Sunday, 7 November 2004
|2124 - I saw an aurora|
Until I moved to Fairmont, I never lived north of 30 degrees north latitude. While that meant that I had reasonable climate most of the time, it also meant that I never had the opportunity to see the aurora borealis. Ever since moving to the frozen north, I'd hoped to correct that.
This evening, we finally had an auroral display. vakkotaur first commented, as we got back home from dinner, that there was a haze in the sky, but it might be an aurora. A little bit later, his dad let him know that there was an impressive display in the sky in Merrill, Wisconsin, and we might want to go look. Paul promptly dragged me out of town a ways.
There was a strong, wispy glow mostly covering the sky from the northern horizon to about 10 degrees south of the zenith, with smudges of glow all the way to about 30 degrees past zenith. It changed slowly, but noticeably once we watched for a while. It was pretty dense down toward the horizon, too. I couldn't see any color in it; Paul said he saw mostly deep red. He said it was an impressive display. I'll take his word for it.
Still, it didn't look like the shimmering curtain that's the usual description of aurora. I guess I'll have to catch another display the next time one is visible as far south as Fairmont.
current mood: satisfied
current music: Cast in Bronze - Medley (Tubular Bells/Phantom of the Opera)
One of these days I hope I'll go out and see the aurora borealis here in Iowa... but for now, I've only seen it once, while flying back from Japan, the one and only time so far I've been outside the US, in 1991. The great circle route back took us through darkness over Alaska, and when I looked out the window I could see a crawling green haze along the horizon, and realized that it must be the aurora.
We saw it too, on the drive back from Boise. Pretty, but not shimmery. Still, it had those tell-tale streaks in it, and you could see stars through it, which clearly differentiate it from the glow of a distant city.
According to our local weather anchor on the 10PM news ... IF we get far enough away from city lights, we can catches glimpses here in Iowa.