U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Minnesota > Minneapolis - St. Paul
 [Register]
Minneapolis - St. Paul Twin Cities
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 01-24-2012, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Carver County, MN
1,395 posts, read 2,238,633 times
Reputation: 1241

Advertisements

So I keep hearing on the news about how there is supposed to be some huge northern lights show in the next few days (if the clouds ever go away). I have lived in Southern Minnesota for over 20 years and have never, once in my life seen these northern lights (an I live in the country away from city lights!). Am I missing something, are there certain spots where one goes to see them? Has anyone seen them in this area? I really want to see some.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-24-2012, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Earth. For now.
1,266 posts, read 1,827,770 times
Reputation: 1407
Growing up in the Twin Cities, I've seen the Northern Lights many dozens of times. Right in the city. But often people don't really know what they are looking at. I gave lectures at the Minneapolis Planetarium for almost 10 years in the '80's and learned that people often don't realize that what they see in the night sky isn't really what they think it is.

It is surprising that many times people will casually look up and see a "partly cloudy" night sky without even realizing that those faint "wispy clouds" are actually the aurora. The aurora often look very similar to high stratus clouds. They DON'T move as fast as some of the videos posted on YouTube do, which are usually filmed in fast motion.

Here's the clue: Can you see stars through those "clouds?" If so, it's probably the Northern Lights. Stand still and watch carefully! You might not see any colors at all. That is usually the case close to the city. If those "clouds" change shape slightly- sometimes shimmering - but DON'T drift from west to east (like most clouds around here) then it's likely the Northern Lights. PATIENCE! That's the key trick for looking for the aurora. Just take a few minutes out of your life and just LOOK.

Each display is different. Sometimes the aurora do shimmer rapidly within seconds. Sometimes it takes 5 to 20 seconds to change shape. Often you can detect a faint greenish color, which is the most common. If you are lucky, you'll see reddish or bluish tones. It's most dramatic away from city lights and AWAY from traffic noise. The silence is breathtaking.

Last edited by Astron1000; 01-24-2012 at 09:56 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-25-2012, 01:09 AM
Status: "I want justice...but I'll settle for some mercy" (set 10 days ago)
 
Location: Bel Air, California
21,851 posts, read 22,857,983 times
Reputation: 34557
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnesota Spring View Post
So I keep hearing on the news about how there is supposed to be some huge northern lights show in the next few days (if the clouds ever go away). I have lived in Southern Minnesota for over 20 years and have never, once in my life seen these northern lights (an I live in the country away from city lights!). Am I missing something, are there certain spots where one goes to see them? Has anyone seen them in this area? I really want to see some.
I have seen them a few times here in Central MN, it's mostly luck, some diligence on your part and stepping outside at the right time.

tonight's forecast is considered "extreme" and is projected as far south as us, unfortunately it's a bit cloudy right now although the radar shows a break developing right now over us. I plan on stepping out soon and having a look.

Aurora Forecast | Geophysical Institute

these were seen in Nebraska last October...
Aurora borealis shimmers over Nebraska



from Wisconsin on the same night...
Northern Lights brighten up Wisconsin night sky - 620 WTMJ - Milwaukee's Source for Local News and Weather

as I recall, it was cloudy here that night. Check the G.I. site frequently (daily) for updates.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-25-2012, 07:43 AM
 
1,114 posts, read 2,110,372 times
Reputation: 549
I've seen them (and recognized them) once or twice while growing up in rural west central MN. One night in particular they were pretty spectacular, and that was the first time I saw them (I was about 17 at the time). After that, I recognized more subdued versions a couple of time.

I haven't seen them since moving back to MN and MSP in particular, but, I haven't really stopped to look, either
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-25-2012, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Home in NOMI
1,635 posts, read 2,216,985 times
Reputation: 740
I saw them years ago out in the middle of the country - they were spectacular! If we get a clear, moonless night in the next few days it's definitely worth a trip out of town to catch the show.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-25-2012, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Carver County, MN
1,395 posts, read 2,238,633 times
Reputation: 1241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Astron1000 View Post
Growing up in the Twin Cities, I've seen the Northern Lights many dozens of times. Right in the city. But often people don't really know what they are looking at. I gave lectures at the Minneapolis Planetarium for almost 10 years in the '80's and learned that people often don't realize that what they see in the night sky isn't really what they think it is.

