Jul 30

H/t reader squodgy:

“A double hit of EMP’s could be ‘the killshot’.
There are two solar eruptions headed our way sunday into monday, and whilst one can weaken our ‘shields’ the second can penetrate and do the ‘biz’.

But, as with Y2K etc, it may equally be a non-event, but perhaps it’s best to rehearse.”

FYI.

Yes , most probably a non-event.


Earth Facing CME “Possible Killshot” Double Coronal Mass Ejection

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Aug 02

Earlier this morning, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) witnessed a complex magnetic eruption on the sun. The joint NASA/ESA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) — a mission sitting at the L1 point between the Earth and the sun — also spotted a large coronal mass ejection (CME) blasting in the direction of Earth.

It is thought that the SDO and SOHO observations are connected, making this a global magnetic disturbance affecting the whole of the Earth-facing side of the sun.

The eruption happened at around 0855 UT (3:55 am EST), when the SDO detected a C3-class solar flare originating from a cluster of sunspots (called sunspot 1092). This isn’t a large flare, but right at the same time, a filament located about 100,000 kilometers from the flare also erupted.

A “filament” is a long magnetic structure rising high above the surface of the sun filled with cool plasma. Because it is cooler than the sun’s chromosphere, when in the direct line of sight between the Earth and sun, it appears as a dark ribbon snaking across the sun’s disk. If a filament is spotted on the limb of the sun (i.e. on the side), it appears as a bright prominence arcing high into the sun’s atmosphere.

Judging by the timing, the flare and the filament erupted at the same time, suggesting they are connected via long-range magnetic field lines. The resulting shockwave emanating away from the flare site may have had a role to play in accelerating the filament when it hit the filament’s eruption zone.

Watch the video of the eruption as seen by the SDO:

C3events_strip

This sequence of events led to a huge magnetic bubble of plasma being blasted into space. As the eruption was on the Earth-facing side of the sun, the CME is heading right for us — see the SOHO video of the CME. We can expect its arrival on Aug. 3.

Skywatchers will be on high alert that day as when that CME intermingles with the Earth’s magnetosphere, we can expect some intense aurorae around polar regions.

Far from being a frightening event, this morning’s complex solar eruption — including a flare, shockwave, filament eruption and CME — is a testament to the technological ingenuity of the solar scientists and engineers who have designed the powerful solar missions that continually monitor our tumultuous star. Now we know a CME is coming, we can prepare for its arrival.

Continue reading »

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Mar 18

Jan. 10, 2008: Hang on to your cell phone, a new solar cycle has just begun.

“On January 4, 2008, a reversed-polarity sunspot appeared-and this signals the start of Solar Cycle 24,” says David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center.

newspot_strip.jpg
Above: Images of the first sunspot of Solar Cycle 24 taken by the NASA/ESA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

Solar activity waxes and wanes in 11-year cycles. Lately, we’ve been experiencing the low ebb, “very few flares, sunspots, or activity of any kind,” says Hathaway. “Solar minimum is upon us.”

The previous solar cycle, Solar Cycle 23, peaked in 2000-2002 with many furious solar storms. That cycle decayed as usual to the present quiet leaving solar physicists little to do other than wonder, when would the next cycle begin?

The answer is now. Continue reading »

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