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Space Science

Northern Lights Not So Northern 23

Posted by timothy
from the run-outside-right-now dept.
Several readers have written with news of an unusual display of the Aurora Borealis, among them Georgie Porgie, who writes: "Crawl away from those terminals and step out side for a view of the norther lights... I am in Columbia, Missouri, USA Approx 39.9 N latitude and I am looking at the northern lights... Hope the networks are up tommorow... See what causes the lights at http://www.spaceweather.com/" fjordboy points to this excellent noaa.gov link, too.
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Northern Lights Not So Northern

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  • Pretty (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 06, 2001 @12:31AM (#2526233)
    More pretty pictures from the BBC [bbc.co.uk]
  • by CheshireCatCO (185193) on Tuesday November 06, 2001 @12:36AM (#2526248) Homepage
    I just saw them from within Boulder, CO (40 degrees N latitude). Yes, from inside Boulder proper, despite the city lights. So darker sky sites should have better luck. They were pretty identifiable as a pale green glow to the north. Unfortunately, they appear to be fading, now. So go out now!
  • My brother-in-law can see it driving through the Ozark's about 50 miles south of Harrison, Arkansas. Says it covers much of the sky with orange and purple light.

    Purty cool stuff.
    • I know it's rare to see the northern lights as far south as Arkansas.

      What really baffles me is the fact that someone saw those lights driving. I don't think they do that even up north.

  • by gnovos (447128) <.ten.deppihc. .ta. .sovong.> on Tuesday November 06, 2001 @02:44AM (#2526476) Homepage Journal
    I saw a giant green blob today too, here in San Francisco. It was from 8:15 to about 10:00. Reportedly it was caused by Pixar... Oh, and there was a strange Star Wars teaser before the blob started...
  • I was out most of this evening ( and early night - 11:00 PM CDT), and i did not see the lights. I am in Duluth, MN (47 degrees N lat duluth 46 degrees N lat) - i must have missed them. =(
  • I just got back from watching for about an hour. For most of the time there was just a greenish glow to the north and occaisional red patches that would fade after a minute or so. Then for about 10 minutes it went nuts. The green area developed prominent vertical streaks, and the red patches covered about half the sky. All thru the red were bright rays which would brighten and fade over a period of about 15 seconds. As quickly as it began it has quieted down. Here's hoping it does a bit more. I'm going back outside.
  • i could see the aurora from down here in winston-salem, north carolina! it was red, not the green i was hoping for. but still, it was an amazing event! just so happens national geographic just did an article on the aurora. did anyone see anything as remotely beautiful as what is in this article? URL = http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/data/2001/ 11/01/html/ft_20011101.3.html
    • Pictures! (Score:2, Informative)

      by mgarraha (409436)
      did anyone see anything as remotely beautiful as what is in this article?

      spaceweather.com has collected some pictures [spaceweather.com] taken by amateurs Monday night.

    • did anyone see anything as remotely beautiful as what is in this article?

      What I saw around 11pm EST from SE Michigan looked like the title image but fainter; vertical streaks of pale green filled half the sky, converging just south of the zenith. At midnight the display was smaller, smoother, and red. At 1am there was a low band of green.

  • try this again... (Score:3, Informative)

    by evacuate_the_bull (517290) on Tuesday November 06, 2001 @10:01AM (#2527117)
    the national geographic url is:

    http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/data/2001/ 11/01/html/ft_20011101.3.html

    (gotta love html ;) )
  • I spent several years going to the university in Fairbanks Alaska and I saw the northern lights frequently.

    What strikes me about these images is that the Aurora is very red in these images. The aurora was always green when I saw it. Rarely there would be a little red in it for a short time.

    The red color is very striking and very odd I wish I could see them from down here in the south. It took several years to get used to looking up and not seeing a green glow overhead. I miss the snow and the aurora, but I don't miss sub-zero temperatures all the time.

    • What strikes me about these images is that the Aurora is very red in these images. The aurora was always green when I saw it. Rarely there would be a little red in it for a short time.
      The red is caused by a higher energy effect. If I remember correctly, it is caused by Oxygen [alaska.edu] molecules. So during a CME [spaceweather.com] it's not surprising you would see red aurora.

      From Alaska.edu [alaska.edu]:

      All-red auroras are seen near the beginnings of large magnetic storms, and only during some of these. At such times, large numbers of electrons originating on the sun stream into the high atmosphere. There they strike oxygen atoms resident at altitudes 200 to 500 km and cause them to emit quanta of pure red light. Normal green auroras and green auroras tinged with reddish lower borders occur at much lower altitude, typically near 100 km. The electrons that produce these auroras are more energetic than those creating blood-red auroras so they penetrate more deeply into the atmosphere. During their passage through the upper reaches, these electrons also cause red emissions from oxygen atoms but the red color usually is so much weaker than the green that it is detected only with special instruments.


      Milalwi
  • I can't say that I've seen the ones you all are talking about... but I've seen northern lights on many occasions here in Michigan below the 45th parallel. Some are just minor, but two summers ago while I was vacationing, I was in the middle of a light show that took up the entire sky... Wow what a sight...
  • Red Aurora (Score:3, Informative)

    by winterstorm (13189) on Tuesday November 06, 2001 @03:06PM (#2528832)
    Last night in Edmonton, Canada the Aurora was incredible. However that is nothing unusual since we get to see the Northern Lights all the time here in the north. Last night was the first time I've seen the light RED however. The normal green kind were visible but there was a hazy red type as well. The lights were not the normal shape either; they did not appear to "dance" but at time made a large arc across the whole sky, the dispersed to make a huge crown in the sky with the red and green parts overlapping each other.
  • http://members.home.net/qcas/aurora/aurora11062001 .htm
  • I'm a flight medic on Staff One, the medevac helicopter in Columbia, MO. Just after taking off headed due north. The pilot and I were briefly mystified by the bright glow right in front of us, both thinking he left the spotlight on and it was reflecting off haze. As we headed away from city lights this thing was amazing. Brilliant red glow trimmed with green at the bottom. At times there were vivid streaks arcing overhead, north-south so I assumed they were aligned with magnetic field lines. Of course I didn't bring my camera that day....

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