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Cor2277
09-11-2007, 10:06 AM
Hi! This is my first time posting on the MWO forum, but this fall will be about my 8th time backpacking in the White Mountains. Traditionally, my dad and I hike Mt. Washington, but this time we'll be hiking into Crag Camp with a good sized group and will probably summit Mt. Adams. Although I'm big into backpacking my trips are always in the summer....this will be my first fall attempt. What I'm really excited about is the possibility of seeing the Aurora Borealis. I know it can be seen from even down in the valleys in NH in the winter, but I was wondering if October was a good month for it. If it is, my dad and I are gonna strap on headlamps and possibly summit at night. It's a huge dream of mine to see the Northern Lights, so if anyone has any information they could offer I'd be really grateful. Thanks!

Bill O
09-11-2007, 12:02 PM
October is a better than average month for seeing the northern lights.

I have to admit though, its a total crapshoot seeing the northern lights in NH. In this part of the world they are only visible a few nights a year and the odds of it being cloudy are pretty high.

If your life long dream is to see the aurora you're gonna have to go north, much farther north. Otherwise you just have to get lucky.

On the other hand. If I had to pick a location in NH to see the aurora it would be on top of Mount Washington. That's your best chance. Plus, if you are prepared a night hike it could be worth it with or without the aurora.

Patrad Fischroy
09-11-2007, 01:41 PM
While it is a crapshoot to see the aurora, you can improve on your odds(at least in the forecasting) by going to www.spaceweather.com . There they have some short-term forecasts for geomagnetic storms and some views on upcoming sunspot activity that might trigger future storms. FWIW, right now the sun is pretty clear of sunspots both on the near side and on the far side.

They also have a lot of other neat stuff there as well, well worth the time to check it out.

Bill O
09-11-2007, 02:44 PM
While it is a crapshoot to see the aurora, you can improve on your odds(at least in the forecasting) by going to www.spaceweather.com . There they have some short-term forecasts for geomagnetic storms and some views on upcoming sunspot activity that might trigger future storms. FWIW, right now the sun is pretty clear of sunspots both on the near side and on the far side.

They also have a lot of other neat stuff there as well, well worth the time to check it out.

I agree, Aurora are well forecast on a short term basis. Am I correct in saying that you might know an active period is coming a few days ahead of time. But if a flare comes toward the Earth you would have less than 12 hours to get in position. Assuming its strong enough to create an aurora at your latitude...and its dark.

Steve M
09-11-2007, 05:29 PM
Hi! This is my first time posting on the MWO forum, but this fall will be about my 8th time backpacking in the White Mountains. Traditionally, my dad and I hike Mt. Washington, but this time we'll be hiking into Crag Camp with a good sized group and will probably summit Mt. Adams. Although I'm big into backpacking my trips are always in the summer....this will be my first fall attempt. What I'm really excited about is the possibility of seeing the Aurora Borealis. I know it can be seen from even down in the valleys in NH in the winter, but I was wondering if October was a good month for it. If it is, my dad and I are gonna strap on headlamps and possibly summit at night. It's a huge dream of mine to see the Northern Lights, so if anyone has any information they could offer I'd be really grateful. Thanks!
I have seen the Aurora twice in my life time, once was while I was in Alaska, and the other was when I was living in CT. One night I think it was in the fall or winter of 1988, I was standing in my back yard, there was a tremendous show that lasted for maybe an hour. I really can't remember the details, all I remember was being in utter awe at the event.

Cor2277
09-11-2007, 08:23 PM
While it is a crapshoot to see the aurora, you can improve on your odds(at least in the forecasting) by going to www.spaceweather.com . There they have some short-term forecasts for geomagnetic storms and some views on upcoming sunspot activity that might trigger future storms. FWIW, right now the sun is pretty clear of sunspots both on the near side and on the far side.

They also have a lot of other neat stuff there as well, well worth the time to check it out.
Thanks for the website....I've been to the NOAA website before and have seen the forecasts. I guess I'll keep checking until the day we leave and hope for the best. Other than that...I'll start planning my trip to Alaska.

JimS
09-11-2007, 09:22 PM
Bill Hit the major points, but I think that the major overlying factor here is that we are nearing the solar minima on the sunspot cycle...without much solar activity, well, your chances are diminished.

http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2006/images/figpredic24-1.jpg

But it only takes one good flair, which can occur at any time...

