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Murthy Suresh

how to read the auroral oval

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Well, you are indeed a bit too south, but it is not impossible.

 

To see auroras at your latitude, you need to follow several steps.

 

  • Log into this website at least everyday and check not only the aurora forecast, but the ENLIL, the LASCOs and the Magnetometers.
  • Make sure your OP has a clear, northbound view with not obstacle, and that it is sufficiently far from the city so the city lights wont hurt.
  • Consider making a couple hundred KMs north when the forecast predicts G2 levels of geomagnetic storm or more. 
  • Subscribe to the NOAA Solar Weather warning newsletter.

I am in Québec city, not MUCH further north than you are, and I have seen auroras only twice in my life, in 2003 if I recall well, when there was the VERY BIG CMEs. So if you stick to your lattitude, you might have to wait until the solar cycle becomes more active again (in 4-7 years I'd say) though it is not unheard of very large CMEs and CHHSS causing G3 level storms during the solar minimum.

 

Hope I've been useful. Don't hesitate to ask more questions. Anyway the admins here will probably give your their own answer too =)

 

Maxime

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The red line indicates how far south aurora can be seen according to the OVATION model from NOAA but my expierence is that is can often be seen further south than that line indicates. Especialy if you have a DSLR you can pick up weaker aurora much easier. The Great Lakes area can often see aurora during geomagnetic storm activity. Even a Kp of 5 should be enough from there.

@Maxime Fiset You should have seen the aurora much more often that you describe from there I think. You must have missed a few shows in your life. :)

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7 hours ago, Marcel de Bont said:

 You should have seen the aurora much more often that you describe from there I think. You must have missed a few shows in your life. :)

Yes, I have missed most of them. I am by no means a hunter of auroras. And since I live in the city, most of the time they are too faint to show up. But I know they are out there. But even in 2003, they were never above Québec city. They were up north, kilometres aways, and that was during the great CMEs. That's something cool about auroras : even when you are not in the thick of it, you can just look north.

 

But KP 5 for that latitude? That seems very unlikely. We get that very often and auroras are always too far to be seen from lat 46. Not impossible I guess, but one needs to be pretty lucky. I've been living in the region all my life, city or country, and much less than 0.1% of the population has ever seen auroras from here. Now, they don't exactly look up north every night, but that tells you a lot about the individual chances of seeing one in say "normal" Kp levels.

 

At lattitude 48, though, it is much more common.

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I'm at 44 degree latitude in Wisconsin and see the aurora regularly  with KP as low as 4. Have had a couple VERY nice substorms with the KP value as low as 2. With a G1/KP5 I'd say things are visible here 75% of the time, depending on how the data looks. Once I figured out that reading the numbers was much, much more accurate than relying on KP value, I see the lights quite regularly. 

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2 hours ago, auroraville said:

I'm at 44 degree latitude in Wisconsin and see the aurora regularly  with KP as low as 4. Have had a couple VERY nice substorms with the KP value as low as 2. With a G1/KP5 I'd say things are visible here 75% of the time, depending on how the data looks. Once I figured out that reading the numbers was much, much more accurate than relying on KP value, I see the lights quite regularly. 

How often is regularly? Because one can easily spend years without seeing one if "regular" means twice a year.

 

If our friend says he has been trying for years at lat. 46, we should believe him, especially if he lives in the city.

 

42 minutes ago, Murthy Suresh said:

how frequently is the chart updated?

https://www.spaceweatherlive.com/en/auroral-activity/auroral-oval

I could scrape the page and set an alert based on the city that is shown in the webpage.

I'd say the chart is live, or updated on a hourly-or-less basis.

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Op 16-10-2016 om 04:39, Murthy Suresh zei:

how frequently is the chart updated?

https://www.spaceweatherlive.com/en/auroral-activity/auroral-oval

I could scrape the page and set an alert based on the city that is shown in the webpage.

I think every 15 minutes.

Op 16-10-2016 om 02:26, auroraville zei:

I'm at 44 degree latitude in Wisconsin and see the aurora regularly  with KP as low as 4. Have had a couple VERY nice substorms with the KP value as low as 2. With a G1/KP5 I'd say things are visible here 75% of the time, depending on how the data looks. Once I figured out that reading the numbers was much, much more accurate than relying on KP value, I see the lights quite regularly. 

That's exactly the way to do it. Kp is nice for historical purposes or if you are new but once you learn how to read the data from DSCOVR and the magnetometers, you can significantly boost your odds of seeing the auroral lights. :)

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redpaki   

I'm a little further south than the original poster (south east shore of Lake Ontario) and I've probably only seen good shows twice.  I've seen some lesser lights over the lake - but that's if I'm really watching the predictions and running down to the lake any time things look like they're happening (about a mile from my house).  In general, I'm usually battling weather, the moon and having to get up for work, so I know I've missed a few displays. As far as the original question, I've found that the oval has to actually be touching my location (on the map!) before I can see anything, even looking north over the lake.

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On 10/15/2016 at 10:28 PM, Maxime Fiset said:

How often is regularly? Because one can easily spend years without seeing one if "regular" means twice a year.

Regularly meaning at least a few times per month. The vast majority are fairly low, but occasionally substorms will bring the arc southward, maybe 45-60 degrees with much higher pillars. Back on 9/1 I had the arc about 70 degrees high and pillars extended over my head to the south. So far in October I have seen the lights, oh, 4 or 5 times I think. Has been a pretty good month. 

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On 10/17/2016 at 5:44 AM, Marcel de Bont said:

I think every 15 minutes.

That's exactly the way to do it. Kp is nice for historical purposes or if you are new but once you learn how to read the data from DSCOVR and the magnetometers, you can significantly boost your odds of seeing the auroral lights. :)

how do you   " read the data from DSCOVR and the magnetometers, "?

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13 uren geleden, Murthy Suresh zei:

how do you   " read the data from DSCOVR and the magnetometers, "?

I mean that people understand what the DSCOVR and magnetometer data means. That they know what kind of values are good for aurora. Its not easy to use all these sources. The Kp is easier for beginners because they only need to remember one number, the number they need for aurora to be seen but the Wing Kp predictions can be over or underwhelming and all the other Kp sources are all about activity that has already passed.

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