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Old 11-16-2009, 09:33 PM   #15
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We've Had Them in VA...

I had the great priviledge of seeing an amazing Aurora five years ago this month. I was dating a guy up in Loudon County in northern Virginia, and it was the first week of November on a cold, clear night. My elderly, blind dog had wandered off and we were outside at midnight beating the bushes for Bo-Bo when the sky suddenly started it's own light show . It was simply phenomenal and definitely ranks high on my list of favorte happenings, right up there with seeing the Grand Canyon. The colors were so brilliant that I fear pictures would have looked fake. I was surprised at how many purples, golds, greens, and hot pinks were in the color spectrum, as I had always expected ti to be more about white/yellow streaks, but on that particular night/temp/atmosphere, the purples were outstanding! We saw them for about two hours and then i had to drive home for work the next day...but by then they were trailing off. The really intense stage ony lasted about 90 minutes....and reminded em of a sldie show where hte slides "fade in" and then "fade out" in rapid succession.

For a couple of years I glued to the Internet chasing Aurora's, trying to duplicate the experience. I would sit up all night in various locations hoping to see one again, but it has not happened. Now I am of the mind that they can't be predicted too well, and that if ya luck into one, you are a very lucky person!

Poor Bo-Bo was not found until the next morning, hung up in a briar bush and none too happy, but I certainly had a remarkable evening!
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Old 11-16-2009, 09:44 PM   #16
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WHOaaaaa

Come on up. It's amazing, and never taken for granted.

My first whoaa moment was while taking off piloting Cessna (aluminum, duh) out of Fairbanks at night. MrsSafari and I both spotted it at same time and WHooooooaaaaaa! That's cool!!!

We can see the lights and Russia from our back yard.

Ya gotts to see this!
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:43 PM   #17
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Seems that the Aurora also seems to coincide with COLD. Get north in the cold months, get to a dark sky (meaning no city to light up the night), get on your cold weather gear, get outside.
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Old 11-17-2009, 12:30 AM   #18
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Like Safari64, I have had a few "whoaa" moments in northern BC (54 degrees latitude)when I used to do rural patrols in the hinterland--no city lights and often moonless so it was pitch black in every direction, except for the awesome light shows in the sky. The bands of color can really move fast, and they were just like the photo provided above, by Mike Leary. Even when the northern lights weren't showing, the intensity of the stars and the bands of the Milky Way were beyond belief!
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:12 AM   #19
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The lights have been seen as far south as Davis Mts. in Texas. It was an extraordinary sunspot activity year. Alaska in the summer is not a good time to see lights...not enough dark. We saw an interesting display out over Lake Huron from Brights Grove, Ontario, but I still have not seen the "shimmering curtains" type of display.

Paula
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:24 AM   #20
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We see them regularly in the winter and we are at 53 degrees N Latitude (Canada/US border is at 49 N Lat).

One trip that people might consider is flying to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and then taking the train north to Churchill, MB. On that trip you could see both the Aurora Borealis AND polar bears! It's a popular destination.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:29 AM   #21
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The places where you can see the aurora regularly are not uniform around the globe, so Yellowknife is a good place to go as they seem to come further south with the curtains of shimmering light there. That's why we went to Yellowknife (besides wanting to see it), but they do come further south and I have often read of people seeing them in Minnesota.

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Old 11-17-2009, 08:52 AM   #22
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NevadaGeo,
I do distinctly remember that the night we were searching for the dog was UNUSUALLY COLD for VA at the beginning of November, at or below freezing....I was miserable and would have stayed out watching the lights longer had I not been frozen stiff...
They are truly a marvel.
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:19 AM   #23
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When I first saw this, I thought, "what a shot". Turned out some geek kid made it on his Mac. Still, well done.
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:37 AM   #24
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Thanks, guys - all your suggestions have fanned the blaze. I think it has to be a far-north trip in order to increase the odds. We had thought of flying to Fairbanks and going to Chena, perhaps. Iceland would be an attractive alternative and could be economical due to their financial situation (which was even worse than ours!).

Winnipec to Churchill is really not that far away from us, in the grand scheme of things - I'll do some research on that.

I'll bet Eagle River or Yellowknife would be prime spots too. Boy, I'd like to get this done. Perhaps the General would even give me a few pointers in capturing a photo or two.

Pat
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:14 AM   #25
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That is one of the best trips we've done; up the Canadian Rockies, through Alberta to Yellowknife. What great scenery and people! We stopped in Peace River for laundry and Bess attracted half the town and numerous invites to dinner. It is a early spring/late fall trip, the horseflys are nasty from Hay River north!
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