I was going to write a regular beauty blogpost for today, but early last evening I got an email from a group of amateur astronomers that I follow, Gloucester Area Astronomy Club (GAAC), that indicators showed that the aurora might be visible near where I live. Usually the aurora stays up north in Canada, Alaska, Iceland, and above, but sometimes it ducks down into the northern United States.
There are websites and apps that monitor astral activity (http://www.aurora-service.org/aurora-forecast/), and they were showing readings around 7 kp that indicate that the aurora might be visible in our area. The map I posted above was at 9:30pm last night, a little later than the predicted time of visibility: 7:45pm.
So instead of writing my beauty review, I jumped in the car and drove to Rockport MA where a number of members of the GAAC had seen the aurora in the past. I was specifically looking for Old Garden Beach. I tried getting there via directions from Google Maps, and I got close, but it was so darn dark that I couldn’t find the beach. Then I got lost in a warren of tiny one-way streets. I finally made it out, and headed to some other beaches that I knew how to get to.
Unfortunately, I didn’t see the aurora. One of the GAAC members said that sometimes you can see the green aurora via camera and in the photographs when you can’t see it with the naked eye. Perhaps that’s why I missed it. Another GAAC member reported that he saw purple in the sky but no aurora green. Boo hoo.
Here are two photos taken by GAAC member, Roger Porter, of the aurora in Rockport MA on two occasions in the past.
It’s such a beautiful sight. I hope one day I’ll see it myself!
Have you ever seen the aurora? Do tell.