Maksutov
09-12-2007, 01:16 AM
I first saw the Aurora Borealis in the wee hours of the morning while traveling from Rumford to Lake Webb back in 1958.

It was one of those late summer Maine nights where the fog was settling into the low points of the road, such that you dipped down into it and then rose out of it, sort of like flying through clouds.

I noticed that there seemed to be fog in the northern sky. But it was faintly multi-colored. Soon, we pulled over, turned off the headlights, and enjoyed the best display of streamers, searchlights, and shimmering curtains of color I've ever seen.

Patrad Fischroy
09-12-2007, 08:48 AM
I agree, Aurora are well forecast on a short term basis. Am I correct in saying that you might know an active period is coming a few days ahead of time. But if a flare comes toward the Earth you would have less than 12 hours to get in position. Assuming its strong enough to create an aurora at your latitude...and its dark.
And not too cloudy...

But, yes that is my understanding as well. Not to push too hard, but Spaceweather also offers a service where they will call you with an aurora alert and simultaneously email you as well. I do not subscribe as I live in an area of severe light pollution and can't see all that much most of the time.

Cor2277
09-12-2007, 10:35 AM
Thanks to everyone for all the info and stories! I didn't know that the sun's activity had anything to do with the aurora...I really don't know anything about it except that it's beautiful, but spaceweather.com is a really neat site! thanks :) I plan on doing a lot of research and checking updates for the next 5 weeks or so until we go up.

Bill O
09-12-2007, 11:42 AM
Yes, without the sun there would be no Aurora, amongst other things.

My best show was on Mount Washington in early November 2005. Veils and pillars covering the entire sky. Purple, pink and greens flickering on and off like a strobe light. It went on all night and I could see them out the basement window in the obs.

My first time was during that record breaking solar flare in October (2003 I think) where I could see some faint pillars in heavily light polluted coastal CT. This solar storm was so strong people in FL could see the Aurora.

My advice to you is to learn all that you can about the Northern Lights. You'll understand how they work and where/when you are most likely to see them. The next thing you know you will find yourself in the right place at the right time and you'll get an amazing show.

Patrad Fischroy
09-26-2007, 08:43 AM
From Space weather .com;

"AURORA WATCH: Northern fall has begun with a vibrant flourish of green--that
is, green Northern Lights. A solar wind stream hit Earth on Sept. 21st sparking
an intense, three-day display of polar auroras. Get ready for more: Another
solar wind stream is due on Sept. 27th or 28th. Updates and a gallery of
spectacular photos may be found at http://spaceweather.com . "

Patrad Fischroy
11-25-2008, 07:39 AM
Space Weather News for Nov. 25th
http://spaceweather.com

ISS TOOLBAG: A backpack-sized tool bag inadvertently dropped from the
International Space Station last week is orbiting Earth and has been sighted
from the ground. The tool bag is surprisingly bright, about 6th or 7th
magnitude, which makes it an easy target for binoculars or a small telescope.
Today's edition of http://spaceweather.com offers observing tips, sighting
reports and a movie of the bag in orbit.

AURORA WATCH: High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras tonight
and tomorrow. Earth is entering a solar wind stream and this could trigger
geomagnetic storms around the Arctic Circle.

Bill O
11-25-2008, 08:11 AM
Part of me wants to call BS on that story. It seems more like an infectious email from your mother-in-law than reality. Did you know that most people in China believe you can see the Great Wall from the moon? Making out the continents is hard enough from that distance, let alone a 50 foot wide wall obscured by haze.

Patrad Fischroy
11-25-2008, 09:45 AM
The source is pretty reliable, but it does seem to be a stretch. The interesting thing will be when it re-enters the atmosphere, that grease should give a different color fireball.

Bill O
11-25-2008, 09:54 AM
The source is pretty reliable, but it does seem to be a stretch. The interesting thing will be when it re-enters the atmosphere, that grease should give a different color fireball.

I accept that a small group of people are able to find and track that debris, but what happens is that every piece of space debris seen by anybody ends up being that tool bag.

Patrad Fischroy
11-25-2008, 09:57 AM
That's OK, I hear they are losing toolbags left and right up there;)

Brad
11-25-2008, 11:47 AM
Maybe there is a tag on the handle . . .