I had been told that Minnesota was a good place for observing aurora, and it did not take very long before this was proved correct. By this time there was very good information on auroral activity available on the web, and I was checking it regularly for possible displays. This enabled me to be on the lookout for any activity. The only real problem was the weather. Minnesota was definitely not Western Australia!!!!!!
The first display I was able to observe from Minnesota was on October 11, 2001. Although the display was fairly mild compared to others I would observe later, it was still exciting to see my first aurora from Minnesota, especially so soon after arriving!
The display began as a faint arc low on the northern horizon. Initially I though it was just light pollution from Minneapolis, which was about 45 km to the north. However as the display brightened and moved higher in the sky, I realised what it was. There were a number of students with me undertaking an observing exercise and the display made an interesting addition, as most of them had never seen an aurora before. At its peak, the aurora appeared as a glowing green arc reaching about 35 degrees up from the northern horizon, topped by a red glow. Occassionally faint rays could be seen in the arc.