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Sun Hurls Huge Magnetic Cloud Toward Earth


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The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration said a strong geomagnetic storm like this one -- classified as a G-5, the strongest category -- could cause widespread voltage control problems in power systems, including transformer damage, could cause problems with satellites and other spacecraft and could cause charging of currents in pipelines.
Sounds like tomorrow it could be interesting
When that cloud of particles gets here -- perhaps by midday Wednesday but the exact arrival time is unclear -- it could have severe effects, Brekke said.
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50-50 chance that nothing much will happen, though. If the 'north pole' of this CME (coronal mass ejection) hits our magnetic field's south pole, then there will be problems (opposites, after all, attract). North on north will just repel most of the ions and such. I love astronomy AND electronics :D[Edit] The CME will hit our north pole magnetic field, so the question is whether it will be a 'south pole CME' (most damaging) or a 'north pole CME' (least damaging) [/Edit]

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Thank goodness you folks were only discussing astronomy. From the topic title I though Scot McNealy had about had it with us and was going to punish us for using Windows, Mac/OS or Linux. :D

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SonicDragon

I haven't really seen anything on what happened. I just happened to catch a headline on the news that said many satellites were being effected... and that if the clouds clear, we should be able to see the northern lights. Anyone else heard anything?

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The manufacturing plant where my husband works lost most of its power this morning - was out by the time he went to work at 7:00 AM EST. Most machines were shut down & may take days to sort it all out. They are investigating the cause. I don't think that they have ever had the plant shut down like this - not even for obvious weather reasons - hurricanes, flooding, ice storms or snow storms. :D But I haven't heard of any other major power outages.

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Well I took a nap and I see we still have power and the world isn't up in flames, except California. I took astronomy class in high school but I don't recall reading about anything like this.

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Guest LilBambi
STORM SUBSIDING? An intense geomagnetic storm, in progress since a coronal mass ejection swept past Earth early on Oct. 29th, might be subsiding. The interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) near Earth has tilted north--a condition that suppresses geomagnetic activity and auroras.Meanwhile, another CME is heading our way. It was hurled toward Earth by giant sunspot 486, which unleashed an X11-class solar flare at 2049 UT on Oct. 29th. The fast-moving cloud could excite more auroras when it arrives on or about Halloween.
http://www.spaceweather.comJust when we thought we were getting past this...here comes another one! I wonder if these things can be cumulative if they haven't had time to dissipate? :ph34r: And just in time for Halloween ... might make for some interesting spooky timing! LOL! :( BTW: Sieb was saying they were seeing some Northern Lights in her area in Virginia and asked if we were. We looked and saw some odd brightness due north with some green/pinkish orange hues ... wish we could have seen down by the horizon, I bet it was awesome! Just a tease here!
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Check out the site below to learn more about the sun and phenomena like this.

