Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Aurora Borealis May Illuminate Midnight Skies Over Western Mass.

Tuesday and Wednesday nights may see rare displays of the Northern Lights dancing over Western Massachusetts.

The phenomena is well-explained in an article by S. P. Sullivan at Masslive.com:

A burst of plasma sent forth from the sun during Sunday's eruption will hit the upper levels of the Earth's atmosphere. The effect, known as aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, will be "curtains of light shimmering in the sky" as particles in the air, mainly oxygen and nitrogen, are ionized, according to Stephen E. Schneider, head of the astronomy department at the University of Massachusetts.

"Take a look for the glowing, rippling pink or green colors," Schneider said. The lights are expected to first appear sometime late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, though estimating an arrival time for solar plasma can be difficult.

Here's a link to Sullivan's article about this uncommon cosmic event, with tips for photographers: http://www.masslive.com/living/index.ssf/2010/08/northern_lights_to_light_up_western_mass_skies_tuesday_and_wednesday.html

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ehopestill said...

I found your blog while trying to brain storm where to watch the show, if there is one. The best idea I've come up with that has a clear Northern view is the french king bridge. Do you have any better ideas. All the best views I can think of are East, West, or South.

I know people mostly go to Mt Pollux for stargazing but I thought there might be too much ambient light when looking past Umass.

Mark T. Alamed said...

There are some pull-offs along Route 2 (the Mohawk Trail) west of I-91 that may be good possibilities for viewing, including the parking lot of the lookout tower in Greenfield (if they don't mind you parking there for a few).

Further west, there are areas near the hairpin turn in North Adams that may be good bets for a wide-open northern view.

Good luck in your quest for the Northern lights!