Dec
15
2006

Best. Night. Ever!

Aurora, 12/14/06: Photo by Eugene Dillenburg.
Aurora, 12/14/06: Photo by Eugene Dillenburg.

Did anybody see the northern lights this week? I went out Thursday night, and it was awesome!

I headed out about 11:00 pm EST. Temps in the mid-40s -- not bad for mid-Michigan in mid-December! I walked a couple of blocks to a park near my apartment which I knew had a big field surrounded by trees, and no lights. On my way, I could see the sky glowing a pale green, as if the lights of the city were reflecting off a low cloud. Only, there were no clouds last night, and there's nothing but farmland north of Lansing.

When I got to the park around 11:15, the glow became more intense. You could see individual "fingers" of light. I called my girlfriend on my cell phone. She watched from the balcony of her apartment. and even over the lights of her parking lot, she could see it.

I decided to run home and get my camera. By the time I got back around 11:45, the light had faded somewhat. But instead of fingers, I saw waves of light pulsing across the sky, like the skin of a cuttlefish. Way cool! I pushed the settings on my cheap little digital camera to the max, and got a few pictures.

And if that weren't enough, as an added bonus, in between aurora events, I saw several meteors -- the tail end of the Geminid showers. Best ight of sky-watching ever!

A little after midnight the clouds started rolling in. So I went home, made some hot cocoa, and typed this up.

Lansing is pretty far south for the aurora, but this was the best I've ever seen. I can only imagine what it must have been like up in Minnesota!

And -- best news of all -- I got another Aurora Alert e-mail from the University of Alaska:

"Another event occurred on the 14th from the same active region on the sun. It will arrive at 2pm... on the 16th GMT [London, England time]. So watch the sky tonight, the 14th, probably the 15th and again on the 16th."

I encourage everyone to get out and watch for the northern lights -- they are beautiful! And, you don;t have to wait until midnight -- any time after nightfall will do. Just try to get somewhere dark and away from city lights.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Gene's picture
Gene says:

Here are some much cooler photos of the flare and the aurora. And remember, there should be more Saturday night.

posted on Fri, 12/15/2006 - 8:27am
bryan kennedy's picture

I guess it was too cloudy here in Saint Paul to see anything. I was out at the airport watching planes land and I couldn't even see the planes until several hundred feet above the ground because of the thick clouds. I'll have to watch again on Saturday.

posted on Fri, 12/15/2006 - 11:12am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I saw it here in Upstate NY! I have never seen this before and it was fantastic.

posted on Sun, 12/17/2006 - 7:41pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

It was cloudy in Michigan all last weekend. Did anybody see the aurora anywhere else?

posted on Tue, 12/19/2006 - 8:34am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Cloudy, for the most part, here in St. Paul, too. I did stand around in the backyard a bit all three nights, but with the clouds and the light pollution, I didn't see a thing. :(

posted on Tue, 12/19/2006 - 11:07am

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