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Aurora borealis


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#1 kdh

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 02:38 PM

I was struck by this "year in pictures" shot in Alaska of the northern lights. Has anyone here experienced this?

Posted Image

#2 Ishmael

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 02:46 PM

I was struck by this "year in pictures" shot in Alaska of the northern lights. Has anyone here experienced this?

Posted Image


I grew up in Saskatchewan, you could have massive lights swaying all over the sky at any time of year. Magical.

#3 Salazar

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 02:48 PM

I was struck by this "year in pictures" shot in Alaska of the northern lights. Has anyone here experienced this?

Posted Image

I saw it years ago while sleeping out overnight next to a camp fire near Drayton Valley Alberta. I woke up, looked up and was startled, not knowing what I was looking at for a few seconds. I woke my friends up and we lay there watching them for an hour or so. Beautiful. Mostly green like this but with some traces of red, constantly changing, flowing from a single point, radiating outward it seemed.

We see them here in Cape Breton sometimes, but not nearly as bright or vibrant as this photo or that night in Alberta.



#4 Steam Flyer

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 02:50 PM


I was struck by this "year in pictures" shot in Alaska of the northern lights. Has anyone here experienced this?


I grew up in Saskatchewan, you could have massive lights swaying all over the sky at any time of year. Magical.


I've seen 'em as far south as Georgia, but it doesn't happen very often

FB- Doug

#5 Anomaly2

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 03:08 PM

Used to experience them all the time (lived in Alaska). Its one of those things that never grows old, never loses the sense of magic. Two of my favorite memories are of skiing at midnight in a muskeg meadow under a display and one Halloween night when the lights were particularly brilliant-- most often you get the green shown in the photo you posted but this night there were reds and oranges involved in the swirling, shooting show too. I remember at some point all of us, little kids and their parents, just stopped with the trick or treating and just stood in the middle of the streets looking up at the show going on.

#6 Tucky

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 03:46 PM

Seen them once in Maine, when I was young. Hope to see them in Newfoundland, when I am old.

In between, not so much.

#7 austin1972

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 03:49 PM

I've seen the green curtain type lots of times. Very cool.

The coolest aurora I ever saw was in 1994. I was going to college in WI and my roomie and I were driving back from a show at the Bradley Center, heading north on 41.
I see these weird colors SPIRALING around and thought that since the show was the Jerry Garcia Band that maybe some wacky smoke was messing with me.

I ask my roommate, who was driving, if I'm off my rocker. He looks and immediately hits the next exit ramp somewhere north of Allenton, WI. We pulled over and started watching. I think 'holy shit' was murmured more than a dozen times. It was end-of-times epic.

Less than 5 minutes later, Johnny Law pulls up behind us and asks what the hell we're doing. I tell him to look up.

We all just leaned against the car on a ramp off northbound highway 41 for the next half hour. Noone said a word.
A surreal moment that I'll never quite believe I experienced.

#8 Bad Andy

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 03:50 PM

Actually saw a very weak version on my first Mac race 7 years ago. The sky looked like a pale blue florescent light that was going bad and flickering. Thought I was sleep deprived till my dad pointed out what they were

#9 boomer

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 03:56 PM

Lived in Alaska in the early 70's for about four years.Got more then a few shots on slides that I still haven't scanned.
Probably one of my most memorable and quite unexpected was one night soaking in the pools at the Laird Hot Springs on a return trip to Alaska going up the Alcan in 1975.We had scored some hash and other good stuff in Prince George..it was a perfect time to break it out and made for a great evening light show.

#10 Beer Fueled Mayhem

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 04:07 PM

I've seen the green curtain type lots of times. Very cool.

The coolest aurora I ever saw was in 1994. I was going to college in WI and my roomie and I were driving back from a show at the Bradley Center, heading north on 41.
I see these weird colors SPIRALING around and thought that since the show was the Jerry Garcia Band that maybe some wacky smoke was messing with me.

I ask my roommate, who was driving, if I'm off my rocker. He looks and immediately hits the next exit ramp somewhere north of Allenton, WI. We pulled over and started watching. I think 'holy shit' was murmured more than a dozen times. It was end-of-times epic.

