One of the advantages of living in Northern Minnesota is the ability to view the Northern Lights. I have the advantage of being able to easily get away from city lights, and Minnesota is nearer the magnetic north pole that the real north pole. You may wonder what your own chances are to view a beautiful display. Like all things it depends. However, there are ways to use the web to increase your chances, or at least understand what is your liklihood to see the Aurora Borealis.
The first tool you should familarize yourself with is Ovation Aurora from NOAA and Johns Hopkins University. The image given below shows that if it were not snowing tonight, I would have a pretty good chance around 11:00 p.m. (hint: when you hear there has been large sunspot activity, the liklihood of better Northern Lights displays increases). By using Ovation you can determine whether the displays are already large (and pushing south) in parts of the world where it is already night. Just imagine the world rotating, and pay attention to the red line and lines of latitude in the image given below (or on Ovation Aurora)
(click upon the image to view at full size ... post continues below)
Here are some other web sites worthy of your review:
- Tips on Viewing the Auroroa (figure our your relation to magnetic north)
- How to Photograph the Northern Lights
- The Northern Lights as Viewed from Outer Space!
Some of my favorite experiences in life include viewing the Aurora Borealis. Here is just one example ... Two Winters ago I saw a phenomenal display while driving from Marcell to Duluth, Minnesota at 4 am on a cold Winter's night. Although I was on a major US highway, I stopped the car and enjoyed the reds and greens as they danced across the sky. For ten minutes not another car came by. In the distance I could hear the water of a babbling brook. It was magic!
Here are a few photos from Wikipedia. Good luck!
(click upon the image to view full sized)