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January 09, 2014

Spaced-Out Alert: Northern Lights Moving South Tonight

Very far south, in fact.

I've been playfully mocking you ice-trapped morons for the better part of a week, but now the tables have turned as I am unable to witness a rare sight for much of the United States, the aurora borealis.

JeffBerkes2012photofromAssateagueIsland.jpg

Photographer Jeff Berkes snapped this faint aurora from Assateague Island in 2012

AccuWeatherNorthernLightsPrediction.jpg

Map courtesy Accuweather.com



If you live above approximately latitude 38N, you have a shot at seeing one of the greatest sights of the Arctic. That's because a very powerful earth-facing coronal-mass ejection erupted two days ago, which should push the viewing area of the aurora southward.
I've seen the northern lights myself only once, when I was a small child living in Baltimore. I remember a greenish glow above the horizon that cut through the suburban lights. I really can't stress enough how rare and memorable they are to witness, so if the clouds break and you're above the dotted line, I implore you to go outside and enjoy this rare treat.
The only viewing tip I have is to try to get somewhere away from city lights, and if that's not possible, at least where surrounding lights are blocked or shielded. The cold, drier air over much of the country will enhance the view. Also, if you have little luck in the evening, try again early tomorrow morning: the nuisance we call a moon will have set long before then.

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posted by CAC at 05:00 PM

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