Montana State University

Astronomy winter lecture series: Enjoying the aurora borealis in Montana

January 4, 2012 -- MSU News Service

The aurora borealis. Photo copyright by Joesph Shaw.    High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
Joseph Shaw, director of the Optical Technology Center and a professor at Montana State University, will lecture on the aurora borealis, or northern lights, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27 in the Hager Auditorium of the Museum of the Rockies.

The lecture is sponsored by the MOR and the Southwest Montana Astronomical Society and is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The aurora is a colorful display of natural lights that can be seen frequently in the dark winter skies at high latitudes. The aurora can be seen in Montana often enough to make it worthwhile to pay attention to the conditions and timing that lead to these beautiful displays.

Shaw will describe the causes of the aurora and share sources of information that can help predict when an aurora might be visible in Montana. One of these tools is a recently developed online network of optical aurora detectors developed at Montana State University - Bozeman and installed around Montana.

Beautiful photographs of the aurora will be included throughout the talk.

The winter lecture series is sponsored by the Southwest Montana Astronomical Society and the Museum of the Rockies. All lectures begin at 7 p.m., doors open at 6:30 p.m., and all are free and open to the public.

For a calendar of events at the Museum of the Rockies, visit:

For more on the Southwest Montana Astronomical Society, visit:

Contact: Joseph Shaw, (406) 994-7261,