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Aurora Borealis

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I worked my way up to the Mouth of the Two Hearted River State Forest Campground. The weather was cold, rainy, and windy, and I was going to skip the Two Hearted in favor of doing laundry. But, the Two Hearted looked so charming when I looked at it from Reed Green Bridge, I unloaded the boat and started paddling. It rained, but I loved the Two Hearted, and the last couple miles through dunes and burned ghost forest, with the roar of lake surf and the wind whistling among the dead trees, were wild and beautiful.
I haven’t been in decades but Chip was there recently on his Michigan swing.
 
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We are having a very active Aurora season this year. I'm at 68* north, above the arctic in Norway and you see the lights every day. As soon as it gets dark (and it gets dark around 2:30pm now at the start of december) you will see a faint but long streak of aurora all over the sky from east to west. Some days it will start to move around a little bit and all of a sudden it gets much much brighter and sharper and starts whiplashing all over the sky in green, white and purple. This season we've had those powerful displays a couple of times a week at least. On the news they said that there was something special this year with the solar activity cycle that was peaking and that this will cause great displays of aurora even far down south. I'm no expert but from what I've gathered the aurora is a phenomenon that occurs at it's strongest when ejected particles from the sun hit's the earths magnetic field when it also hits it's cycle, the two must coincide somehow.

You can get a good aurora forecast at spaceweather.com.
It says that there is a potentially strong solar wind hitting the Earth on Dec. 7th or 8th.

If there is a massive Aurora then note it in your calendar and keep an eye out about 28 days later. This is about how long it takes for the sun to complete a revolution on it's own axis in relation to the earth. If the sun has a spot that is active over time then 27 or 28 days is about the time it takes for this spot to be facing us again.

I took this with my crappy phone camera a few days ago. As I was sitting by the campfire that night the aurora flared up very strong all over the sky 3 or four times before I went inside my tent. Even though I've seen it thousands of times through my life, a strong Aurora display is jaw dropping. The speed with which it moves, pulsates, whips and twists is absolutely wild. I woke up during the night and from within the tent it looked like the sun was about to rise but it was only 4am then and the sun doesn't rise before 10 am now. In fact, the sun will not rise at all after december 7 until about january 7.
 

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I live at 64 degrees North Latitude in interior Alaska. We get to see great Auroras sometimes. This winter it has been hit or miss because of cloudy snowy weather, if it’s clear, being outside waiting in -30 degrees F. is something I just don’t do much of anymore. When we were younger we had five Morgan horses that we fed many times each twenty four hours to keep their internal fires burning in the cold. The midnight feeding was the best for viewing the Aurora. Standing in the middle of a small herd of warm horses, watching the northern lights, smelling that good horsey smell is a cherished memory.
It is great to have a friend that works outside on night shift that will call you with any really good displays. Of course by the time you get bundled up to fight the cold the display can be over.
 
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