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Spot for Stargazing?

If you don’t know, the year’s best meteor shower happens next week, in the wee hours of the morning of Aug. 11, 12 and 13.  From what I read, the Perseids are one of the most active showers, with up to 50 meteors an hour – should be a nice show!

I’m hoping to get out and watch a bit; I’m wondering if anyone has any favorite or secret spots?  Although there are nice bare spots above Skyline or along Park Point, I’m hoping to escape the glare of city lights.  I was thinking Stoney Point might be nice, or perhaps Gooseberry?  If someone has suggestions of closer spots, that’d be even better.

13 Comments

spy1

about 9 years ago

Do a double!
Forecasters predict that northern lights could be visible to the naked eye late tonight and early tomorrow morning across Canada, northern parts of the U.S., and possibly the United Kingdom.

Solar storms caused a large ejection of plasma from the Sun's surface on Sunday, and the plasma is heading directly towards Earth. The plasma, a cloud of rapidly moving hydrogen gas atoms and subatomic particles, is expected to reach us late Tuesday. The plasma will interact with the Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere, which will cause northern lights, or aurora borealis, to be visible much further south than is usual. Northern lights usually appear as green or red rivers of lights across the sky.

"It's the first major Earth-directed eruption in quite some time" said astronomer Leon Golub of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The eruption was detected by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which was launched in February 2010, and is currently orbiting the Earth.

The Sun goes through approximately eleven-year long activity cycles, with the last maximum occurring in 2001. Sunday's eruption is a sign that the many years of inactivity is over, and the Sun is heading towards another maximum.

Sam

about 9 years ago

Likely story, spy1!  Who are you spying for???

I'm staying inside, since I'm a republican and scientists are evil spies that are not to be believed! ;)

HappyHippo

about 9 years ago

Actually, I just saw it on the news, and was going to add it to my post.  George said it would be like that (or something).

Still, recommendations on dark spots with a nice northern view?

Zeito

about 9 years ago

You dont need to get terribly far out of town, 15 miles or so can make a very big difference.  Island Lake area would probably have some pretty dark skies.  If you can get yourself into one of the yellow or green areas on this map you should have some pretty decently dark skies.  

http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/

edgeways

about 9 years ago

could try for a South shore spot, say around Port Wing/Herbster, some serious deer alley territory, but would be good viewing out over the lake.

RS

about 9 years ago

I second the south shore/Herbster area.  Cornocopia perhaps, we always stop at a small gift shop there on the way back from the Apple fest, and always go play on the beach for a bit.  Otherwise, the Veterans Scenic overlook on Hwy 23 just past the Wabegon (there's a second overlook there, if you park and walk the paved trail on the south side of the parking lot, overlooks the backside of Jay Cooke and is usually super dark with a great views).  I too heard about the lights, on the news, the radio AND read it online.  Can't wait, haven't seen a good showing since high school 10 years ago!!

RS

about 9 years ago

Oops, hit send too soon.  In regards to Cornocopia, I've never been there in the dark but since it's not hugely populated, the beach we play on is usually empty and should be dark enough for a great view.

bluenewt

about 9 years ago

A journalist on a listserv I subscribe to says reports of possible dramatic northern lights activity this week are overblown. She called the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center to check. She writes:

"[T]he solar activity isn't really that major. a much bigger solar flare eruption happened in April (you don't have to be a space nerd to know, I noticed that myself on the NOAA site before calling the PR guy). and reports that people will see aurora activity in Maine and Boston are probably inaccurate."

It doesn't mean we won't see the northern lights here in northern MN, but the story circulating about it might leave readers with the impression that this'll be the biggest display since 2001, and that's not likely.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

The Northern Lights in Duluth were tremendous in 2004, as can be referenced in PDD's archives. Tomasz Majewski captured the image below for PDD from his home in the Piedmont neighborhood on Nov. 7, 2004.



Two days later, by the way, Barrett Chase took this shot of Venus, Jupiter and the Moon in alignment.

The Big E

about 9 years ago

I was driving down to the Buena Vista that night, and it was an apt description.

HappyHippo

about 9 years ago

Thanks for the good ideas - I did end up going down the lake's south shore.  Not an area I'm very familiar with, but I found a good spot to stop, and didn't hit any deer on the way.  I even managed an interesting pic!  

[img]http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4080/4859532429_f277e5b2ce_m.jpg[/img]

Hopefully it works just as well for the meteors.

Alexis LeBlanc

about 9 years ago

Whenever I go star gazing, I usually just drive out to Jean Duluth Soccer fields. It's far enough away where the stars fill the sky, and there is a very little city glare.

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