hangarrat
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Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Thu Nov 20, 2008 3:49 am

Did anyone else see the northern lights in the Mid-Atlantic US tonight (Wednesday, Nov. 19)?

I was at my parents' house to the southwest of Philadelphia when I noticed a light in the northern sky. Initially, I thought it was a beam from a searchlight, like the kind they use to draw attention to car dealerships and special events.

On closer inspection, I could see other similar lights within a 10 or 15 degree arc that resembled waterfalls in the sky. There were perhaps a half dozen at the most numerous. They were stationary in the sky, but varied in intensity. One of the lights was decidedly more intense than the others.

The lights were visible for 20-30 minutes between about 8:30 and 9 p.m. During that time, I watched them increase and then fade in intensity. I was also able to see aircraft passing in front of the lights. They disappeared when cloud cover moved into the area around 9 p.m.

It was quite amazing to see at first and gave me a chill down my spine aside from the temperature in the low 20s.
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steeler83
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Thu Nov 20, 2008 4:36 am



Quoting HangarRat (Thread starter):
Did anyone else see the northern lights in the Mid-Atlantic US tonight (Wednesday, Nov. 19)?

I was at my parents' house to the southwest of Philadelphia when I noticed a light in the northern sky. Initially, I thought it was a beam from a searchlight, like the kind they use to draw attention to car dealerships and special events.

On closer inspection, I could see other similar lights within a 10 or 15 degree arc that resembled waterfalls in the sky. There were perhaps a half dozen at the most numerous. They were stationary in the sky, but varied in intensity. One of the lights was decidedly more intense than the others.

The lights were visible for 20-30 minutes between about 8:30 and 9 p.m. During that time, I watched them increase and then fade in intensity. I was also able to see aircraft passing in front of the lights. They disappeared when cloud cover moved into the area around 9 p.m.

It was quite amazing to see at first and gave me a chill down my spine aside from the temperature in the low 20s.

Hey, neighbor!!

Yeah, from what you described, it sounds to me that you saw the Northern Lights. I remember seeing them around this time of year back in 2004 or 2005 while back at Millersville. Were you in an isolated area, far from any lit areas?

Southwest of Philly, eh? Where exactly were you? I am up in Exton...
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EWRCabincrew
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Thu Nov 20, 2008 4:44 am

Here is a good website for where the Aurora Borealis will shine. Looks as if it was them, too.

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/pmap/index.html
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hangarrat
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:13 am



Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 1):
Southwest of Philly, eh? Where exactly were you?

My parents live in Wallingford, which is near Media. I actually live in Lansdowne and was checking on their house while they're away.

Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 1):
Were you in an isolated area, far from any lit areas?

It's definitely suburban there, so it's not isolated. But it's also not the most brightly illuminated area. A couple more miles down Baltimore Pike and you get into some areas that are arguably rural.

Quoting EWRCabincrew (Reply 2):
Here is a good website for where the Aurora Borealis will shine. Looks as if it was them, too.

Yeah, it looks like it could be possible, but we're right on the southern fringe. Are we having a period of more intense activity at the moment?
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dragon-wings
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:23 am

If I knew I could of seen them I would of looked. Can't belive I missed them.  Angry
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hangarrat
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Thu Nov 20, 2008 6:24 am



Quoting Dragon-wings (Reply 4):
If I knew I could of seen them I would of looked. Can't belive I missed them.

Well, I don't know where you are, so I can't guess at what you might have seen, but I can say that the show I got was not exactly spectacular. Fifty or 60 miles from here, where it's nice and dark, it might have been a decent aurora. If you were my next door neighbor, I'd say you didn't miss much.

What I could see was just unusual enough for me wonder what I was looking at for a second. In that sense, it was kind of spooky.

It is still dark out for four or five hours tonight. If you can stand the cold, you might still see something.
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EWRCabincrew
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Thu Nov 20, 2008 6:34 am



Quoting HangarRat (Reply 5):
If you can stand the cold, you might still see something.

