Looking For the Northern Lights
Published on January 14, 2014 by Sara Foss

I did not see the northern lights last week.

But I wrote a little something about my attempt to find them.

Here's an excerpt:

"Last week a friend and I decided to take a late-night drive and see if we could catch a glimpse of the northern lights.

Also known as the Aurora Borealis, the northern lights are a natural light display. Though rarely seen south of New York’s northermost counties, astronomers reported that a massive solar had shaken up Earth’s magnetic field, expanding the reach of the Aurora Borealis. The big question, then, was weather the northern lights would be visible, or obscured by clouds — a strong possibility, according to the weather reports. Having never seen the northern lights before, my friend and I decided to err on the side of caution, and headed out to Thacher Park shortly after 11 p.m. on Thursday. We’d heard that the northern lights wouldn’t be visible until about midnight, and didn’t want to get there too early.

When we got to Thacher, we were surprised by two things: The crowd that had gathered by the side of the road, and the bright flashing lights of the four or five police cars that had pulled onto the shoulder. I liked the idea of joining a large, spontaneous gathering of amateur astronomers, but not if it meant skywatching under police watch. So we decided to drive around for a while and circle back later, as it would be hard to find a better vantage point than Thacher’s long, steep escarpment."

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