Less than 5 minutes later, Johnny Law pulls up behind us and asks what the hell we're doing. I tell him to look up.

We all just leaned against the car on a ramp off northbound highway 41 for the next half hour. Noone said a word.
A surreal moment that I'll never quite believe I experienced.


1994 in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, we were having a family reunion and saw the "lights".

#11 MoeAlfa

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 04:40 PM

Classic curtain phenomenon, upstate NY.

#12 Gatekeeper

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 04:54 PM

Picture sitting on the deck of a boat, in a small cove down the French River...late summer, no bugs, no noise, no light...a glass of rum in hand and and the whole thing framed by the Northern Lights.

I gotta shovel the driveway now. Sigh.

#13 memopad

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 04:59 PM

Late last summer we had a pretty good display while I was out sailing with the gf. There was actually enough light from the aurora to sail by, pretty neat.

#14 Soņadora

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 06:46 PM

Tough to see around the city, but pretty much anywhere else in MN you can see them in winter. There was a summer in the last 8 years or so that we were treated to them one evening while enjoying cocktails on the boat.

When it's really quiet, I swear you can actually hear them 'crackling'.

#15 PNW Matt B

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 10:13 PM

When it's really quiet, I swear you can actually hear them 'crackling'.

You can. It's like the visibility, the more north you are, the better the chance you'll hear them. Take a still, cold winter night, one of those completely silent times where the world shuts down, and you can watch and hear the aurora dancing. Sounds a little like bacon frying when it really gets going.

#16 blackjenner

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 07:07 PM

Saw this once, in Bellevue, Washington.

Now, it wasn't like the picture. It was quite faint.

I was out on a walk well past midnight. The sky was clear. I noted something in my peripheral vision (movement). So I unfocused my vision and just took the sky in and, there it was. Faint tinges of green, washing quietly across the horizon. It played about in the dark sky for quite a while. I just stood there, taking it in.

If we head north to Alaska, in a few years, as Kerry desires, we may get the deluxe show from the deck of Brigadoon.

#17 guns68

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 08:59 PM

I have seen them a few times. I know it's Alaska, but the best time to see them here in Kodiak is in the winter and it's overcast most of the time this time of year. Sure are neat when they are visible.

#18 two cold dogs

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 02:01 PM

I saw it from a plane flying back from Japan once. Really weird, I'm on a 747, up top in the smaller cabin, I have the whole row to myself so I lay down across all the seats and go to sleep. Some time later I'm awoken by 5-6 Japanese who've crammed themselves into my row to look out the window at the light show. They couldn't figure out why I was pissed off at them.

#19 Elegua

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 02:30 PM

In Nova Scotia and Labradore a couple times. The first time I couldn't figure it out - it was like the sun was still setting - except then I realized it was now 1am.

#20 deadbeatracer

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 05:25 PM

While anchored south of Desolation Sound, I got up to check the anchor and there they were! It was our honeymoon cruise. Woke up the wife and spent a hour or so cuddled on the deck watching. Still one of my cruising highlights!

#21 Maxx Baqustae

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 06:37 PM

Desolation would be good. When the light pollution from major centers ( by major centers I mean all of the south coast of BC & Vanisle) were there is a lot less with street lights et al to deal with.

We used to see them in the '90's all the time right in Vancouver, Howe Sound, the Sunshine Coast etc. I've seen them when after racing on Wed. nite race. Faint, but they're there if you know when to look. Nothing like having it gear up in a after dinner light show with a night cap. We used to expect them on Gambier Is. in Howe Sound.

The Aurora Borealis is a phenomena the occurs mainly when you get a lot sun spot/solar wind activity that is cyclical; every 11 years or so. And I understand it will be peaking in 2012 so maybe it will be a great year to see them. In our area anyway.

I miss seeing them but maybe this is the year!

Maybe a little help: http://www.aurorabor...t/solarmax.html

#22 Weyalan

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 09:44 PM

I've been lucky enough to see both the Northern and Southern lights (not at the same time, obviously): Nature at her most beautiful and awesome.

