Aurora alert

It’s predicted to be a good night to see the Aurora Borealis tonight for us northerners. If it weren’t cloudy out right now. If you’ve got clear skies and you live somewhere north of Iowa, you might want to take a peek in a few hours.


  1. says

    Right now, the geomagnetic north pole is near 80° 4′ 48″ N, 72° 12′ 36″ W, on the eastern edge of Ellesmere Island, northwest of Greenland.

    That means I, in Seattle, am still too far away to see auroras. Then again, I’m not freezing my pipes like you all are.

  2. Cuttlefish says

    Just took a look, after keeping one eye in the dark for half an hour (seriously, you have to dark-adapt, but you can cheat by keeping one eye covered for sufficient time–about 20 minutes)… stood outside in the cold in stockinged feet… and saw nothing.

    Years ago there were Northern Lights on the day we had trick-or-treat. Kids were stopped in the middle of the street, stayed from collecting candy by the utter gorgeousness of the aurora. Like phosphorescent paint being splattered on a crystal dome above us, it was indescribably beautiful.

    I hope tonight comes close.

    Keeping one eye shut just in case…

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    When I lived in Dah YooPee, the Aurora was common on clear nights. Nothing like shoveling snow, and taking a breather while watching the lights move around. One year they were going off on the Fourth of July, as a background for fireworks. Beautiful….

  4. kevinalexander says

    I’m at 45 deg. It’s just after 11:30, the sky is clear, the moon shines bright though the frost is cruel as the carol sings but nothing in the sky but said moon and a few stars bright enough to compete.
    I’ll try again in a few hours if my usual insomnia persists.

  5. thebookofdave says

    Too heavily overcast for me to see a thing. So you’ll just have to reap the benefits of the Great Polar Vortex and take a break from the Pipeocalypse to watch it for me, you lucky duck.

  6. krubozumo says

    At six degree south of the eqator I am not going to see any aroura. I have seen it once though….It was
    impressively elegant. Nature at its best.

  7. opposablethumbs says

    Too far south ever to see it for real – but hey, we had three straight nights of Stargazing Live with Brian Cox and Dara O’Briain, with live footage of the aurora shot from a plane over Norway (sadly, the programme finished shortly before the CME reached Earth :-(((((( ). It’s a pretty nice bit of science outreach, with a lot about getting actively involved and the genuine contributions non-professional astronomers make.

  8. musubk says

    I’ll take the opportunity to plug my live all-sky aurora camera located ~30 miles north of Fairbanks Alaska. The top image is straight-out-of-camera and the bottom has some processing to more closely resemble what you might see with your eyes. Click either for a large view. Updates every 10 seconds.

    It’s cloudy at the moment, but the clouds have been in and out so keep checking.

  9. hillaryrettig says

    Cuttlefish that was a truly gorgeous image – thanks.

    Does anyone know whether the lights will still be “on” tonight (Friday), and how far north in Michigan I would need to go to see them?


  10. says

    Ah yes, good old Aurora, the Roman goddess of the dawn. If only she could have taken her collegue YHWH with her to the trash heap of divine history.

  11. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    +++ WARNING — FIRE STORY +++

    Back in 200, I was sent out to the Clear Creek Fire in Idaho. Nice introduction to forest fires — went from 100,000 acres to 180,000 acres during the two weeks I was there.

    One of my jobs as an SEC2 was to check in with the roadblocks (which were being enforced by the Idaho Air Guard). So, every third day, I would make a 150 mile drive and liaise with the troops, as it were. The weird part was that my work day was 0400 to 1900 hours.

    One morning, I drove up to one of the passes where we had a check point. I expected to see lights on under the fly, one or two people napping, one or two awake as I approached in the pre-dawn darkness. Is that what I saw? No.

    Three bodies were laid, face up, on the road — feet down slope, heads up slope.

    I immediately doused my lights and drew close to the left edge of the road so that if someone started shooting, I could jump out and slide/fall down the steep 600-foot wooded slope.

    I shut off the engine and waited, radio in hand.

    Then one of the bodies sat up and waved to me, saying, “C’mere. You gotta see this.”

    I hesitantly got out of my rig and approached the three. “What’s going on?” I asked.

    “Lie down. You gotta see this.”

    So I lay down and, for the next hour, until dawn, watched the aurora play across the entire northern half of the sky — greens and yellows, curtains of light. Magnificent.

    One of the two most beautiful things I have seen at a forest fire.

    +++ FIRE STORY ENDS +++

  12. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    I’m so sad that I won’t be able to see them in or near Toronto.

  13. Trebuchet says

    I think, based on the Bad Astronomer’s post, that the good night for this was Wednesday. I, of course, live in the Seattle area and can next expect to see the sky sometime after the Fourth of July.

  14. says

    I’m in Kotzebue, AK. I got my camera and tripod all ready for photographing but I didn’t see anything when I went to bed last night. I woke up around 2:00 a.m. and looked outside and didn’t see anything. It could be because there was too much light pollution. It’s supposed to be clear again tonight so maybe tonight I’ll see them.