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Evan
01-24-2012, 04:59 PM
There is a good chance of aurora tonight which may be seen as far south as the northern US states. A massive Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) occurred yesterday and is arriving as of this post time.

If it is clear have a look and take your camera out on a tripod. Set the camera, if possible, to ISO 400 or higher and the exposure to 15 or more seconds. With any luck we will have some cool pictures to look at.

It's actually clear here right now so I am hoping for a chance to get some shots tonight. If so, it will be the first aurora images in many years.

DFMiller
01-24-2012, 05:27 PM
Evan, I hope you get some good pictures.
Its ark weather here, But only Day 3. ;-) only 37 more to go. :-(

Dave

Willy
01-24-2012, 05:40 PM
Thanks for the heads up Evan. I always check in on NASA's image of the day and this was the image for yesterday (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=76998)with a description of the unusual mount of solar activity as of late. Looks like we may be in for some increased activity for the next little while.

Actually I was going to post this yesterday but forgot.
It appears the lines of communications have already started to deteriate...at least in my case.:D

sasquatch
01-24-2012, 06:13 PM
All clouded over here, and chilly, low of -18c or, 0 F

aostling
01-24-2012, 08:47 PM
From Norway, some spectacular images here: http://news.discovery.com/space/big-pic-spectacular-aurora-norway-120123.html. I hope you get to photograph something like these green displays.

J Tiers
01-24-2012, 10:13 PM
Doesn't appear it will get to MO.....

Figures, sky's very clear...... the last time, it got to Georgia, but sky was overcast here for the duration.

DFMiller
01-25-2012, 11:36 AM
Evan ,
Did you see any Aurora last night?
Dave

Evan
01-25-2012, 11:55 AM
No aurora here up to about midnight. It was clear, sort of. I didn't bother with the telescope because the atmospheric turbulence was so bad that the stars were twinkling like turn signals. They were twinkling so much that they would catch my attention from peripheral vision. Totally useless for astronomy.

There is still a possibility for more tonight. The problem with forecasting aurora is that we cannot tell the orientation of the trapped magnetic field loops in coronal mass ejections. If they are the opposite of the Earth's field they reinforce the field and nothing happens. If the orientation is the same they destabilize the field and we get aurora. There is no technology that can determine magnetic field orientation without actually being in the field.

One of these days I am going to build an aurora detector. All you need is a "jam jar" magnetometer. Hang a bar magnet from a string inside a jar so it acts as a compass and isn't affected by air currents. On the magnet stick a little piece of mirror and reflect a laser beam from the mirror across the room. When the Earth's magnetic field is destabilized it will swing up to several degrees with a period of around 30 seconds. The bar magnet will swing and the light beam will deflect enough to be easily seen when projected to a far wall.

With a very little extra effort it can be automated with a light detector to sound an alarm when the laser beam moves off the detector.

BTW, there are sites out there on the innerwebs that sell these as "UFO Detectors". Naturally, they don't explain what they are really measuring...

Knires
01-25-2012, 02:27 PM
We are lucky here in Edmonton to have an alert system for them.

http://corona-gw.phys.ualberta.ca/AuroraWatch/

I was waiting for a red alert e-mail, but it didn't come until 3am. Growing up on a farm outside of the city we saw them often. Now I have to drive for 30 minutes at least to get a good viewing spot.

Seastar
01-25-2012, 03:10 PM
We see the Aurora a few times a year in the summer from our cabin on the Canadian Border in the arrowhead of Minnesota.
It's -20 dF there now and I am glad I'm in Florida where it's 75 dF and sunny.
I do wish I could see the lights though ----
Good luck Evan.
Bill

Evan
01-25-2012, 03:11 PM
When we lived in Edmonton we had many opportunities to see the aurora. My wife grew up on the family farm near Wildwood to the west and we often visited her family. Pitch black nights and beautiful star gazing conditions with nice low horizons in all directions. Most of the land is still in the family, owned by her uncle and brother.

I can't imagine a better location for an observatory, even now. It's still dark there and they still haven't paved the roads.

This is a recent view over her uncle's fields. They don't run cattle any more but they still produce hay.

http://ixian.ca/pics9/farmfield.jpg

Welcome to the forum.

Knires
01-25-2012, 10:53 PM
Thanks for the forum welcome. I am more of a reader than poster.

I grew up about the same distance away from Edmonton, but to the east. I have lots of memories of my father coming home late from playing in the family band and waking us kids up to see the northern lights.

My dad told me they were in the reds and oranges last night.