Oh, is tomorrow the first day of the triffids?
As Earthlings have been going unconcernedly about their business this week, the biggest radiation storm for a decade has been lashing the planet. A mighty "solar tsunami" event on Sunday caused vast clouds of particles to belch from the Sun in our direction, and these have been piling into the planet's magnetic field since …
Has anyone actually seen the Northern Lights? I'd like your opinion.
I have, in Iceland, earlier this year (before the unpronouncable erupted). They were frankly......rubbish (however, it was a full moon which may have swamped the lights a bit). It was a faint grey smudge to the naked eye. However, with a 30 second exposure on an expensive DSLR, the chap next to me got your typical postcard picture of a beautifull green shimmering cloud!
Now, every photo I've seen of the lights, if you look carefully, you can see over exposed street lights, house lights, lights on cars etc indicating a long exposure. The link given in the article shows some photos - with 30s exposures!
Could someone tell me, under the right conditions, are the northern lights/aurora really as spectacular to the naked eye as all the pciture postcards suggest? I feel somewhat conned to be honest!
I saw the Northern Lights in Iceland last year while walking through Reykjavík, the green display was clearly visible over the streetlights and was spookily over the graveyard we were walking past. I then took one of the excursions out into the countryside at night to view the display and although we saw the lights they were much dimmer, but watching the ribbons of light develop in the sky is amazing. I'd admit that the postcards do seem to be long exposure photos, but what I saw was close enough,
Yes they are spectacular. The entire sky can turn red, green, purple with dancing curtains of light. It's easily visible to the naked eye, and can be very bright too - when in the right place at the right time. Just that most of the time, the right place is not the UK as we are at low of a magnetic latitude...
Under the right conditions, they're better than the picture postcards.
On the day before the 2003 solar eclipse, there was a big auroral storm visible from all over Europe, which we witnessed from the seafront at Binz in Ruegen/Germany. Not exactly a dark spot, yet the aurora clearly showed colors, green, red and purple. One could see the green curtains hanging along the northern horizon and moving just about at the speed that you notice it clearly, and then red vortexes, streaks and purple streamers developing and changing very quickly all the way up to the zenith. The display lasted over two hours.
I say "better than pictures" because in reality, the curtains and streak appear much sharper and better defined than the pictures. And you get that ghostly motion, much of what happens is just about at the threshold where you can see it creep along, and of course there's no sound. The colors are paler than in the pictures though, dimmer parts appear grey.
I've spend countless hours under the skies, enjoying astronomy, but never experienced similar before or since. So, yes, "under the right conditions".
What irks me to this day is that although we were five amateur astronomers on a trip to see & photograph the solar eclipse the next day, we had been at the pub drinking before and noone was carrying a camera around. No, what we saw wasn't due to the beers.
In that sense, cheers to the next aurora !
In that case then, i'll be booking another holiday to Iceland!! Faith restored somewhat.
I think the guide wanted us to feel like we'd got out moneys worth as she said it was quite a good display (it really wasn't). But it did leave me thinking that it was all a bit of a con!
"Could someone tell me, under the right conditions, are the northern lights/aurora really as spectacular to the naked eye as all the pciture postcards suggest? I feel somewhat conned to be honest!"
Yes, but you'd need a really dark place, a winter night outside of light sources, preferable above the polar circle. If you can see a sky with full of stars and no lights on the ground, then you have a possibility.
If you can walk by the starlight, then you have the right conditions.
In any city flooded with artificial light? No. Not even in north.
Of course, there is a huge difference between unnatural WRONG AND EVIL radiation and natural GOOD radiation. This is why, for instance, sheep farmers in the lake district have not been able to sell sheep (BAD radiation from Chernonbyl) while we all enjoy a nice holiday in Cornwall (GOOD NATURAL radiation).
It's important to keep these distinctions in mind.
..mainly because it's concentrated in the infra-red bands (and the nearby waist-bands)"
We can protect ourselves from it quite easily using various "Oxy" washing powders that contain optical brighteners to both brighten our perception and reflect 99.9% deadly rays. Maybe.
This post has been deleted by its author
People in US are seeing this because of the way the continent faces the magnetic pole. I doubt anyone in the UK will see it, have a look at the readings here and see how low they are
You can also use this map and cross reference the kp number (which is currently 2.67) and see it would need to be around 9 for anyone in Southern England to see it.
Here is the last polar orbit of the auroral oval http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/pmap/pmapN.html
These were supposed to be visible around midnight last night but despite the relatively clear skies I didn't see a thing (Lothian)!
I have seen them once before, fairly faintly, (perhaps about 5 or 6 years ago) but I believe they can be quite spectacular. Can't stay up tonight though unfortunately, early start.
Had the same thing happen last time (1990?) there was a spectacular far-south display. On the climb out of Heathrow towards Belfast the pilot announced that "people on the RHS of the plane could see a spectacular display of the northern lights, really unusual this far south". I had a window seat on the LHS, and the seatbelt light stayed resolutely on. Bastards.
The "coronal mass ejection" events of the weekend were, however, thought likely to lead to spectacular aurorae visible much further south than usual in the northern hemisphere as arriving sun-belch particles poured along the planetary field lines into the polar regions and crashed into the atmosphere, so boosting the "northern lights"*.
You say the darnedest things.
This post has been deleted by its author
There was no Aurora last night anywhere, the 2 eruptions on sunday joined together and hit on tuesday night so there was never going to be another one, any plasma left just missed the earth, funny how sites like this and the national papers find out things like this way too late
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021