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December 13, 2006 2:37 PM   Subscribe

Last night there was a pretty cool coronal ejection that ought to be arriving shortly. When it does, expect Auroral activity as far south as Tennessee. (Or Northern Italy. Or New Zealand.) [Via MonkeyFilter]
posted by absalom (35 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks, but I just had one.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:40 PM on December 13, 2006


In other news, Helena got eight inches during the night.
posted by yhbc at 2:44 PM on December 13, 2006


Keep in mind the key word is active MAY extend that far south. Either way, with the Geminids meteor shower peaking overnight, it's definitely a good night to be outside.
posted by yupislyr at 2:44 PM on December 13, 2006


Err, if the Aurora Borealis gets as far south as New Zealand, we're all fucked. Now, if the Aurora Australis gets as far north as New Zealand, that's pretty cool.

Pedant? Why, sir, Pedant is not my middle name!
posted by eriko at 2:51 PM on December 13, 2006


He didn't SAY Aurora Borealis, he said "aurora activity", but thanks for playing.
posted by spock at 2:58 PM on December 13, 2006


="http://www.spacescience.com/images/spann/cme_impact2.gif">
Animation of CME and earth's magnetosphere
posted by spock at 3:02 PM on December 13, 2006


It's too bad it's so cloudy where I'm at. I've never seen the Aurora Borealis...
posted by brundlefly at 3:29 PM on December 13, 2006


Amusing anecdote: The first time my mother saw the Aurora Borealis, she was driving down an dark country road. She happened to catch a pretty spectacular example of the phenomena where the entire sky seemed to be lit up and pulsing.

After calling me up to let me know what she had seen, I mentioned that I had seen it too and it was very impressive. She seemed to be relieved by this. When I inquired as to why that would be, she confessed that she thought she was having an LSD flashback from her mis-spent youth.

Needless to say, my mom is Teh Awesome.
posted by quin at 3:43 PM on December 13, 2006


I don't get nearly enough Auroral activity.
posted by squasha at 3:51 PM on December 13, 2006


Of course, here in Portland we're not going to see a damned thing because it'll be overcast.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:53 PM on December 13, 2006


whoa whoa, where's the NSFW filter?
posted by jourman2 at 3:56 PM on December 13, 2006


Does anyone know if "Northern California" means San Francisco latitude or Redding?
posted by hammurderer at 4:06 PM on December 13, 2006


He didn't SAY Aurora Borealis, he said "aurora activity", but thanks for playing.

He said "Aurora activity as far south as Tennessee. (Or Northern Italy. Or New Zealand.)"

If the aurora moves south to New Zealand, we're screwed. The Aurora moving *north* to New Zealand isn't unheard of.
posted by eriko at 4:09 PM on December 13, 2006


Aurora, hole in ozone, greenhouse effect...more liberal sciance I say ! Do you want employement for the people or save a goddamn Aurora ?
posted by elpapacito at 4:15 PM on December 13, 2006


I used to know a really hot girl named Aurora. I wonder if she'd like to come over and look up at the night sky? I wonder if my wife would mind?

But I will be sure to peek up at the sky tonight to see what I can see though we've been having rain alot lately so the clouds may just screw the whole thing up.
posted by fenriq at 4:38 PM on December 13, 2006


Oh cool, I signed up for the space weather mailing list.
posted by Area Control at 4:41 PM on December 13, 2006


Are the astronauts in any danger?

Why can't we have an occasional thread without lame sex innuendo?
posted by jiawen at 5:00 PM on December 13, 2006


Thanks for the tip!
posted by owhydididoit at 5:16 PM on December 13, 2006


jiawen : Why can't we have an occasional thread without lame sex innuendo?

owhydididoit : Thanks for the tip!

Bwahahaha!
posted by quin at 5:22 PM on December 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


I thought auroral activity was illegal in Tennessee?

Are the astronauts in any danger?

Maybe they will come back as the Fantastic Four.