#23 hard aground

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 02:12 AM

Actually saw a very weak version on my first Mac race 7 years ago. The sky looked like a pale blue florescent light that was going bad and flickering. Thought I was sleep deprived till my dad pointed out what they were

Saw one like that a number of years ago too. Was in the middle of the night in the middle of Lake Erie. Would really like to see it with a ton of colours though.

#24 TeddyDiver

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 08:16 PM

Most winter nights when it's clear sky.. Night ends after a couple of weeks here 70deg N :)

#25 jocal505

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 08:52 PM

Saw them a few times from the Cascades in Washington State, once from Leavenworth in '64.

But about 1998, in Kozebue, AK, saw quite the show. (Air temp 35 to 70 below zero, the saltwater frozen six feet deep.) There were two playful sections, dodging around each other and they seemed to be relating, without blending or ever overlapping. I felt that I detected personalities: one smaller mass seemed playful, the other more lethargic.

I had bonded with a few local Inupiat tribesmen who came and got me to proudly show me the lights. Curiously, they offered that one could attract, (and that they had in the past attracted) the light's attention by whistling and carrying on from open countryside, but that you could not get buzzed by the lights in a city. I demonstrated a loud whistle and said "Come on, let's go do it" and they shrunk away looking terrified. I watched the show for hours, all alone.

#26 Ryley

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 09:17 PM

Was at mountain biking 'Dirt Camp' in Waterville Valley about a decade ago. My buddy Mike and I rode into town and could see them, not as clearly as some of the pictures but it was mesmerizing nonetheless.

#27 Boomberries

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 01:22 PM

Saw them once when I was in Naikoon Provincial Park, in Haida Gwaii (group of Islands in Northern BC). Magical and spiritual.

Here is a cool little Time lapse video of them taken in Finland.

#28 Ishmael

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 02:49 PM

This is a neat view from the other side of the aurora.



#29 tigger12

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 06:56 AM

I remember the first time I saw them--from my parents bedroom. Scared the crap out of me for a second--I was 6 or 7. Magical and spiritual.

Last time was at Saratoga Beach near Campbell River last September. It started out as just a haze, and then for a brief period there was one horizontal flickering neon line in the sky. Reminded me of the special effects from the Star Trek movie with the 'Nexus'. 30 seconds of mystery--and then gone.

#30 austin1972

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:20 PM

A significant CME occurred last night. Probably will get the brunt tomorrow during the day but it's a big ejection so there might be some glowing tomorrow night. Look north.
http://www.swpc.noaa...nlil/cme-based/

#31 Ishmael

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 02:06 AM

A significant CME occurred last night. Probably will get the brunt tomorrow during the day but it's a big ejection so there might be some glowing tomorrow night. Look north.
http://www.swpc.noaa...nlil/cme-based/


Oh, so that's why the cats are glowing.

#32 Cavelamb

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 08:44 AM

I don't care who laughs, I'm keeping my foil hat handy until it's over!

#33 austin1972

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 08:12 PM

Folks, it looks like this is likely to create an aurora borealis tonight. The protons are still very packed together.
Look north just after dark.
If you have a good camera and tripod, it might be worth setting up just in case!

edit - Greeves, you have a GREAT chance of seeing this if your clouds break.

#34 Whisper

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 12:38 AM

I was raised in Alaska and saw them frequently.

#35 6924

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 04:43 AM

Night Watch Gulf of St. Lawrence




#36 kdh

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:56 PM

Seen this last week in Iceland. Experiencing this is first on my bucket list.

Posted Image


#37 reis123

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 08:24 PM

Seen this last week in Iceland. Experiencing this is first on my bucket list.


I still haven't quite decided what is more breathtaking; what we can, or what we cannot see.

#38 thengling

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 12:39 AM

Here in Saskatchewan, you can see them any time of the year, but also go a long time without seeing any... this year's been pretty good. I have yet to see ruby coloured ones here however... The deepest ruby-red I've seen was on a road trip near Cheyenne, Wyoming, in July. I have seen them from as far south as La Grange, TX when I lived there: again, a rich ruby shaft to forever. It was 1:30 am, but I ran over to the neighbors and woke them up anyway.

#39 Soņadora

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:09 PM

many summers ago we were having sundowners in the cockpit and witnessed a rare summer northern light experience.




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