January 30, 2012 – WORLD – Space weather – variable conditions in the space surrounding Earth – has important consequences for our lives inside Earth’s atmosphere. Solar activity occurring miles outside Earth’s atmosphere, for example, can trigger magnetic storms on Earth. These storms are visually stunning, but they can set our modern infrastructure spinning. On Jan. 19, scientists saw a solar flare in an active region of the Sun, along with a concentrated blast of solar-wind plasma and magnetic field lines known as a coronal mass ejection that burst from the Sun’s surface and appeared to be headed for Earth. When these solar winds met Earth’s magnetic field, the interaction created one of the largest magnetic storms on Earth recorded in the past few years. The storm peaked on Jan. 24, just as another storm began. “These new storms, and the storm we witnessed on Sept 26, 2011, indicate the up-tick in activity coming with the Earth’s ascent into the next solar maximum,” said USGS geophysicist Jeffrey Love.” This solar maximum is the period of greatest activity in the solar cycle of the Sun, and it is predicted to occur sometime in 2013, which will increase the amount of magnetic storms on Earth. Magnetic storms, said Love, are a space weather phenomenon responsible for the breathtaking lights of the aurora borealis, but also sometimes for the disruption of technology and infrastructure our modern society depends on. USGS
MORE SOLAR ACTIVITY: 26/01/2012 Sunspot AR1402, the source of this week's powerful M9-class solar flare, is acting up again. On Jan. 26th between 0100 UT and 0600 UT, a sequence of C-class magnetic eruptions around the active region hurled a bright coronal mass ejection over the sun's north pole. The cloud is not heading toward Earth, at least not directly. This and future eruptions from AR1402 are unlikely to be geoeffective as the sunspot is turning away from our planet. By week's end it will be on the far side of the sun, blasting its CMEs toward planets on the opposite side of the solar system.
C-Class flares: 26/01/2012
After a day of nearly no flare activity, Sunspot 1402 produced two C-Class flares as it continues to rotate towards the western limb. The first flare measured C5.8, followed by a C7.9 at 01:49 UTC Thursday morning. These flares are small in comparison to the strong M8.7 earlier in the week, however 1402 is putting on a bit of a show before it rotates onto the limb and out of direct Earth view. This region has a Beta-Gamma magnetic classification, and there is a 25% chance for an M-Class flare.
UPDATE: Sunspot 1402 just produced a long duration C6.4 solar flare and a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) is visible in the latest Lasco C2 images. Because 1402 continues to rotate into a less geoeffective position, the expanding plasma cloud will most likely be directed away from Earth.
_SUNSET PLANETS: 26/01/2012
For the second day in a row, Venus and the crescent Moon are shining together in the sunset sky. Look west at the end of the day for a beautiful view.
Jupiter can also be seen in the sunset sky at this time. Between December 2011 and the middle of March 2012 Jupiter and Venus will seem to draw closer together, as seen from earth, until by Mid March they will appear to be side by side in the night sky.
(Image taken in eastern USA)
_CME IMPACT: As expected, a CME hit Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 24th at approximately 1500 UT (10 am EST). Geomagnetic storms are likely in the hours ahead. If it's dark where you live, go outside and look for auroras.
In Lofoton, Norway, the CME's arrival produced a surge in ground currents outside the laboratory of Rob Stammes:
"The expected CME arrived and showed up on my instruments at 15.10 UTC--a fantastic shockwave followed by a magnetic storm," says Stammes.
"This could be a happy day for many aurora watchers."
Information: Proton Flux
The sun is a big mass of energy. The sun produces high energy protons, and the solar wind carries these protons towards our planet. During solar flare activity, energetic protons are blown violently outwards... sometimes towards earth. Energetic protons can reach Earth within 30 minutes of a major flare's peak. During such an event (big ones are also known as Solar Proton Events), Earth is showered with highly energetic solar particles (primarily protons) released from the flare site. When these protons arrive at Earth and enter the atmosphere over the polar regions, much enhanced ionization is produced at altitudes below 100 km. Ionization at these low altitudes is particularly effective in absorbing HF radio signals and can render HF communications impossible throughout the polar regions. This effect is called Radio Blackouts. This type of event is also known as a Polar Cap Absorption Event or PCA. http://www.solarham.com/proton.html
Strongest Radiation Storm since 2003
The solar proton flux continues at high levels. After the CME impacted Earth this morning, it reached even higher (6300 pfu) and is now the largest radiation storm since October 2003. A Strong S3 Level radiation storm remains in progress.
_January 23, 2012 – SUN – A powerful solar eruption is expected to blast a stream of charged particles toward Earth tomorrow (Jan. 24), as the strongest radiation storm since 2005 rages on the sun. Early this morning (0359 GMT Jan. 23, which corresponds to late Sunday, Jan. 22 at 10:59 p.m. EST), NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory caught an extreme ultraviolet flash from a huge eruption on the sun, according to the skywatching website Spaceweather.com. The solar flare spewed from sunspot 1402, a region of the sun that has become increasingly active lately. Several NASA satellites, including the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), and the Stereo spacecraft observed the massive sun storm. A barrage of charged particles triggered by this morning’s solar flare is expected to hit Earth tomorrow at around 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT), according to experts at the Space Weather Prediction Center, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. According to NOAA, this is the strongest solar radiation storm since May 2005, and as a precaution, polar flights on Earth are expected to be re-routed within the next few hours, Kathy Sullivan, deputy administrator of NOAA, said today at the 92nd annual American Meteorological Society meeting in New Orleans, La. –Space.com
_ Solar protons accelerated by this morning's M9-class solar flare are streaming past Earth. On the NOAA scale of radiation storms, this one ranks S3, which means it could, e.g., cause isolated reboots of computers onboard Earth-orbiting satellites and interfere with polar radio communications. An example of satellite effects: The "snow" in this SOHO coronagraph movie is caused by protons hitting the observatory's onboard camera.