All kidding aside, why would this be visible in Tennessee, but not at comprable lattitudes in Northern China? I want some, to, dag-nabbit!
posted by Pollomacho at 5:41 PM on December 13, 2006


too, dammit.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:41 PM on December 13, 2006


It's always overcast in Portland when there's auroras. It's generally overcast in Portland most of the time. Since everybody's getting hissy about geography, may I point out that there's more than 1 Portland, and the one in Oregon was named after the 1 in Maine. Why yes, I do feel better now.
posted by theora55 at 5:56 PM on December 13, 2006


Jeez. Pedantic much?
posted by subaruwrx at 6:02 PM on December 13, 2006


About thirty years ago, Portland was in the path of a full eclipse of the sun. I very much looked forward to seeing it, but the result was really rather anticlimactic: the clouds got really, really dark for a while, and then got bright again. It was quite a disappointment.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:11 PM on December 13, 2006


now now, eriko and spock , play nice. ;)
with all the snarkiness aside (not that i don't fully appreciate it) i love aurora watching. i've been doing it for a long time, although when i moved to georgia, that pretty much cut me out of the loop. i'm in NY now, so hopefully if the city lights aren't too bright (fat chance) and the clouds clear up, maybe i can set my alarm for 2am when it's supposed to peak and get a glimpse.
posted by lisalisa123 at 7:16 PM on December 13, 2006


Yes, but will I be able to talk to my dead father through the ham radio?
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 7:55 PM on December 13, 2006


The last one I saw, I was dragging neighbors out of the house to show it to their kids, as it's pretty rare in our latitude, and I had to explain what it was to all of them.

Kids, lawn. What do they teach in the schools these days? Anything?
posted by unrepentanthippie at 8:03 PM on December 13, 2006


When I inquired as to why that would be, she confessed that she thought she was having an LSD flashback from her mis-spent youth.

Teh awesome.
posted by three blind mice at 8:28 PM on December 13, 2006


I got to see some Aurora in northern Arkansas a year or two ago during a period of particularly high CME activity. I was driving from Tulsa, OK to Springdale, AR and noticed the sky to the north was unusually bright, as if I were seeing city lights off in the distance. I thought I saw some greens and reds as well, but thought nothing of it for awhile, until a little while later when I noticed that the sky was still bright to the north, despite being in a very rural area, at which time I started to think the situation was a little strange, but still figured it could be haze, as there were a good number of small towns to the north.

Once I passed into Arkansas, I knew there weren't any towns close enough to cause that much brightness, so I called a friend of mine and had him check the various space weather websites, and he mentioned that there was a lot of auroral activity at the time, so I pulled over and watched the Aurora for a good hour and a half before it died down.

I was so skeptical because I had never seen aurora at that low a latitude, nor had I even heard of anyone seeing them in the area before. Even afterwards older folks from the area were very surprised.

A couple of days later there was another CME that kicked up some more absolutely beautiful aurora, this time even higher in the sky (at a lower latitude) than the one a few days before. In that one, I saw every color of the rainbow and all sorts of different formations..it was really neat. I was also calling everyone I knew to get them out of the house to watch, especially after it became bright enough to see over the city lights.

It would be nice if some of the storms could last a little longer this far south, though..they're always brief when they do happen.

For some reason, it always seems that the big storms are in the middle of winter...
posted by wierdo at 11:42 PM on December 13, 2006


I've seen the Northern lights once in Portland (pulsing deep red glow over a quarter of the sky), and once in Seattle (incredible multi-colored curtains over the entire sky).

So don't give up hope, SCDB!
posted by ottereroticist at 12:21 AM on December 14, 2006


I grew up in a native community in Northern Manitoba and as a kid I was told that when the Northern lights were out it meant the Wendigo was about. It was also said that whistling would make the lights dance and change colours but might also draw the Wendigo's attention.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 3:35 AM on December 14, 2006


FYI, the CME hit Earth today around 11am Eastern. So head's up to folks in Europe. Hopefully this storm lasts well in the night for North America too.
posted by yupislyr at 10:53 AM on December 14, 2006


Actually, I read it wrong and it struck at around 9am. Regardless, tonight will be the night to look.
posted by yupislyr at 11:00 AM on December 14, 2006


All kidding aside, why would this be visible in Tennessee, but not at comprable lattitudes in Northern China?

Because the aurora is centered around the geomagnetic poles (close to, but not exactly the same as the magnetic poles), not the geographic poles. The North Geomagnetic Pole is somewhere in the vicinity of Northwestern Greenland and Ellesmere Island, and is closer to Tennessee than to points at comparable latitudes in China.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:12 PM on December 14, 2006


<butthead> Huh huh, you said coronal ejection. Huh huh.</butthead>
posted by etoile at 8:56 AM on December 15, 2006


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