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Thread: the Aurora Borealis

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    Default the Aurora Borealis

    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!

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    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.
    Bill
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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrad Fischroy
    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.
    Bill
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cor2277
    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.
    Steve
    Is there really any BAD weather???

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrad Fischroy
    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.

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    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/20...predic24-1.jpg

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

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    Default Re: the Aurora Borealis

    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.
    Why did I climb the mountain? Because I was there.
    - Mak

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill O
    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.

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    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.

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