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Old 11-16-2009, 02:55 PM   #1
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Seeing the Aurora Borealis

Page and I want to see an aurora. I realize that it would likely not be an Airstreaming activity, though, so I figure that it is as off-topic as you can get.

Can any of our Northern members offer any ideas? I have enough airmiles and some hotel bennies that could make the trip fairly inexpensive. And we have the time - a week max, though (after all, how long can us southerners sit around and wait for weather to cooperate?) But I want to have a good bet that the trip would be successful.

So what do you think?

Pat
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:36 PM   #2
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I have seen northern lights in upstate NY. But the further north you get the better they get.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:53 PM   #3
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I have seen them a few times while growing up in MT. I'll never forget it.

Here are some geek links. Northern Hemisphere Enlarged View.

The Geophysical Institute Auroral Forecast Page.

Timing is everything.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:00 PM   #4
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Northern Lights

Kenora, Ontario is a great place to view the Northern Lights. I used to fish Lake of the Woods in late September to early October and can't remember a time that there was not a spectacular show.

I also used to fly a route from the U.S to Europe on a regular basis. Would usually depart the U.S. at 1800 local time to arrive Frankfurt at 0800 local. When we would drift out over the North Atlantic the Northern Lights would zig and zag across the horizon for hours.

If you get a chance there used to be reasonable flights from JFK to Iceland in the winter. Do a quick round trip and you can see the Northern Lights and spend some time in one of the geothermal baths while in Iceland.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:30 PM   #5
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Thanks for asking this question-its on our bucket list and we have looked into going to Alaska but the cost puts it out of reach.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:47 PM   #6
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I've seen the Aurora as far south as the Grand Canyon during a hiking trip in April '89. Your best chance is around the Equinoxes, and near or within a couple of years after the peak of the 11 year sunspot cycle. The next peak should be 2010-2011, so perhaps a trip to Iceland or Alaska in the spring or fall would be in your best bet.
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:03 PM   #7
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We used to live in Walkerton, Ontario and say the lights quite often. We're now near Stratford, Ontario and see them less ofter. The best we ever saw was in Wiarton, Ontario in October a few years ago, the whole sky lit up.
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:28 PM   #8
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Here's one .
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:17 PM   #9
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I'm putting that on my bucket list, too.

:-)

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Old 11-16-2009, 07:21 PM   #10
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Heads Up
Newsguy says Leonid Meteor Shower 12am- 4am for the next few days.

Back in the Summer Of Love I saw all kinds of lights.
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Here's one .
-31 below, as I recall.
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:59 PM   #12
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The first time I saw them was in the mid 1950's in NYC! If you could see them there, they must have been incredible intense because you can't see the Milky Way there.

In 2006 we traveled to Yellowknife, NWT, in mid September, and drove about 20 miles north of town to get away from the lights around 2 am and watched them for about an hour. I wish we had brought chairs because standing looking up that long means a sore neck. Later that month we were in Eagle Plains, Yukon, on the way to Inuvik, NWT, and saw them again. It's a hit and miss thing and sure messes up sleep.

Yellowknife is an area where you can see them further south than Alaska.

Going to see them in the spring means very little night the closer you get to June.

There are websites with predictions of when and where to see them.

They are amazing even in the fall, but the best time is said to be mid winter, though -31˚ is kind of chilly, but no mosquitos.

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Old 11-16-2009, 08:11 PM   #13
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We see them here in Minnesota occasionally (Northern part of the state and as far south as the Twin Cities), but I wouldn’t bet the expense of a trip coming here just to see them. The colors I’ve seen range from white to a bright green, and can range in size from a fairly small spot in the northern sky to covering the entire sky overhead. Seen them while camping in the spring, summer, and fall, and from home in the winter. Always a treat when they decide to put on a display.
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:46 PM   #14
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This might help you out:

Aurora Borealis Activity Now. Here's Everything You Need to know.

Wikopedia also has a detailed discussion:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora_(astronomy)

... and yes - it can easily be an Airstreaming activity - get the right time of year and the right night, find yourself a northern campground (relative terms) that is away from the city, pick a lakeside site that faces north, bundle up and enjoy the show ...

Jay
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