Look to the skies!

and hope for a clear night.. yeah, I know. But assuming that happens we may be in for a spectacular Northern Lights display (the Aurora Borealis for those of a more scientific inclination). The Irish Times carries this recommendation from the Chairman of the Royal Irish Academy’s Astronomy committee – “Go and have a look”

That’s Mr Terry Moseley, chairman of the Royal Irish Academy’s Astronomy committee and press officer of the Irish Astronomical Association.

“There is no guarantee, but there is a good chance and the best you will have for the next few years,” he said of the opportunity to see the lights, known as the Aurora Borealis. “Make the best use of this chance.”

Although we’re past the peak of the 11-year cycle of solar activity, current observations indicate that conditions are favourable for a display visible from Ireland throughout this week.

According to Mr David Moore, editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine.

“We have been told things will remain so for most of the week. Get out tonight from dusk ’til dawn, because there is a very good chance there will be an aurora”.

The Astronomy Ireland website has further details – and an email alert facility for those who wish to sign up. There’s also the Space Weather website to monitor further developments – the red area of the Auroral Map indicates the strength of the aurora (Ireland is close to the 3 o’clock position).

If nothing else it could take our minds off more earthly concerns for a few days.

  • maca

    I wouldn’t have thought you can see them in Ireland.
    I’ve been told your best bet is to get out to the countryside to see them.

  • peteb

    The best bet is to be well away from built up areas with their associated light pollution, maca. But the point of this story is that a recent upsurge in solar activity may produce a display that is visible from Ireland.

  • Fraggle

    Last year, I was driving from Ballymena to Belfast along the M2 and saw the lights quite clearly. I was so busy looking at them that it’s a wonder I got home safely.

    The ones i saw were the common whitey blue type and not any of the fancier reds etc.

  • maca

    Fraggle – at the “funny fags” again?

    Pete
    “But the point of this story is that a recent upsurge in solar activity may produce a display that is visible from Ireland.”

    Just surprised, so far South an’ all.

  • Davros

    As long as they weren’t that Green, White and Gold type Fraggle 😉

  • maca

    Or even Green, White and Orange Davros, just to be more accurate 😉

  • Davros

    I’m tempted to claim that I’m scared to use the word “Oran*e” here these days maca, but will hold my hands up to deliberately using GWG to see if it got a response 🙂

    p.s. I was always under the impression that Northern Nationalists and Northern Republicans more commonly refer to it as the “Green White and Gold” , even though it properly should be called Green White and Oran*e.

    article about Irish Flag

    ” Kerb-stones in unionist and loyalist areas are painted red, white and blue, the colors of the Union Flag, while in nationalist and republican areas kerb-stones are painted green, white and orange (but is usually referred to as “green, white and gold” — to circumvent using the word “orange”, which refers to the unionists). Elements of both communities fly their flag from chimneys and tall buildings. “

    My Highlight in bold.

  • peteb

    TRYING to keep the thread on topic (already!).

    Maca

    The extent of the aurora’s visibility depends entirely on the intensity of the solar activity (and more local conditions).. it’s uncommon, but not unknown for the Lights to be visible from Ireland. Sightings were more frequent for previous generations when light pollution was less prevalent

  • maca

    Davros,
    we’ll have to leave that for another day in case Pete takes out the whip 😉

    “The extent of the aurora’s visibility depends entirely on the intensity of the solar activity (and more local conditions).. it’s uncommon, but not unknown for the Lights to be visible from Ireland. Sightings were more frequent for previous generations when light pollution was less prevalent”

    Ya learn something new every day.
    I have to now strike the Northern Lights off my list of reasons to live in Scandanavia as you can see them at home anyway.
    I’ve only actually seen the lights once here, even then it was just briefly. I’d expect to see them more, lost of clean air here, lots of open space outside of the cities…

  • peteb

    and further North, maca.

    *crack*

  • maca

    And further North of course. Near the artic circle I was.

    Does it go *craic* if you go it in Irish?

  • maca

    go it = do it.
    Feckin European keyboards.

  • Davros

    Is Craic an irish word ? 😉

  • Davros

    whoops, sorry Pete!

  • peteb

    You could always start a thread on that, Davros.

  • maca

  • The Devil

    what the point of this thread if your using a computer ajusted for braille

  • Alan

    The Lights are something else. I saw a wonderful display – blue and white – from the steps of a Hotel in Portballantrae years ago. It really boosted an otherwise dull “where does this organisation go from here ” weekend.

    The freaky bit is that I’m just about to start *The Amber Spyglass”!

  • queens_unionist

    ALL WEEK apparently!
    must look out for these would be good to see although i hear the scandalnavian region is the best to see them?correct?

  • maca

    “i hear the scandalnavian region is the best to see them?correct?”

    Anywhere up north really.

    Fantastic pictures from Alaska,
    other photos & info