The Northen Lights of Mars

How I wish I could see those.

I wish I could see the ones on Earth! I’m sure they have to pop down again to Northern Illinois eventually.

First Earth’s version for me, then Mars.

How incredibly cool. :cool:

They should–My mother saw auroras once in a while while growing up in Milwaukee. It’s only 90 more miles.

They pop down to Northern Illinois more often than you might think! If you want, I can give you several links and pointers on how to watch for that possibility online (if you don’t already have the info).

Well, I know about spaceweather…I don’t subscribe to their spaceweatherPHONE–do you? What else can I watch for?

Spaceweather is a good site, but there are a couple more links that I use. I’m not at my normal computer right now, and don’t remember the links - I’ll get those to you in a day or so.

Omigosh! I can’t believe I let this slip so long, and I am sorry!

First off, don’t know if you’ve done a search, but there was a thread on this a while back (don’t post to it, please!): http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=187208

The other sites I visit to watch for aurora are:

United States Aurora Activity (shows you the auroral oval… see how it tends to dip down?), The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (when I know there’s a large sunspot and/or there’s been a solar flare, I like to go to this site and watch the ‘movies’), and Today’s Space Weather. [ul]
[li]Spaceweather - I look at for the Solar Wind to be high and dense, for Solar Flares to be in the ‘X’ category, and for the Interplanetary Mag. Field to be pointing south (higher numbers have a better possibility). [/li][li]SOHO - I look at the LASCO images, and from that page, I am especially interested in the real time images of the sun. They take the images and make mini movies of them. If there’s been a decent sized solar flare, I’ll watch for what’s called a CME, or Coronal Mass Ejection. It looks like a ring racing from the sun. A full CME from an X class solar flare has strong possibilities for generating a magnetic storm. There are also great links there that explain a lot about the aurorae.[/li][li]Today’s Space Weather - I know there’s a Kp index on the SOHO site, but I’ve been going to this site for a long time, and I find the graph easier to read. I look for a Kp index of 6 or greater.[/li][li]U.S. Aurora Activity - And the SOHO site has this as well, but again, I’ve been using this site for a long time. You can see where the oval drops down heavily over the U.S. - especially the Midwest. What I look for here - usually around local midnight (indicated by the red arrow) is for the yellow, orange or red activity to dip down to the top of Indiana/Illinois. This means (for me) that I can generally see some kind of activity low on the northern horizon. If it dips down further, then the display is generally higher in the sky. The display is usually refreshed every ten minutes - every once in a while it is refreshed sooner.[/li][/ul]

I need to add that 1) I live in West Central Indiana and 2) I live out in the country away from a lot of the light pollution. Having said all of this, I have had the pleasure and joy of seeing several auroral displays.

Keep looking!

Excellent, thanks!