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Name: Ms. Lori B.
Status: educator
Age: 7
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999 - 2000


Question:
Hi, this is the second grade class from Wilbur Cross School, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. We are studying space and our teacher has taught us about northern lights. Can we see them in Bridgeport, monroe, trumbull, anywhere in Connecticut. We love them and want to see them. Our teacher has been looking for them since she was young and has never seen any yet. Please help her too. Thank you very much.


Replies:
You probably will not be able to see the northern lights from Connecticut unless there is a big solar storm. My father told me he once saw them from Baltimore when he was a boy, but I have never seen them from so far south. I have seen the northern lights, but only from Canada.

The closer you get to the magnetic north pole, which is in northern Canada, the better your chances will be of seeing the northern lights. When the sun sends out an unusually large flow of ions, the northern lights will cover a larger area, and thus will be visible from farther south. Sometimes when astronomers observe a large solar flare (which results in a large flow of ions), it will be reported on the news. If you look for the northern lights for a few days after that, you will have the best chance of seeing them. Or you and your teacher could take a trip to northern Canada.

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Director
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois



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