If anything, your breath.  duck 
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vikkyvik
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Thu Nov 20, 2008 6:59 am

That's awesome. I've only seen them once. A couple years ago, they headed pretty far south just like yesterday. I lived near Boston at the time, and I went to the local airport to check it out (only place where there's a large, flat, treeless field). I could see a green glow on the northern horizon, but no details. Still pretty cool!

Living in the greater LA area now, there's no chance. Even if they did migrate this far south, it'd probably be hard to see over the ambient light.

But we did get the space station and shuttle (docked) flying over this evening! That was pretty cool....
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Dogbreath
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:21 am

Sounds fantastic. But don't tell the 'greenies', they'll blame it on global warming.
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Blackprojects
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Thu Nov 20, 2008 3:12 pm

This was Visible over the North Atlantic / Greenland on the 9th of November.

http://www.spaceweather.com/aurora/images2008/09nov08/Brian-Whittaker1.jpg?PHPSESSID=o4e8q0b1aqsgsvjtkh661sj590

If you visit www.spaceweather.com they have Aurora Galleries.

[Edited 2008-11-20 07:16:53]
 
Cadet985
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:01 pm

Glenn Schwartz on Channel 10 here in Philly said that it was some other strange phonomena called virga - snow that doesn't reach the ground. I'm not sure if I buy that though....he also said that the Northern Lights are inactive this time of year, but as good as he is (and I'll be watching his winter outlook tonight), I believe the NOAA in this case more.

If anyone cares to see the story on NBC 10's site, here is the link... http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/weath.../stories/Planes_Rains_or_UFOs.html

Marc
 
hangarrat
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:20 pm



Quoting Cadet985 (Reply 10):

I'm not sure I buy it either. I want to see Schwartz do the physics on this. What time was the moonrise last night? How high would the virga have to be in order to be so starkly illuminated?

I've seen noctilucent clouds before, and they didn't look so otherworldly.

Here are some more photos of the phenomenon.

http://davidwei.smugmug.com/gallery/6602941_gEt9m#420733736_yDF2w

I saw only a portion of what these pictures show.
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EWRCabincrew
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:24 pm

I am fortunate the be able to get a cockpit view during the night when I work. When I see the lights from the cabin, I'll go to the pit to catch a view for a bit. I also let customers know (the ones that are awake).

The AB are truly some of the most amazing things I have ever seen.
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AverageUser
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:51 pm

The phenomena pictured in the reference in #10 are definitely not Aurora Borealis. They are never really inactive, just invisible due to light conditions, global or local. The phase of solar activity (that 11-year cycle) has a great effect on the frequency away from the poles. Since we're at the minimum now, they'd be very unlikely that far south anyway.

I'd describe the standard variety low-intensity Aurora Borealis as a very thin ragged veil that's floating in mild summer breeze, only that the veil is eerily self-illuminating in a greenish colour. The veil may appear to stop for a while, then proceed and change places in the sky, or disappear / reappear altogether. They may be quite localized or seem to cover the better part of the sky.

[Edited 2008-11-20 12:56:26]
 
Blackprojects
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:58 pm

AURORA GALLERY

http://www.spaceweather.com/aurora/g...PSESSID=a9nj0daet6es97lgfgbnjv48d7

Glenn Schwartz on Channel 10

WHO I have never herd of him. Sounds like he is Talking Non-sense.

This is the one I use for the US part of the World.

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/pmap/index.html


For the UK I use this one.

http://www.dcs.lancs.ac.uk/iono/aurorawatch/rt_activity/
 
hangarrat
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:14 pm



Quoting BlackProjects (Reply 14):
Glenn Schwartz on Channel 10

Glenn "Hurricane" Schwarz is one of our local weathermen here in the Philadelphia area. In the UK, you don't have the phenomenon of local TV weathermen with the BBC/ITV semi-monopoly on broadcast television.

Each local television affiliate has a news program that covers all the local crime, politics (badly), local sports and weather. The weatherman or -gal is usually a character in some respect. Schwartz's schtick is that he's a total weather nerd complete with bow tie.

