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    Re: Auroras/compass readings
    From: Alexandre Eremenko
    Date: 2004 Oct 17, 00:14 -0500

    There are two separate related phenomena here.
    1. Aurora Polaris, the lights in the sky.
    They occur quite frequently and not necessarily
    very close to the poles.
    (The average number in New York is 10 per year).
    The zone of highest frequency (about 100 per year)
    in Northern hemisphere
    spreads to N Lat 57d over Canada).
    2. Magnetic storms. They occur at the same time all over the earth.
    (This has nothing to do with polar regions).
    The compass deviation during such a storm can be up to several
    degrees and the storms last from few hours to several
    days. They may also interfer with radio transmission, and some
    say, even with electric power transmission.
    Apparently there is a relation between both phenomena,
    and they are caused by charged particles coming from the Sun
    and interfering with the Earth magnetic field.
    I do not know of any specific directions for navigators how
    to deal with magnetic storms, except the general recommendation
    of Russian manuals to determine compass correction by
    astronomical observations every day (usually by sunrise and sunset).
    On Sun, 17 Oct 2004, Lisa Fiene wrote:
    > The northern and southern auroras occur when electrically charged
    > particles from the sun interact with our earth's magnetic field.
    > Just a question, if one were to sail in these latitudes during these
    > episodes of increased solar activity & the subsequent auroras these
    > would create, would it affect the ship's compass at all?
    > I've always considered this a likelihood, however never having sailed to
    > these high lats, have never been able to test it.
    > If it is the case, how do/did sailing vessels allow for this in their
    > navigation?
    > Thanks, Lisa

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