Old 9th November 2004, 02:47   #1
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So did anyone see the aurora borealis last night?

For the last couple of days, solar storms have been "extreme", sending at least one solar flair right at earth (and another that should've hit tonight), giving extreme aurora borealis (northen lights) as far south as FLORIDA. Finally got to see the northern lights for the first time in my life last night, and it was extremely cool. One guy on the radio called in from Florida, reporting that it was showing beautifully. Another guy, some 55 years old, reporting that it was the first time in his life that he had got to see it. Several pictures from a few places around the US can be seen here, on the space weather site, which also gives info on the current storms on the sun.

Very cool stuff. Where I worked Sat and Sun, is on a strip mine (which is being reclaimed). NO outside light polution. HUGE open area, with only a few small hills. In clear nights, the "haze" from looking into the Milky Way's thicker parts (ie: looking towards or away from the center of our galazy, as opposed to looking "up" and "down" from it, away from all the thckness of the stars) can easily be seen. The entire horizon (all the way around) on the 7th had a beautiful green-ish blue "haze", and looking towards the north (easy to find north, given the north star) had waves of white moving from north to east and west, and hues of orange and red flow from north to south.

Anyone get to see it and/or take pictures of it? I would've tried if I had known about it being out and what-not, but, my camera doesn't take exposures longer than maybe a 10th of a second...

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Old 9th November 2004, 03:53   #2
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thanks for letting us know about it after the fact.
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Old 9th November 2004, 03:59   #3
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Gee, I wasn't HOME untill after the fact... And it's still going on now.

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Old 9th November 2004, 04:05   #4
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sorry.

too bad it's cloudy here tonight, how long is it supposed to last?
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Old 9th November 2004, 04:08   #5
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Untill the sun's storms die down. ie: no idea.

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Old 9th November 2004, 04:35   #6
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so there will be more tomorrow? How long does it take for the radiation to get here from the sun?
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Old 9th November 2004, 04:46   #7
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The more powerful the explosion, the quicker it gets here.

The fastest travel at about 1000 km/s, so, about 41 hours to get here, and upto a day to pass through. Light, on the other hand, takes 8.3 minutes to get here from the sun.

And if you read the space weather site:

AURORA WATCH: A coronal mass ejection (CME) is heading for Earth. When it arrives, perhaps tonight, it could trigger a geomagnetic storm and auroras. Stay tuned for updates.

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Old 9th November 2004, 04:51   #8
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so what are the chances that this freaky explosion from the sun nails some poor sap with a bunch of radiation thereby endowing him with super human powers?

it always happens because of something like this. I can smell a new superhero.
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Old 9th November 2004, 04:55   #9
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It.. doesn't work that way. The earth's electromagnetic field protects us. We get the aurora from the north and south poles (aurora borealis and aurora australis) due to the magnetic field being the weakest at the north and south poles. The aurora occur when the Van Allen radiation belts become "overloaded" with energetic particles, which cascade down magnetic field lines and collide with the earth's upper atmosphere.

More precise:

The origin of the aurora is 93 million miles (149 million km) from Earth at the Sun. Energetic particles from the Sun are carried out into space along with the ever present hot solar wind. This wind sweeps supersonically toward Earth through interplanetary space at speeds ranging from 300 to over 1000 km per second, carrying with it the solar magnetic field. The solar wind distorts the Earth's magnetic field to create the comet-shaped , plasma-filled magnetosphere. The terrestrial magnetic shield acts as a barrier, protecting the Earth from energetic particles and radiation in the hot solar wind. Most of these energetic particles are deflected around the Earth by the magnetosphere, but some get trapped. Electrons trapped in the Earth's magnetic field (the magnetic mirror effect) are accelerated along the magnetic field toward the polar regions and then strike the atmosphere to form the aurora. Auroras are most intense at times of intense magnetic storms caused by sunspot activity. The distribution of auroral intensity with altitude shows a pronounced maximum near 100 km above the Earth.


Read more here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora_borealis

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Old 9th November 2004, 22:12   #10
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It's too bad you guys don't get to see them that often. Here in Minnesota, they pop up quite a lot, especially in the northern part of the state. They are super cool.
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Old 9th November 2004, 22:20   #11
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Saw them faintly, but ambient light from Milwaukee drowned out most of their beauty.

powered by C₂H₅OH
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Old 9th November 2004, 23:41   #12
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So to see them, we would look in the general north direction?

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway.
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Old 10th November 2004, 01:05   #13
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I have looked tonight, but so far nothing.

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Old 10th November 2004, 02:13   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by mikm
Saw them faintly, but ambient light from Milwaukee drowned out most of their beauty.
I'm on Milwaukee's east side, I saw some stars and a cloud.
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Old 10th November 2004, 02:35   #15
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Originally posted by CaboWaboAddict
I have looked tonight, but so far nothing.
It's a clear night, and I didn't see anything either.
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