For more on this, watch "Anchorman" for Steve Carell's weatherman Brick Tamland or "LA Story" for Steve Martin's Harris K. Telemacher, AKA the Wacky Weatherman.
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dragon-wings
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:01 am



Quoting HangarRat (Reply 5):
Well, I don't know where you are, so I can't guess at what you might have seen

Im from Long Island NY (about 45 miles east of New York City). Since I am north of you I figured I would be able to see something.
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hangarrat
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Fri Nov 21, 2008 4:41 am

Here's a really good explanation of what was going on Wednesday night:

http://www.accuweather.com/mt-news-b...illars_in_northeast_last_night.asp
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fbgdavidson
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:42 am



Quoting HangarRat (Reply 15):
Glenn "Hurricane" Schwarz is one of our local weathermen here in the Philadelphia area. In the UK, you don't have the phenomenon of local TV weathermen with the BBC/ITV semi-monopoly on broadcast television.

Sure we do. ITV and BBC have regions:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITV#Franchise_details
The BBC split England up into 12 regions.

Quoting BlackProjects (Reply 14):
AURORA GALLERY

http://www.spaceweather.com/aurora/g...PSESSID=a9nj0daet6es97lgfgbnjv48d7

Glenn Schwartz on Channel 10

WHO I have never herd of him. Sounds like he is Talking Non-sense.

This is the one I use for the US part of the World.

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/pmap/index.html

But then your link shows the Aurora Borealis as being nowhere near Pennsylvania  Confused His explanation was more likely than the AB.
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A346Dude
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Fri Nov 21, 2008 6:31 am



Quoting HangarRat (Reply 17):
Here's a really good explanation of what was going on Wednesday night:

http://www.accuweather.com/mt-news-b...t.asp

I'm going to have to agree, as there is no mention of widespread auroras on spaceweather.com. The Sun has been very, very quiet these last few months so auroras in the mid-latitudes would be unlikely.

It will be a couple more years before the Sun reaches the peak of its 11-year cycle and hopefully brings plenty of auroral activity to the northern US and southern Canada.
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Blackprojects
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:57 pm

On the NOAA Aurora Oval the Light Blue Area is where the Aurora can be seen!
 
4holer
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:00 pm

Actually http://www.spaceweather.com has a story with pic about these "false auroras"...
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A346Dude
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:09 pm



Quoting BlackProjects (Reply 20):
On the NOAA Aurora Oval the Light Blue Area is where the Aurora can be seen!

Not true, it needs to be pretty much red to see anything.
You know the gear is up and locked when it takes full throttle to taxi to the terminal.
 
Blackprojects
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:32 pm

No you are not Listening The Aurora Oval the Light Blue Area on this not on the Geomagnetic Scale which shows how Strong the Scale on the Right hand side Shows How Strong the Activity is.

While the Light Blue Oval Shows Where the Aurora may possibly be seen on a more regular basis.


http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/pmap/index.html

 old 

[Edited 2008-11-21 13:37:36]
 
A340600
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:35 pm

I was flying back the night before that shot was taken on the 9th as a passenger just lazing and watching a film NRT-LHR after lunch. We caught up with darkness and there was a single and impressive strand of green across the sky. I caught some shots of it and being sat right on the wing the silhouette of that too. I'll post them here if I get time.
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Blackprojects
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:40 pm

Hi Sam you finnished Flying for your Company then?
 
AverageUser
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RE: Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US 11/19/08

Sat Nov 22, 2008 12:21 am



Quoting A346Dude (Reply 22):
quoting BlackProjects (Reply 20):
On the NOAA Aurora Oval the Light Blue Area is where the Aurora can be seen!

Not true, it needs to be pretty much red to see anything.

The background can be found in http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/Aurora/index.html .
You need two things: you magnetic latitude, and the activity index. In #23 the activity index was "1", the lowest value. The confidence factor was below 2, so it's considered a valid measurement.
At the end of the page http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/Aurora/index.html you'll find the relationship between the Auroral boundary and the NOAA activity level value explained.
For Philadelphia, for instance, the magnetic latitude would be 49, which would require a value of over 10 for the Auroral boundary to reach that far south.

Historical measurements can be found in text format on the NOAA site.

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