ALMOST-X FLARE AND CME (UPDATED): This morning, Jan. 23rd around 0359 UT, big sunspot 1402 erupted, producing a long-duration M9-class solar flare. The explosion's M9-ranking puts it on the threshold of being an X-flare, the most powerful kind. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the flare's extreme ultraviolet flash:
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft detected a CME rapidly emerging from the blast site: movie. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab say the leading edge of the CME will reach Earth on Jan. 24 at 14:18UT (+/- 7 hours). Their animated forecast track shows that Mars is in the line of fire, too; the CME will hit the Red Planet during the late hours of Jan. 25.
This is a relatively substantial and fast-moving (2200 km/s) CME. Spacecraft in geosynchronous, polar and other orbits passing through Earth's ring current and auroral regions could be affected by the cloud's arrival. In addition, strong geomagnetic storms are possible, so high-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.
JAN. 22ND CME IMPACT: Arriving a little later than expected, a coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth's magnetic field at 0617 UT on Jan. 22nd. According to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the CME strongly compressed Earth's magnetic field and briefly exposed satellites in geosynchronous orbit to solar wind plasma. For the next 24 hours, Earth's magnetic field reverberated from the impact, stirring bright auroras around the Arctic Circle.
NOAA forecasters estimate a 10% - 25% chance of continued geomagnetic storms tonight as effects from the CME impact subside. The odds will increase again on Jan. 24-25 as a new CME (from today's M9-clare) approaches Earth. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras.
UPDATE: 23/01/2012 The Jan. 22nd CME also disturbed Earth's ionosphere. In Atlanta, Georgia, radio engineer Pieter Ibelings monitored a 4.5 MHz CODAR (coastal radar) signal as it bounced off layers of ionization along the US east coast. "The moment of impact can be clearly seen on the CODAR radar plot," he points out:
_"The CODAR transmitters are located all around the coast and are used for mapping the ocean currents to a distance of about 200 miles," Ibelings explains.
"These signals also propagate through the ionosphere so they can be picked up all around the world. The signals are almost perfect for ionospheric sounding since they are linear chirps. I capture the chirp with a receiver locked to GPS both in frequency and time. I then de-chirp the waveform so I can extract the time of arrival information at my location."
The CODAR echoes show ionization layers shifting vertical position by some hundreds of kilometers, changes that surely affected the propagation of HF radio signals in the aftermath of the impact.
__ VENUS-DIRECTED CME: 16/01/2012
Sunspot complex 1401-1402 erupted this morning, Jan. 16th at approximately 0400 UT, producing a C6-class solar flare (SDO movie) and a bright coronal mass ejection. SOHO recorded the expanding cloud:
ADVANCING SUNSPOTS: 19/01/2012
A phalanx of sunspots is turning toward Earth. The large one, AR1401, with AR1402 and AR1405 close by, has a "beta-gamma" magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. At the moment it is unleashing one such flare every day, such as this flash recorded during the late hours of Jan. 19th. Eruptions from AR1401/1402/1405 will become increasingly geoeffective in the days ahead as the sun's rotation aligns the active region with our planet._
__EARTH-DIRECTED SOLAR FLARE: 19/01/2012
The active sunspot region AR1401/1402/1405 erupted today, Jan. 19th, between 15:15 and 16:30 UT. The long-duration blast produced an M3-class solar flare and a CME that appears to be heading toward Earth.
NASA's twin STEREO spacecraft recorded an impressive CME emerging from the blast site. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab confirm that the CME is heading for Earth, and they say strong geomagnetic storms are possible (although not guaranteed) when the cloud arrives this weekend. Their animated forecast track predicts an impact on Jan. 21st at 22:30 UT (+/- 7 hrs).
_CME IMPACT: 22/01/2012 A coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth's magnetic field at 0617 UT on Jan. 22nd. At first the impact did not appear to be a strong one: the solar wind speed barely lifted itself to ~400 km/s when the CME passed by. Now, however, in the wake of the CME, a dense and increasingly geoeffective solar wind stream is blowing around Earth, setting the stage for possible auroras on the night of Jan. 22nd. A surge of ground currents in Lofoton, Norway, signaled the CME's arrival.
Uploaded by wonderingmind42 on 16 Jun 2007
Almost 3.8 million views  for an old codger giving a lecture about arithmetic? What's going on? You'll just have to watch to see what's so damn amazing about what he (Albert Bartlett) has to say.
I introduce this video to my students as "Perhaps the most boring video you'll ever see, and definitely the most important." But then again, after watching it most said that if you followed along with what the presenter (a Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Colorado-Boulder) is saying, it's quite easy to pay attention, because it is so compelling.
Entire playlist for the lecture: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=6A1FD147A45EF50D
_Departing sunspot AR1384, currently located just behind the sun's western limb, erupted today around 14:45 UT. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the debris flying over the edge of the solar disk. The eruption appears to be connected to magnetic filaments snaking over the horizon to the Earthside of the sun.
Will this event affect our planet? Probably not. It is located too far from disk center. Stay tuned, however, to see what kind of CME the blast produced.
MERCURY-DIRECTED CME: A coronal mass ejection that blasted away from the farside of the sun yesterday is heading for Mercury. According to Goddard Space Weather Lab, it should hit the innermost planet on Jan. 3rd around 16:30 UT.
07 January 2012
INCOMING CME? A magnetic filament in the sun's northern hemisphere erupted on Jan. 5th and hurled a CME in the general direction of Earth. At first it appeared that the cloud would sail north of Earth and completely miss our planet. Subsequent work by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab suggests a different outcome: the CME might deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 7th.
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