rome) they can be seen once in some ten years only.

There is a dispute here in Fennoscandia (laymen vs. scientists, roughly ) whether the AB could be - not only seen but - heard as well. There are numerous people who claim having heard them hiss / crackle or smthg. Are there similar ear witnesses in the North of the 'New World'?

AKS


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 10:30 AM

Thanks, everyone. It's nice to talk about something besides politicians and fart jokes, isn't it?

I found a page with both a train and the Northern Lights:

http://www.viarail.ca/tourists/en_tour_ddec_chur.html

Now I have a whole new question. I have bad eyes. Once,when I was a kid, my family saw the Northern Lights in Wisconsin. Well, other people saw them and were oohing and ahhing. I saw that the sky had a milky chartreuse glow.

Later, in North Dakota, others seemed to see the lights. I saw a diffuse reddish glow in the sky.

Do you think if I went further north I would see the shimmering curtains that others describe, or does one need to have good eyes to se them, no matter where?

Thanks for the links, open mike. Unf'ly they don't help with a trip, because we would have to plan months in advance.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Ebbie
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 11:35 AM

The clarity and strength of the Northern Lights vary tremendously, from a faint undulating tinge on the horizon to the fullblown drapery that seemingly hangs about 100 feet above one and everything in between. (They say that the nearest ones are about 40 miles up.) In southeast Alaska the most common phenomenon is the diaphanous pale green curtain. There are frequently two parts to it- one half will kind of march behind the other and shimmer back again.

Two things that many people don't anticipate:

They are in constant motion.
You can see the stars right through them.

Even though Juneau on occasion has stunning visuals, if I were trying to make sure I saw them in a limited period of time I'd travel to Fairbanks and that area. Their skies are much clearer than ours.

They say that Autumn and Spring are the best seasons. And of course, as mentioned above the strongest viewing seasons peak about every 11 years.

Incidentally, I have never heard them - maybe someday - but the native peoples all say that they do sound. They also believe that whistling draws a response. Historically, mind, the natives had a different feeling about them than we do- many cultures tried to chase them away.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Beer
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 08:23 AM

Ebbie
In your last paragraph is exactly what I experienced when I was up in the Yukon. They make a very eerie screeching sound. Whistling would make them respond back and they would also dance (or go up and down as well as left to right)to the whistling. Now I'm sure this is not true, but it sure did in fact happen.
Yes, good thread.
Here is also a great thread to view each day.                  
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

You can also go into the archives ans see some great pictures of the northern lights.
Beer


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Big Jim from Jackson
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 09:40 AM

Last summer, just after one of the large flares sent a blast of "solar wind" Earth's direction, we were able to see the aurora here in southeast Missouri. Most visible were the reds, but there were greens, too. The curtin effect was visible as the lights shifted around the sky. We don't see them often, but they are quite a treat when we do. Open Mike is correct about the cause. Often the news casts, both local and national, will carry a warning that we are the target of solar activity along with the admonition that there may be an effect on our communications and tv reception. When you hear that, keep an eye on the sky that night. It doesn't always produce the lights, but when it does it's often spectacular.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: bassen
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 09:44 AM

I first saw Northern Lights in the north of Norway. I remember a feeling of sensory confusion: that something so spectacular in size and motion was making no sound whatsoever. The folk tradition in Norway claims, among other things, that you risk bringing them down to earth if you wave a white scarf or sheet at them. Anyone feel like trying?

Lots of pictures here


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: ThreeSheds
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 08:04 AM

Wow a mudcat thread with no drift
I saw them on Holy Island Northumberland about 10 years ago,a magical place even without the lights


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: gnu
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 02:44 PM

Whistling or howling on a cold still night may affect the viewing due to the fact that one's breath rises until ice crystals are formed.

A pastime of some young folk I knew was to party in a large sandpit. Every so often, all would lay close together on their backs and whistle, howl or scream as loud as possible. It was quite a sight. As were the lights. Did it enhance the viewing? I wouldn't know because I wouldn't lay down in a sandpit... you either get cold in the winter or sand fleas in the summer.

As for the lights, mere words cannot describe them. I have viewed them in many places in Atlantic Canada from Nain, Labrador to Moncton, New Brunswick. Each time was awesome.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: skarpi
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 04:23 PM

hi Leeneia, I am not in Alaska but here In Iceland we have a lot of Northern lights more an less all winter this is a unforgetable
moments sometimes.
i hope you will see them , its nothing like seeing them by your own eyes
picture won´t tell it .

