Qn - Watching the Aurora Borealis around Chicago

vivek0072

Active Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2007
Messages
106
Location
Chicago, IL
Car(s)
Acura , TL.
I was reading about the solar storm headed our way and decided to look at the Geophysical Institute website to see if it was possible to watch the Aurora Borealis around Chicago, it does appear to be active on Wednesday and Thursday.

Does anybody know where would be a good place to watch it around Chicago ? I don't mind driving a bit north to Wisconsin.
 

jdwud

Active Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2008
Messages
127
Location
WI US
Car(s)
Oldsmobile Intrigue (rip), Ford Fusion
The main thing is get away from all the lights the darker the better. The next thing is trees you want as much open sky to the North as you can get. From google maps it looks like the area north and a bit east of Belvidere IL would be a good spot. Of course the more north you can get the better your chances are to see something. I have never seen the brilliant colors that you see pictures of, but I have seen the "Northern lights" in SE Wisconsin. They kind of looked like waves of fog in the sky.

I found a good spot to watch. It's North Boone High School just north of Poplar Grove. It has a wide open field on the north end of the school and it's not too close to a lot of lights.
 
Last edited:

Chaos

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2007
Messages
1,448
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Car(s)
'94 Acura Integra, '08 Infiniti G37 (Again)
Hmm.. my planned cruise to Alaska is now extremely convenient for this. I hope to see it...
 

mpicco

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 29, 2009
Messages
5,419
Location
Portugal
Car(s)
R19
:O

I wanna see this too!
Does anyone have any info as how south you have to be to see it? I'm at 40? N.. also is it over or would tonight (the night of the 4th to the 5th) be a good time?
 

vivek0072

Active Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2007
Messages
106
Location
Chicago, IL
Car(s)
Acura , TL.
Thanks for the tip jdwud, hopefully should see it tonight if it stops raining :).

lol @ jay's comment.

mpicco -I am not sure how far south it is going to be visible, but it will be active for 2- 3 days at least. Also we crossed the solar cycle minimum somewhere in 2008, it is only going to increase, reaching its peak in May 2013 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_Cycle_24).
 

toma_alimosh

Also known as "Myke Hunt"
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Messages
4,468
Location
The North American Foundry
Car(s)
2014 Volkswagen Jetta
Thunderstorms in the forecast for tonight ... damn. Why does it have to get so cloudy whenever something interesting happens in the sky?
 

Ramseus

Have you been high today?
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
5,605
Location
Derpronto
If it's clear tonight for anyone north enough the aurora should be strong again.

To figure out if you're far enough north to see auroras, check out the maps on this page. If you live on or near, say, the Kp = 5 line then you pretty much won't be able to see anything unless the Kp index (which is 0-10) is at least at a five.
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/Aurora/index.html#kpmaps

there's graphs and stuff that show the K index
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/rt_plots/kp_3d.html

and there's satellite pictures that show where the aurora is
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/pmap/index.html


This is what I saw last night. :cool:
http://pic.armedcats.net/r/ra/ramseus/2010/08/04/CRW_8405.jpg
 

mpicco

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 29, 2009
Messages
5,419
Location
Portugal
Car(s)
R19
Well since the article said it'd be visible as far south as Texas, and I'm way northerner than Texas I figured I could see it... so I drove to the highest mountain here (2000m) faced north... but all I saw was smoke from forest fires lingering low on the valley and nothing green at all in the skies

So whoever saw this consider yourselves lucky. I guess I'll be flying to norway or something in 2013.

edit:
GRrrr!! For some latitudes the same as mine (I'm in Portugal, about the same latitudes as lake Illinois) its visible but not for me. :cry:

28icgev.jpg
 
Last edited:

Pierc3

Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
Messages
37
Location
Bavaria
Car(s)
my dads VW CC and RVV busses
Great I just did some research and guess where the same latitude as mine is in North America, yes it is the border between Canada and the USA and still there was nothing to observe...
 

TBoneUs

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2007
Messages
703
Location
Texas
Car(s)
2008 VW GTI
Remember the magnetic pole and the geographic pole are not the same. As can be seen in the map mpicco posted you can see it much farther south North America due to the way the magnetic pole is situated. Notice how the Kp9 line runs through Kansas yet in Europe runs through Northern Germany.
 

mpicco

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 29, 2009
Messages
5,419
Location
Portugal
Car(s)
R19
Yeah there's certainly an "indentation" of sorts of the lines, but there's not an equivalent thing going on in Syberia, doesn't make much sense to me
 

Pierc3

Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
Messages
37
Location
Bavaria
Car(s)
my dads VW CC and RVV busses
I don't care about the magnetic north pole it's still not fair :p
I want to see it...
 

GRtak

Forum Addict
Joined
Sep 6, 2008
Messages
24,024
Location
Michigan USA
GRrrr!! For some latitudes the same as mine (I'm in Portugal, about the same latitudes as lake Illinois) its visible but not for me. :cry:

Where is this Lake Illionois you speak of????? (I assume you meant Lake Michigan)



I went north about 30 miles and could not see it. To much cloud cover one night, and just didn't see anything the other.
 

mpicco

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 29, 2009
Messages
5,419
Location
Portugal
Car(s)
R19
Probably. That lake up there where Chicago is. Too lazy to go check, I just knew it was named like the state it's next to :D

edit:
it seems I'm not the only one mixing those up... wikipedia redirects "Lake Illinois" to the Lake Michigan article, and then down in a section it says "In earlier maps of the region, the name Lake Illinois has been found in place of "Michigan"."
 
Last edited:

GRtak

Forum Addict
Joined
Sep 6, 2008
Messages
24,024
Location
Michigan USA
We hear that alot from peeps that visit from the south, and I always respond like I did to you.
 

mpicco

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 29, 2009
Messages
5,419
Location
Portugal
Car(s)
R19
Yeah okay but I'm not even american. If I were, and mixed up the name of the hugest lake in the continent, then I'd feel ashamed of myself xD
 

GRtak

Forum Addict
Joined
Sep 6, 2008
Messages
24,024
Location
Michigan USA
Yeah okay but I'm not even american. If I were, and mixed up the name of the hugest lake in the continent world, then I'd feel ashamed of myself xD

FTFY


The leonid meteor shower is this week.
 

mpicco

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 29, 2009
Messages
5,419
Location
Portugal
Car(s)
R19
FTFY


The leonid meteor shower is this week.

You're way too proud of your lake man:

Lake Michigan is the only one of the Great Lakes wholly within the borders of the United States; the others are shared with Canada. It has a surface area of 22,400 square miles (58,000 km2) (58,016 km?), making it the largest lake entirely within one country by surface area (Lake Baikal, in Russia, is larger by water volume), and the fifth largest lake in the world. It is 307 miles (494 km) long by 118 miles (190 km) wide with a shoreline 1,640 miles (2,633 km) long.
(yes I do count Huron as a separate lake.)
 
Last edited:
Top