Web & Other Resources: usenet | electronic mailing lists | sms/wap | www | software | publications
Usenet newsgroups

The aurora and noctilucent cloud are not very well served by usenet, however, the following newsgroups are certainly worthwhile checking from time to time, particularly when major activity or storms are occurring:
Newsgroup Comments
uk.sci.weather Moderately busy but with only occasional posts on aurora and NLC - especially during and following big storms.
uk.sci.astronomy Moderately busy but with only occasional posts on aurora and NLC - especially during and following big storms.
free.uk.nature.aurora Poorly propagated and only active during big storms.
sci.astro Very busy but with only occasional posts on aurora and NLC - especially during and following big storms.
sci.astro.amateur Very busy but with only occasional posts on aurora and NLC - especially during and following big storms.

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Electronic mailing lists

Electronic mailing lists offer a convenient way of distributing information and creating discussion groups on particular subjects. If you are new to the use of electronic mailing lists then further information can be found at: 

The following lists occasionally cover the aurora and noctilucent cloud:
List Name Comments
astro-l Moderately busy discussion list on general astronomy but often contains threads on the aurora, particulary after large displays. To subsribe to this list send an e-mail to listserve@uwwvax.uww.edu with "subscribe astro-l {your e-mail address}" in the message body (i.e, not in the message subject field). 
meteoptic Very low traffic discussion list on all atmospheric phenomena, including noctilucent cloud. Subscription and other details are listed on their website.
auroral observing 'Yahoo!', moderated discussion list on auroral observing. Full details on the website.

The following lists issue (i.e they are not discussion lists) e-mail alerts, warnings and reports on geomagnetic solar and auroral conditions:
List Name Comments
Aurora Alert UK Major and minor geomagnetic storm alerts issued by York university. Use the web interface to subscribe.
ips The Australian Space Forecast Centre issue a wide range of solar, geomagnetic and aurora alerts, summaries and warnings. A convenient web interface is available to help organise subscriptions.
sec The Space Environment Centre issue a wide range of solar and geomagnetic summaries and reports. Subscription is best done via its web interface.

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Cellphone sms/wap

Most digital mobile cellphones now have an sms (Short Message Service) facility. Often these messages are free to receive though it's best to check with your provider first. A growing number of cellphone companies now issue users with an e-mail address which can be ported, normally via a website, direct to a cellphone handset. Using this e-mail address to subscribe to selected IPS or SEC alerts turns a mobile handset into a very efficient alert device. However, SMS messages are restricted to a maximum size of 150 characters so the facility does have limitations. WAP enabled cellphone handsets can also be used to collect messages from the IPS and SEC lists and do not have the message size restriction of SMS.

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www links

The Internet now has numerous websites covering all areas of auroral science. The following list is far from being a comprehensive one but does list the majority of key web locations. 

Space Weather:
Noctilucent Cloud:
Real Time Data:

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Solar Terrestrial Despatch have developed commercially available 'Space Weather' software for the PC. Of particular interest to the aurora observer is the 'Advanced Auroral Activity and Space Weather Monitoring Software'. This package fetches a wide-range of key solar, auroral and geomagnetic, real-time and forecast data from a variety of internet sources and presents them in a well designed custom 'browser' format. The software is highly configurable and also has a very lively, informative discussion forum. A freeware version is currently available. Download  information can be found at: 


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  • Bone, N., The Aurora, Sun-Earth Interactions, 2nd Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester 1996.
  • Henderson, J. & MacNicol, J., The Aurora, An Introduction For Observers and Photographers, Crooktree Images, Kincardine O' Neil, Aboyne, Scotland AB34 4JD, 1997.
  • Gadsden, M. & Parviainen, P., Observing Noctilucent Clouds, The International Association Of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy, 1995.
  • Gadsden, M. and Schroder, W., Noctilucent Clouds, Springer-Verlag, 1989.
  • Davis, N., The Aurora Watcher's Handbook, University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks, 1992
  • Brekke, A., and Eggeland, A., The Northern Light, From Mythology to Space Research, Springer Verlag, 1983.
  • The International Auroral Atlas, International Union for Geodetics and Geophysics, Edinburgh University Press, 1963.
  • Eather, R. H., Majestic Lights, The Aurora in Science, History and the Arts, American Geophysical Union 1980.
  • Akasofu, S.-I., Aurora Borealis, The Amazing Northern Lights, The Alaska Geographic Society/ Vol. 6. No. 2. 1979.
  • Stormer, C., The Polar Aurora, Oxford University Press, 1955.
  • Harang, L., The Aurorae, International Astrophysics Series, Chapman & Hall, 1951.
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