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> Aurora Borealis Over Mid-Atlantic US on 11/19/08?
HangarRat
post Nov 20 2008, 08:28 AM
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Did anyone else see the northern lights in the Mid-Atlantic US last night (Wednesday, Nov. 19)?

I was at my parents' house near Media, Pa., to the southwest of Philadelphia when I noticed a light in the northern sky. Initially, I thought it was a beam from a searchlight, like the kind they use to draw attention to car dealerships and special events, only it wasn't moving.

When I found a clearer view, I could see other similar lights within a 10 or 15 degree arc in vertical bands that resembled waterfalls in the sky. There were perhaps a half dozen at the most numerous. They were stationary in the sky, but varied in intensity. One of the lights was decidedly more intense than the others.

The lights were visible for 20-30 minutes between about 8:30 and 9 p.m. During that time, I watched them increase and then fade in intensity to the point that only a single band of light was visible as a dull glow. I was also able to see aircraft passing in front of the lights. They disappeared when cloud cover moved into the area around 9 p.m.

It was quite amazing to see at first and gave me a chill down my spine aside from the temperature in the low 20s. I'd be interested to hear whether anyone else spotted them.


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bubbles
post Nov 20 2008, 10:54 AM
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I live in Phx, so No Lights for me.
But that is awesome! I didn't even know that you could see the Aurora over there.
That's cool though. smile.gif


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AnthonyS
post Nov 20 2008, 04:09 PM
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QUOTE(HangarRat @ Nov 20 2008, 09:28 AM) *
Did anyone else see the northern lights in the Mid-Atlantic US last night (Wednesday, Nov. 19)?

I was at my parents' house near Media, Pa., to the southwest of Philadelphia when I noticed a light in the northern sky. Initially, I thought it was a beam from a searchlight, like the kind they use to draw attention to car dealerships and special events, only it wasn't moving.

When I found a clearer view, I could see other similar lights within a 10 or 15 degree arc in vertical bands that resembled waterfalls in the sky. There were perhaps a half dozen at the most numerous. They were stationary in the sky, but varied in intensity. One of the lights was decidedly more intense than the others.

The lights were visible for 20-30 minutes between about 8:30 and 9 p.m. During that time, I watched them increase and then fade in intensity to the point that only a single band of light was visible as a dull glow. I was also able to see aircraft passing in front of the lights. They disappeared when cloud cover moved into the area around 9 p.m.

It was quite amazing to see at first and gave me a chill down my spine aside from the temperature in the low 20s. I'd be interested to hear whether anyone else spotted them.


There was quite a bit of commotion over this. Weak solar activity pretty much ruled out the Aurora solution. Eventually a consensus was reached between NWS employees, TV-Mets, and other organizations that the cause was ice crystals (virga) refracting moon and surface light into pillar like structures, called "light pillars."



Anthony

This post has been edited by AnthonyS: Nov 20 2008, 04:10 PM


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HangarRat
post Nov 20 2008, 05:22 PM
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QUOTE(AnthonyS @ Nov 20 2008, 05:09 PM) *
There was quite a bit of commotion over this. Weak solar activity pretty much ruled out the Aurora solution. Eventually a consensus was reached between NWS employees, TV-Mets, and other organizations that the cause was ice crystals (virga) refracting moon and surface light into pillar like structures, called "light pillars."



Anthony


Thanks Anthony. There are some good pictures at the Web site for the NBC affiliate in Philly. I also found a private collection of photos that are quite striking (both linked below).

My main questions about the ice pillar solution are: What time was the moonrise last night? And what altitude would these ice crystals have been at to catch the moon?

Rejecting the aurora theory, it's clear that they weren't illuminated entirely by the surface light. They had a pure white appearance to me, rather than the orange sodium vapor glow of the surrounding clouds.

Really stunning phenomenon.

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/weath.....ns_or_UFOs.html
http://davidwei.smugmug.com/gallery/660294...420733736_yDF2w
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WeatherMatrix
post Nov 20 2008, 08:18 PM
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Hi Guys, I covered this on my blog this morning with some additional pics and some links to information on Light Pillars.

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stormchaser1287
post Nov 21 2008, 09:25 AM
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WOW!I have seen tornadoes up close,I have seen beautiful storm structure,and even hurricanes,but this is something I have not been able to see in person yet.But want to!The pics were truly incredible guys!I'm kinda jealous.lol.Very,very cool!


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missmarisa
post Nov 21 2008, 06:53 PM
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The first time I ever saw "Northern Lights" was October 1997 driving up the NY State Thruway heading towards Plattsburgh, NY. As we drove up the thruway this lime green mist scattered across the sky. It shifted shape and intensity...it was truly like a lightshow. It moved and swirled like a living thing. We pulled over onto the side of the highway and got out of the car and sat on the hood watching it for the longest time.

I have seen it as far south at here in NW NJ...the same lime green "mist" across the sky that constantly moves and undulates...it is breathtaking to see, but I don't see it often.


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