All the best Skarpi Iceland.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 10:53 PM

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.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 11:49 PM

Sorry, I forgot to mention that you can listen to the 'hooks' or sounds of the auroras at this link from the Arctic page. I keep it bookmarked.

There are so many truly amazing things to be seen on this place we call cyberspace, it blows my mind. The latest tech sparklie to blow my mind was tracking locations on the news using the Google mapping thing during Hurricane Katrina.

I mean, when I look at images like this it helps me keep in perspective how very little religious zealots and fundamentalists of all stripes understand what The Big Mystery is all about.

Also reminds me how inconsequential Dubya, William Shatner, and brucie are. Just like I am.

However, it doesn't stop me from enjoying the hell out of watching the news footage of a gang of kids on motorbikes egging the US ambassador's limo in Caracas today. One might say the Bush administration was somewhat dismayed by that news, even if they were a bit distracted denying Scooter Gate.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 02:13 AM

I saw them once, when I was a kid in Racine, about 25 miles south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My brother lived on the north side of Milwaukee, and saw them quite frequently.
My wife saw them here in the Sierra Foothills north of Sacramento once - but I wasn't home that night. I've been to Alaska three times - a total of almost five weeks - and didn't see the Northern Lights. Heck, I hardly ever saw a clear sky during that time.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Ebbie
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 12:01 PM

Joe, you must have been in southeast Alaska! I tell people down south that they get far more full moons than we do- we can go for months without seeing one. That's how it is when you live in a temperate rain forest. To make up for it, it is beautiful and the air is moist and sweet and cool and breathable to your toes.

Like I said, if I were bent on seeing the Northern Lights I'd head north, where the skies are much more reliably clear.

During the peak years many Japanese come to the Alaska Interior for the viewing of the Lights. They say that it is a fortunate child that is conceived under the lights.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: GUEST,TJ
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 09:08 PM

I saw my first and thusfar only display a couple years ago in Newburyport, Massachusetts, while (of all things) on my way to a Richard Thompson concert. At first I thought that the red glow rising up from the horizon must have been coming from a big fire somewhere, but when I pulled into the parking lot and had a chance to watch it undistracted I became aware of the shifting and moving and flashing hints of other colors, a very different thing from fireglow. It was an amazing sight, and quite a few other concertgoers were also standing in the parking lot admiring it. Auroras do occur a few times a year this far south, but living where I do in the middle of the city they tend to get obstructed by artificial lights. I'd love to see one again.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 10:57 PM

I have seen them once.

It was like the end-of-the-world....an appocalypse

Multi-colored, hand-fingers, crossing the northern sky reflected on a northern lake in Maine.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

I count myself amongst the "blessed" have seen them....it goes into the catagory of fall-colors, wood-peckers, and "reading the rapids."


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 11:01 PM

I do not believe they are predictable - like an eclipse.

They are more on the order of "grunnion runs" something that MIGHT happen on a given beach, within a given five day window.....it is their ellusivness that genders their value.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

For me it was a "magical experience" and totally unexpected.


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Subject: RE: BS: seeing the Northern lights
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 Apr 06 - 02:17 PM

Gargoyle is right, imo. The 'experts' are good at alerting us to the potential for good viewing after a solar flare, but there are many variables, includng what time of the night - or day!- they will be visible. Interesting to realize that they are also out there in daylight- we just can't see them.

I have heard visitors to Alaska who complain that they were here three weeks and never saw the lights. They tend not to mention that they were indoors every single night, except maybe for 10 minutes each evening while they scanned the sky.

There is no alarm clock that lets us know they are out there.

I remember one time - 11:30 on a really cold night - when I had already dressed for bed and happened to look out the window. I put some warm clothes back on and headed down the hill to a small park where there are no artificial lights. Spent an hour down there before they started fading.

Keep in mind that sometimes they fade, say at 11:00, (although I've often seen them as early as 7:00) but then come back again at say, 2:00 AM)

Not only do the lights shift and move and flare and ebb and change color and intensity but they look almost liquid. Like flame, except nothing is pointed. I love the way they paint the landscape, the trees, the houses, the mountains, the snow.


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Mudcat time: 16 September 6:04 AM EDT

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