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February 17, 2011

Keep Watching the Skies
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 07:03 PM * 13 comments

According to the Union Leader, tonight will be a grand night for seeing the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) here in New Hampshire.

Alas, tonight I’ve got rain and freezing rain forecast, so I’m not going to see much of anything. But those of you who live in places with a clear view of the northern horizon might get a show. These will supposedly be visible in much of North America, including the northern United States, following some goodly solar flares Monday and Tuesday.

Comments on Keep Watching the Skies:
#1 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2011, 07:36 PM:

This is just ASKING to get eaten by a triffid.

#2 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2011, 07:48 PM:

Anyone in the Portland, Oregon area know if we'll get a glimpse? Or is it too much wishful thinking? (been looking for a website that has a map of viability or info on the same. Any suggestions?)

#3 ::: Bruce Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2011, 08:31 PM:

Keith Kisser:

The local forecast for the west side of Portland, where I am, is for partly cloudy skies all night. There's currently maybe 25% cloud cover, mostly on the western horizon (although I have a large hill to the east that blocks my view of that side).

I'd suggest getting as high on a hill as you can, for maximum sky area. If you're on the east side of the city, go up on Mt. Tabor or Rocky Butte. Here on the west side, go to the top of Council Crest.

#4 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2011, 09:17 PM:

The photo of the flare on APoD is impressive. It's the bit with the vertical white stripe: it overloaded the detector.

#5 ::: MacAllister ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2011, 10:06 PM:

Keith @2 and Bruce @3 - I'm a ways north of you both in Bellingham WA, and just climbed out on the fire-escape to take a look at the sky. We can just see the moon, big and muzzy through the clouds. I'm afraid the NW may be out of luck for the Aurora, from how it looks here. I'm tempted to put the windows in the jeep and drive an hour inland to see if skies are clearer, there.

#6 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2011, 10:49 PM:

The map and updates at SpaceWeather will tell you how far south- and how bright - auroras might potentially reach. It's also a good website for meteor showers and other watch-the-skies events.

#7 ::: Thomas Smith ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2011, 11:40 PM:

Here's another aurora prediction site...

They seem to aggregate predictions from several sources, I like them.

#8 ::: Ralph Dratman ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2011, 11:14 AM:

"This is just ASKING to get eaten by a triffid."

Where is everybody? Mom? Dad? Why is it still dark?

#9 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2011, 09:38 PM:

I checked this site too late to know what was going on even if there'd been anything to see. Here in Renton, I had all I could do trying to figure out when the moon would rise and whether there'd be a clear spot to see it. I do love my moonrises, but both local papers have gotten reticent on the announcement of their timing; I had what I thought was a good timetable bookmarked, but it just went west. Anybody know a reliable site that'll tell me when the moon rises any given day in Seattle?
1st time I ever saw an auroral display, though, in Anchorage, I didn't have to have anyone tell me what it was.

#10 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2011, 10:10 PM:

Answering my own question, almanac. com seems a good one--and the clouds in the east are starting to show that gray glow...

#11 ::: paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2011, 11:01 PM:

Angiportus, on my way to work this morning, I got a really beautiful view of the full moon. I get in the car at around 5:35 a.m. and I'm in Kansas City, MO,

It was beautiful. and it was more beautiful because, as opposed to yesterday. I remembered that the main road I usually take on my last leg into the office was closed due to water main work.

#12 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2011, 11:52 PM:

It was a beautiful moonset this morning.
(I have rain tonight. Started before 4pm, and is going to be most of the weekend.)

#13 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2011, 03:18 AM:

Ralph @8

A story set in England, and vast swathes of the country are not beset by heavy clouds, fog, and rain...

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