Update: Aurora or no aurora? We’re checking with Alice – who’s made a ‘where to watch’ map

You’ve probably heard about the big solar flare, and the possibility it’ll bring the “Northern Lights,” aka aurora. Since we are lucky to be able to work with expert skywatcher, Solar System Ambassador, and Skies Over West Seattle correspondent Alice Enevoldsen, we’re keeping in touch with her (and you can also find her on Twitter) – so far, the prospects aren’t clear, though the sky is. Her recommended info-source currently isn’t showing it getting this far south, but things can change, so keep checking (we will, too).

1:39 AM: If you’re interested, hope you were following along in comments – Alice will be checking again for tomorrow. And in the meantime, she’s come up with recommendations of best potential viewing spots in West Seattle, and mapped them

(embed removed for technical difficulties – follow that link to see the map)

(If you are a longtime WSB’er, you might remember Alice’s mapmaking back during the December 2008 “snowpocalypse,” years before the city finally started mapping plowed/not-plowed routes itself!)

FRIDAY AFTERNOON: Looking promising for tonight, according to some numbers Alice forwarded. We’ll take a separate, more extensive look when it gets closer to nightfall.

17 Replies to "Update: Aurora or no aurora? We're checking with Alice - who's made a 'where to watch' map"

  • Trileigh September 11, 2014 (9:44 pm)

    Thanks so much, Tracy and Alice! It’s great knowing we can always count on you for info. Keeping my fingers crossed…

  • Alice September 11, 2014 (10:02 pm)

    These forecasts for minute-to-minute updates:
    The Ovation Model – a prediction: bright green, yellow or red overlapping Seattle means go outside and look.
    Soft Serve News (link above in article) – a prediction: Kp over 5 means possible aurora for Seattle, but the higher the better. If it hits 6 go outside.
    Current Activity – a measurement: If the yellow/orange/red looks like it is overlapping the border between the US and Canada, the aurora might be visible from Seattle. Again, the closer the better.
    Estimated Kp – a prediction: Kp over 5 is good news. Remember the date/time along the bottom are in Universal Time so subtract 7 hours.
    I’ll probably be online until quite late tonight, running in and out to check the skies. I’ll be Tweeting and e-mailing the blog the instant I see something. Tomorrow night is even more likely, I’m not quite sure when I plan to sleep.

  • Alice September 12, 2014 (12:27 am)

    Well, I _think_ we’re done for tonight. There was a 3-hr high window 11pm-1am and after that decreasing numbers. Since we’re seeing a steady decrease now, I’m thinking we’re in the lull between today & tomorrow’s activity. Maybe.
    Also, I have revised my “favorite North-viewing stargazing locations in West Seattle.” I now recommend:
    1. Myrtle Reservoir–North end
    2. Don Armeni Boat Launch–North/West end
    3. Sunset Ave SW & SW Seattle St

    • WSB September 12, 2014 (12:54 am)

      Thanks for the updates, Alice!

  • BlairJ September 12, 2014 (10:43 am)

    I found a good dark sky spot in Westcrest Park above the dog park on the hill leading up to the reservoir. It might be blocked off by the construction fence right now, but there should be some other spots almost as good nearby.

  • clark5080 September 12, 2014 (2:16 pm)

    Hopefully Saturday night works out I would like to try my new tripod.

    • WSB September 12, 2014 (3:19 pm)

      Sounds promising tonight – I’m publishing an update shortly!

  • Gina September 12, 2014 (3:42 pm)

    Sunset and Seattle is a great spot for viewing the Olympics. Thank you to the homeowner that added the bench and viewing area during their amazing yard remodel!

  • Erika September 12, 2014 (4:38 pm)

    Is there a specific time we should try to see the lights or just generally when it gets dark?

  • Alice September 12, 2014 (6:18 pm)

    Things are looking GREAT for tonight. No promises, but this is the highest I’ve seen in years. So conditions are as good as they get.
    Gina, yes, I just discovered it! Love it!

  • Alice September 12, 2014 (6:24 pm)

    Are you making a new post, or pinning this one tonight?

    • WSB September 12, 2014 (6:30 pm)

      New one. Have been offline for a bit but back on now and will start that after one about a power outage…

  • Alice September 12, 2014 (7:06 pm)

    I’ve added a lot to the map. Anything with a star-marker is an exact location that I like. Anything with a droplet is a recommended location, and isn’t as specific: you may have to drive around to find the exact spot.

  • Alice September 12, 2014 (7:07 pm)


    When it gets dark until 1am

  • ACG September 12, 2014 (7:12 pm)

    Can the Lincoln park site (I am assuming it is the path down along the water) be accessed after dark? What time does the park close?

  • Stanlow September 13, 2014 (1:57 am)

    I live in Ferndale and just came home. No show tonight but I’ll check again tomorrow night. My viewing location is on the Grandview Road northwest of Ferndale. True to it’s name, it provides an unobstructed high elevation view of the North Canadian range. Only downside is light pollution from Vancouver and Surrey, B.C.

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