Northern Lights

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by HellonWheels, Nov 8, 2004.

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  1. :D :D :D
    Weatherman! The Aurora Borealis was out tonight! I've never seen them before, as I moved to this Southern clime as a child....

    What are they, and does this mean anything in the bigger weather picture? Also, very unusual cloud formation that just sat in one spot just north of the big moutain today.

    Does this mean a good and cold winter? Exceptional skiing perhaps?
  2. The Aurorae (in the north and south) are essentially damned big flourescent light bulbs. Energetic particles in the Solar Wind are 'channeled' by the Earth's magnetic field and they descend into the polar regions. When the particles collide with atoms in the atmosphere they increase the energy of some of the electrons in atom. These, after a short time, return to their original energy level and emit light. A similar process is also used in lasers.

    It is unusual to see an Aurora this far south, it is usually indicative of high levels of activity on the Sun's 'surface', such as large flares, sun spots, etc. There is an 11 year cycle to sun-spot activity, but AFAIK no-one knows why its 11 years and not some other number.

    It does tend to mean that there are problems with long wave radio reception
  3. Thanks for the explaination. It was amazing.
    8O :D
  4. It means "interesting" HF propagation and fluctuating earth potentials! (What do you expect from a Signaller?)

    I remember the first time I saw the Northern Lights properly from Northern Canada. Awesome.
  5. It is incredible - everyone should aim to see the Aurora at least once in their lifetime. Simply stunning.
  6. It's visible in central Ohio as well. I saw it last year, but not nearly as intense. Beautiful!
  7. As the lights should be visible tonight, I think I'll head up to the moutains to see if I can get a more dramatic show without the perpetual twighlight.

    Off to fill a thermos....... :D
  8. Cutaway

    Cutaway LE Reviewer

    Another good reason not to ask for Sp from the USAF then !

  9. They are indeed very beautiful. The colder the night the better the light show. I saw them on my 2 tours in Alaska.
  10. Sorry I didn't see your post till now HellonWheels, glad MikeMCC was there with the splan'in. I've been busy 'looking up'.

    the view from coyoteville:


    If any effect on weather...increased solar radiation...would seemingly enhance global warming...a chilling thought!

  11. No way does it look like that???!!

    I thought I saw it on a night move in BATUS this year, looked a bit green and wavey that was all, massively disappointed.

    Why does it get better when the weather is colder? It was about freezing point the night we saw it.


  13. That explained it thanks.

    Thought i was gonna get lots of witty replies along the lines of "try not looking at it through your night sight" or something.