It is surprising that many times people will casually look up and see a "partly cloudy" night sky without even realizing that those faint "wispy clouds" are actually the aurora. The aurora often look very similar to high stratus clouds. They DON'T move as fast as some of the videos posted on YouTube do, which are usually filmed in fast motion.

Here's the clue: Can you see stars through those "clouds?" If so, it's probably the Northern Lights. Stand still and watch carefully! You might not see any colors at all. That is usually the case close to the city. If those "clouds" change shape slightly- sometimes shimmering - but DON'T drift from west to east (like most clouds around here) then it's likely the Northern Lights. PATIENCE! That's the key trick for looking for the aurora. Just take a few minutes out of your life and just LOOK.

Each display is different. Sometimes the aurora do shimmer rapidly within seconds. Sometimes it takes 5 to 20 seconds to change shape. Often you can detect a faint greenish color, which is the most common. If you are lucky, you'll see reddish or bluish tones. It's most dramatic away from city lights and AWAY from traffic noise. The silence is breathtaking.
Thanks for the info! I will have to keep an eye out if these dang clouds ever go away
They must be different, less vibrant down here than they are in places like Alaska and Canada because it seems like something that bright and colorful would stand out if it happened down here. Anyway, it will be cool to see none the less.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-25-2012, 03:18 PM
 
20,793 posts, read 54,965,438 times
Reputation: 10565
The clouds went away for a bit this morning but they are back. I would love to be able to see the Northern Lights here this week.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-25-2012, 03:54 PM
Status: "I want justice...but I'll settle for some mercy" (set 10 days ago)
 
Location: Bel Air, California
21,851 posts, read 22,857,983 times
Reputation: 34557
Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
The clouds went away for a bit this morning but they are back. I would love to be able to see the Northern Lights here this week.
apparently last good chance this week is tonight, best time is 2 to 3 hours around midnight. Naturally moonless nights are best and last Monday was the "new moon".

Auroras tend to run on an 11 year cycle and the last peak cycle was 2000/2011 so there should be plenty of upcoming opportunities as demonstrated with the recent sun spot activity.

Haven't seen many reports in the lower US on last nights activity but evidently Europe had quite the display. stupid Europe.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-25-2012, 05:50 PM
 
1,853 posts, read 3,651,490 times
Reputation: 1206
The Northern Lights are so beautiful. Especially in the BWCAW out over the small lake you are camped on. No sound except for the loon, the beaver swimming by, the water is calm. We can look up at them for hours it seems, not even wanting to go into the tent for bedtime. The sky overhead is black as black can be, laced with the dim shafts of moving dancing streatching long and tall across the northern sky, always moving, suddenly reappearing.

One Saturday several years ago we headed up to one of our favorite small remote intimate lakes, about 45 miles north. We have been here before now in the late fall the temperature is chilly. In the back of my truck are about 2 or 3 pallets that I had sawn up for firewood, on this daytrip.

The lake had steam rising from its surface, and beyond that about 1/4 mile away several wolves had been calling. The northern lights appeared shortly after that, we stayed well into the night, feeling its chill whenever we left the warmth of the fire. Finally after many hours at 3 or 4 am. we decided to douse the fire with water and head for home. With our buckets we went to the waters edge only to discover a thin film of ice had formed during our stay, had surprised us.

What a glorious evening spent together, with lifetime memories.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-25-2012, 08:30 PM
 
Location: MN
3,835 posts, read 8,352,293 times
Reputation: 1832
I've seen the Northern Lights a few times while I lived in Duluth. They were the lime-green kind. It was pretty obvious. I was actually leaving an establishment at 1 am and noticed the Northern Lights.

The first time that I saw the Northern Lights was in late October in Northeast Montana. It was crazy!!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Minnesota > Minneapolis - St. Paul
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top