A Primer on Space WeatherOur Star, the SunWe all know that the Sun is overwhelmingly important to life on Earth, but few of us have been given a good description of our star and its variations. The Sun is an average star, similar to millions of others in the Universe. It is a prodigious energy machine, manufacturing about 4.0E023 kilowatts of energy per second. In other words, if the total output of the Sun was gathered for one second it would provide the U.S. with enough energy, at its current usage rate, for the next 9,000,000 years. The basic energy source for the Sun is nuclear fusion, which uses the high temperatures and densities within the core to fuse hydrogen, producing energy and creating helium as a byproduct. The core is so dense and the size of the Sun so great that energy released at the center of the Sun takes about 50,000,000 years to make its way to the surface, undergoing countless absorptions and re-emissions in the process. If the Sun were to stop producing energy today, it would take 50,000,000 years for significant effects to be felt at Earth! Full story at:http://sec.noaa.gov/primer/primer.html
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Well I took a nap and I see we still have power and the world isn't up in flames, except California.  I took astronomy class in high school but I don't recall reading about anything like this.
And Colorado, it seems :D
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Sun unleashes a new wave of stormsBy Robert Roy Britt, Space.comThe sun cut loose with three severe flares in less than 24 hours through Monday morning, bringing to nine the number of major eruptions in less than two weeks. Scientists have never witnessed a string of activity like this.COLORFUL AURORAS are expected to grace the skies at high latitudes and possibly into lower portions of the United States and Europe over the next two or three nights. Satellites and power grids could once again be put at risk. Early Monday, Paal Brekke, the European Space Agency's deputy project manager for the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, was still digesting the significance of the three additional outbursts on top of two back-to-back monster flares last Tuesday and Wednesday. "I think the last week will go into the history books as one of the most dramatic periods of solar activity we have seen in modern time," Brekke told Space.com. BY THE NUMBERS The flares this week began with an X8 event at 12:25 p.m. ET Sunday. On this scale, all X-storms are severe, and the number indicates the degree of severity. An X3 flare erupted at 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Reports of the third flare are preliminary. It left the sun at 4:55 a.m. ET Monday and is estimated to be an X4 or X5. The trio of outbursts comes within a week of the unprecedented, back-to-back severe flares rated X17 and X10. The first four flares in this long, amazing series date back to Oct. 22 and were ranked less than X2. All flares of this magnitude are capable of disrupting communications systems and power grids and harming satellites. Two Japanese satellite failures and a power outage in Sweden were blamed on the first six storms. The new flares were accompanied by coronal mass ejections of charged particles that take anywhere from 18 hours to two or three days to reach Earth. These coronal mass ejections represent the brunt of the storm unleashed by a flare. A storm's precise strength, however, cannot be known until about 30 minutes before it passes over Earth's magnetosphere. The storm's effect depends on the orientation of its magnetic field. If that field is southward -- opposite the direction of Earth's north-pointing magnetic field -- then the potential is greatest for accelerating the local particles that can then damage satellites and fuel auroras. MORE AURORAS Scientists said the eruptions will generate increased auroras, the colorful northern and southern lights excited by fast-moving particles, beginning midday ET Monday and into Tuesday and beyond. The lights shine because particles excite gas molecules in the atmosphere. The chance of severe geomagnetic storming -- the root of auroras -- at middle latitudes is 30 percent Monday and 50 percent Tuesday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Environment Center. The precise extent of the aurora at any moment can't be predicted, but it can be seen in real time with Space.com's Aurora Cam. The fist flare Sunday was generated by Sunspot 486, which was the site of last week's major storms. The one late Sunday came from Sunspot 488, which is huge but has not been a major player until now. Monday's flare also leapt from Sunspot 488. Both sunspots are about to rotate off the right side of the Sun's face, so their associated coronal mass ejections were not aimed squarely at Earth. However, these clouds of hot gas expand as they race into space at up to 5 million mph (8 million kilometers per hour), so at least glancing blows are expected. Sunspots are dark, cooler regions of the solar surface. They are areas of pent-up magnetic activity, caps on upwelling matter and energy that can blow at any moment. No scientist can recall nine X-class flares ever occurring in a 12-day period. More major flares are possible this week, forecasters said.
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Yes, I read this article earlier tonight and it just suprises me although this don't sound as bad as the other, but more auroras on the way.

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nlinecomputers

Well I know that the ones last week were seen in Midland TX where I live but it was about 1 am before it showed up and I had given up and gone to bed. :huh: The paper had great photos of it. Bright Red hue on the northwestern sky.

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Guest LilBambi
Spaceweather.com also has some great aurora pictures, daily info on space weather including all these CME's and the asteroid HERMES which astonomers are watching this week.
SOLAR PAUSE? Giant sunspots 486 and 488 are about to disappear from view, carried over the western limb of the sun by our star's 27-day rotation. This means Earth-directed explosions will stop... for a while. Big sunspots often persist for many weeks. These two might reappear on the eastern side of the sun in two weeks, the time required for them to transit the far side of the sun.
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ross549

Those plucky sunspots are causing us a lot of headaches at work.... Some of our satellite links have been degraded be cause of it.

