Look North Tonight: Aurora Borealis Stargazing Tips

Sep 12, 2014

Credit Adam Woodworth / adamwoodworth.com

The Aurora Borealis may be visible from all or part of New Hampshire tonight. Although Auroras are difficult to predict,  Accuweather.com reports the solar flare’s strength and timing make sightings more likely.  Adam Woodworth is a Seacoast photographer and an expert in landscape astro photography. His long-exposure photograph of the Aurora, above, was taken in Southern Maine last year.

Woodworth is following the Aurora closely today and has these tips for citizen stargazers:

  1. Go as far north as possible to get a stronger visible display of the aurora
  2. Go as high up as possible to see further into the distance and see more of the aurora
  3. Go as far away from light pollution as possible
  4. Look north. Even if you don’t have elevation, it helps to choose a location with open space to your north – like the south side of a lake.
  5. Because the geomagnetic storm that causes the Aurora already hit earth, expect to see the Aurora as soon as it is dark enough.
  6. Get updates on the Aurora at softservenews.com, and for a small fee – after a 14 day free trial – you can receive alerts for your location. For the nerds out there, Woodworth recommends solarham.net.

The waning supermoon may make the Aurora harder to see, warns Woodworth.  Nevertheless, he says, it could be a good show.

Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, occur when electrically charged particles are ejected from the sun in a solar flare, then cross the earth’s atmosphere in what is called a “geomagnetic storm.”  Pale green, pink, and even shades of red, yellow, and blue have been reported as a result of collisions between gaseous particles on earth and charged particles from the sun.