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beck0311
2004-Feb-16, 04:47 AM
Forgive me if this has been brought up already, but I just watched Gods and Generals. At one point in the movie, a night after a two day battle for Fredricksberg (According to the movie, it would have been the night of Dec 14, 1862) both sides look up and see some light in the sky, that look like Aurora Borealis (sp?). Does anybody know if this event, if it's true, is documented anywhere? I'm looking in the general direction of any southerners on the board-you guys always seem to know too much about the Civil War 8-[ .

NASA Fan
2004-Feb-16, 05:49 AM
I do not know enough about the civil war, or geography to say this but if you are talking about Fredriksburg Virginia, then I would think that they are too far South to be able to see the Auro Borialis.

beck0311
2004-Feb-16, 05:55 AM
Yeah, I am talking about Fredricksberg, VA. I thought the same thing, but depending on solar activity the "Northern Lights" can be seen at fairly low Lattitudes (I thought that I mentioned this in the original post, but apparently I accidentaly left it out). I'm just wondering what, if anything, they were supposed to be looking at. The credits claim that the whole movie was filmed on location in VA, MD and WV, so if it was real, it was there. If it was computer generated, I wonder if there is a reason why it was added.

Hamlet
2004-Feb-16, 02:59 PM
Although they are rare at the latitude of Fredericksberg, it is possible to see them. Here (http://www.pfrr.alaska.edu/~pfrr/AURORA/FAQ.HTM) is a link to an Aurora FAQ page that has a nice diagram showing the average percentage of nights when an aurora may be visible.

If you remember last fall during a period of intense solar activity we had aurora reports as far south as Florida.

Hale_Bopp
2004-Feb-16, 06:19 PM
I agree that while unusual, it is definitely possible to see aurora that far south. It is more likely at periods of high solar actvitity. I am not sure at what point in the solar cycle we were in 1862, but I am sure someone will tell us shortly :) (Sorry, I don't have time to look it up right now.)

Rob

nebularain
2004-Feb-17, 01:59 AM
Forgive me if this has been brought up already, but I just watched Gods and Generals.

You're forgiven. But here is where it was brought up before (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4272&highlight=gods+generals) , if you want to see what was previously discussed about it. (The aurora is mentioned, too!)

WHarris
2004-Feb-17, 05:43 PM
Here a brief article that references the aurora seen from the battlefield at Fredrickburg (http://www.fredericksburg.com/CivilWar/Battle/0915CW)

beck0311
2004-Feb-18, 02:51 AM
Here a brief article that references the aurora seen from the battlefield at Fredrickburg (http://www.fredericksburg.com/CivilWar/Battle/0915CW)

Well this article seems o confirm that the soldiers reported seeing something like the northern lights tht night. Thanks, for the link WHarris! :)

Ripper 2.0
2004-Feb-18, 12:30 PM
I suppose in the past the Auroras were seen more often, and further south than happens today. There was less light polution and, in most places, less atmospheric polution. Fredricksburg is just a little north of Richmond. I am not sure how much industry there was there in the mid-19th century. During the summer there it is very humid and hazy, but in December, barring heavy industrial output, I think it would be very clear there at night.