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Space.comAnother link on this most recent flare up.  Good headline, "Sun on fire".  Duh...
I'm thinking something would be VERY wrong if the sun were actually on fire. Fire implies combustion. Fusion is what is (originally) creating the light we see. The photons get bounced around a few trillion trillion trillion (you get the idea B) ) times before it actually reaches us. For there to be fire would imply that the sun is VERY cold (relatively). Cold sun = bad B) :(
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Guest LilBambi
SUPERFLARE: Giant sunspot 486 unleashed another powerful solar flare on Nov. 4th (1950 UT). Ionizing radiation hit Earth's atmosphere soon after the explosion and caused a severe radio blackout, which radio listeners noticed across North America.This latest flare from sunspot 486 could be historic. The blast saturated X-ray detectors onboard GOES satellites for 11 minutes. The last time a flare did this, on April 2nd, 2001, it was classified as an X20--the biggest ever recorded at the time. The Nov. 4th, 2003, solar flare appears to have been even stronger.Sunspot 486 is near the sun's western limb, which means the blast was not directed very much toward Earth. Even so, sky watchers should be alert for auroras on Nov. 5th or 6th when a coronal mass ejection (CME) is expected to deliver a glancing blow to our planet's magnetic field.
Today's SpaceWeather.com - November 4, 2003This animation is pretty amazing on the site!
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Indeed, LilBambi. Tis a shame the enlarged views weren't also animations. I love the the filters that make the sun look green or red. I forget which wavelengths those are, but I suppose it doesn't particularly matter ;) ;) ;)

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The images at spaceweather are fantastic. Could make some good wallpaper. Let's hope the Sun is just having a light case of indigestion and nothing more serious is building.When you look at photo's of the Sun, a star, on a web page, we commonly forget just how big and powerful it is. Some statistics:

Sun StatisticsCharacteristic Measurement  Mass (kg) 1.989e+30 Mass (Earth = 1) 332,830 Equatorial radius (km)  695,000  Equatorial radius (Earth = 1) 108.97  Mean density (gm/cm^3) 1.410 Mean distance from - (km) 0  Rotational period (days) 25-36* Escape velocity (km/sec) 618.02 Luminosity (ergs/sec)  3.827e33 Magnitude (Vo) -26.8 Mean surface temperature 6,000°C  (about 10,000°F)Temperature at center 22.5 million°FAge (billion years) 4.5 Principal Chemistry Percent  Hydrogen  92.1% Helium 7.8%  Oxygen  0.061% Carbon  0.030%  Nitrogen  0.0084% Neon  0.0076%  Iron 0.0037% Silicon  0.0031% Magnesium 0.0024%  Sulfur 0.0015%  All others  0.0015% * The Sun's period of rotation at the surface varies from approximately 25 days at the equator to 36 days at the poles. Deep down, below the convective zone, everything appears to rotate with a period of 27 days.
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Cluttermagnet

A fellow radio operator who is really into the space weather stuff (it strongly impacts on whether or not we have short wave radio propagation) said he thinks the Nov 4th event might have been an x-40 intensity. He says that if so, it is unprecedented. Somehow, I doubt old Sol is about to explode on us, but such energetic events do make one nervous. We are headed for, and not too far away from, the next solar minimum. At that time, we expect to see no sunspots, or at least consistently low counts of them. But it is well known that the sun can 'burp' most any time, including times well away from the solar maximum. The whole min/max thing is on a roughly 11 year cycle and that aspect of the sun's behavior is fairly predictable. There is normally quite a lot of variability even with that major cycle, however. So you end up having somewhat a degree of randomness or unpredictability within an overall predictable cyclic behavior.

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Wavelength colors.I just wanted to see if I could beat Lil "Google is my middle name" Bambi with a link for your edification, Stonegiant.  :D
The most amazing thing about your reply is that I was just waiting for LilBambi to Google that for me :D I was about to Google it myself, but decided to wait for LilBambi to do it.
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