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August 10, 2010 2:53 PM   Subscribe


 
But will peoples iPhones catch fire?
posted by Artw at 3:00 PM on August 10, 2010


Yeah, countless stories about this right now. I try to keep them away from the missus, since she's never seen 'em, and rainy weather here has prevented any chance. (OTOH, I grew up with them as an at least weekly occurrence)

We've been at the low point in the cycle in the past few years, though, and that is coming to a close.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:03 PM on August 10, 2010


Interesting that Nat Geo used the word "spawn" rather than "spark off" or simply "cause". It's kind of fun to think of auroras as the result solar ejaculation in the earthly stream.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:06 PM on August 10, 2010


Many may not realize this, but this is a fairly regular occurrence for many of us living north of the 49th parallel in deep winter nights. In January and February you can actually hear the sky crackling if you're outside of town.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:21 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


You need to get on message, dude, it's a solar tsunami. How are you going to get anybody panicked if you don't use the scary lingo?
posted by briank at 3:22 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Many may not realize this, but this is a fairly regular occurrence for many of us living north of the 49th parallel in deep winter nights. In January and February you can actually hear the sky crackling if you're outside of town.

Yes! I used to drive between Regina and Lethbridge for weekends a lot, which is basically 6 hours of being in the middle of nowhere. Some nights we just had to pull over for a while and gawk.

Now I am in southern Ontario and miss the northern lights a lot, and these stories are making me little-kid-at-Christmas excited!
posted by bewilderbeast at 3:36 PM on August 10, 2010


I've only seen them once from the Twin Cities (45th parallel). I was out every night last week hoping to see them, but I got nothing for my effort. Curse you cloud cover!
posted by Think_Long at 3:45 PM on August 10, 2010


Sioux Lookout, Ontario, June 1976. Band had a night off so we went to the drive-in. Halfway through the movie the screen got lighter and lighter like someone left their headlights on. Saw people getting out and looking up to a wild aurora borealis. Wasn't the greenish curtain undulating on the horizon I saw in books; this was a fierce orange and practically overhead.
posted by hal9k at 4:17 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wasn't the greenish curtain undulating on the horizon I saw in books; this was a fierce orange and practically overhead.

Yeah, back in 2003 I lived in Kent, CT. There were a number of predicted aurora nights, we went out and watched, nothing. A few days later, I jumped on SpaceWeather on a lark and there was a message that said something to the effect of "ZOMFG AURORAS EVERYWHERE RIGHT NOW!". I walked outside and the entire north sky, from the horizon all the way to directly overhead, was solidly blood red.

I hope I get a chance to see that again as we inch back towards solar maximum.
posted by rollbiz at 4:36 PM on August 10, 2010


I think the post should have probably been a little more clear that this was an event that took place earlier this month and that we're not in the midst of a big storm. It's pretty easy to miss the "published on" date in miniscule font. No need to put out the lawn chairs... the space weather is pretty quiet right now
posted by crapmatic at 4:43 PM on August 10, 2010


Astronomers, next time, please let us know during the solar storm. Telling us about it afterward is like describing the terrific meal you just ate with a bunch of people you did not invite us to join.

Thanks in advance.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:39 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I live too far south to see these now, but I saw my first aurora from the roof of Van Allen Hall.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:39 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, I know not everyone on the Blue follows the Green, but there was this.
posted by devinemissk at 5:41 PM on August 10, 2010


Well, I know not everyone on the Blue follows the Green, but there was this.

D'oh. I didn't see that. Van Allen Hall is probably one of the worst places to see anything in the sky, anyway, what with it being in the middle of downtown (and you need a key to get to the roof).
posted by dirigibleman at 7:00 PM on August 10, 2010


D'oh. I didn't see that. Van Allen Hall is probably one of the worst places to see anything in the sky, anyway, what with it being in the middle of downtown (and you need a key to get to the roof).

Oh, I didn't see that either, I wish I had, I know just the place. When I took my undergrad science course (in Van Allen Hall, which back then was just known as "The Physics Building") my professor claimed that he personally examined the entire county with a light meter and the darkest spot with the least skyglow from nearby towns was chosen as the site of the Hills Observatory. I've been out there (a long time ago) and it was damn dark, out in the middle of nowhere, with unobstructed horizons. The Hills Observatory was decommissioned a few years back and the University is trying to sell the land.

Alas, I couldn't find any online references to its exact location, and I can't remember the exact location either. I could only find a vague assertion it's near Hills off 218. It's quite a ways off 218, to avoid car lights. But anyway, a quick call to the Physics & Astronomy Department will surely get you someone that knows the precise location and how to get there.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:40 PM on August 10, 2010


Wow, they're just so beautiful. I hope to see one in person someday.
posted by NoraCharles at 9:09 PM on August 10, 2010


spaceweather.com, just now: "AURORA WATCH: A coronal mass ejection (CME) propelled toward Earth by a solar eruption on August 7th has yet to arrive. With each passing hour of no-impact, the odds of geomagnetic activity lessen. This CME is probably too slow-moving to deal a strong blow to Earth's magnetic field. Even so, high-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras through August 11th."

so, this is the notification that there may be aurora sightings. Thanks, gman. I've seen them a couple times, and it's amazing, and would love to see them again.
posted by theora55 at 9:40 PM on August 10, 2010


This happens. I blogged about it back in 2003.
posted by hubs at 9:49 PM on August 10, 2010


I've never seen one but it's totally on my bucket list. Wish I could get up to a northern latitude right now.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:50 AM on August 11, 2010


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