And the sun awakens...

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ZoWie
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And the sun awakens...

Post by ZoWie »

Somewhere in this forum there's a topic called "I'll tell you when to worry about solar flares." It started when we were getting a lot of them, and the Nooz was all on about them being some kind of harbingers of doom, the way the Nooz likes to do. It became The Official Solar-Terrestrial Thread.

The sun quieted down at the end of Cycle 24, and there stopped being anything to post about. It is quite the testament to the longevity of this board that now years later we're in Cycle 25. It's here. Just in the last month it's been off to the races. Time for a new Official Solar-Terrestrial Thread.

After years in the high 60s/low 70s, the 10.7 cm solar radio flux is currently 106. This is the number of Solar Flux Units. Not the most imaginative name. It's a measurement taken daily in Canada. RF on this wavelength corresponds well with activity in the relevant parts of the sun, and it shows a decent correlation with the sunspot number ("Wolf Number"). 106 is respectable. We're off to the races, and that's all there is to it.

Where there are sunspots, there are flares. We're getting these, though they're pretty piddly. There have been some nice boinks in the x-ray reaching Earth, with an HF propagation disturbance or two. Even so, they're not much. They're class C. You go in powers of 10, and class M is next up. Then, like movies, the really provocative ones are rated X. Those cause the full radio blackouts, when the initial bursts of x-ray and extreme UV hit the ionosphere. Coronal mass ejected from them (mostly protons and a few electrons) causes aurora, ground currents, damage to satellites, arcing pipelines, blown transformers, etc a few days later. It pushes the Earth's magnetosphere around. X10 is a flare that will definitely get your attention, but it's safe down here on the ground. No foil hat needed. The biggest one I can remember is X28, and let's just say that we're lucky the mass ejection missed the Earth.

Active Region #2786 seems to be the best of several that just popped up. It's basically one big sunspot, with a diameter about the same as the Earth. It's round. Were it all twisted, it would have more energy to use on flares, but that comes later in the cycle. Have fun!
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by rainwater »

i barely barely know what you are talking about. but thats me.

i will say...about 3pm in the afternoon ive been seeing the moon overhead in the day time sky
about 45degrees E of the sun as it was heading down in the western sky.
it was Quite Stunning to see both of them sitting up there, moon over the mountain in the blue sky during
daytime and the sun at 3pm position in the sky.
it was too too cool.
can you imagine seeing Saturn sitting right up there all day long...

as the days have moved on...the moon is showing up later, fuller, and the sun is way closer
to down, degrees are prolly about 50-60degrees now and time is later. moon will, should be, full
by tonite, i have storm clouds in so ill prolly miss it tonight. bummer.
Who are these..flag-sucking halfwits fleeced fooled by stupid little rich kids, They speak
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by ZoWie »

I've noticed the moon being visible in day time for about a week now. It's pretty spectacular. Then when it gets dark you have Mars not that far away. At least I think it's Mars. It's big and it's red. Looks like earlier this year when it was even bigger, and you could practically make out its spherical shape without a telescope.

The sun sets really early right now in this hemisphere. It doesn't get much earlier. It's actually a bit later by the solstice. The solstice is still the shortest day, but not the earliest sunset. It has to do with the Earth's orbit not being completely circular, and stuff like that. Also the latest sunrise isn't the solstice. It's around New Year's Day.

This is a big year for planets. They've all been in the Northern Hemisphere sky at one time or another. Out where you are, away from the city, the nights should have been pretty damn good. It's awesome enough in LA.
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by rainwater »

actually, night skies have surprized me both here and in Canada.
i thot for sure the CAN night skies where i was--very small population with NO
big cities anywhere near--would be Excellent and they werent. couldnt see much star
planet stuff at all, i was shocked by that.
here, same thing. the closest city casts so much light the night sky is not much to
celebrate at all. i can barely make out the big dipper.

two summers ago was cool....it was jupiter saturn mars and the moon would rise to the middle
of jupiter and saturn and they were all in a Line. if id not seen a star-gazer one nite id not
have known what was in this alignment despite seeing it.
i was quite taken with saturn. this year saturn rises early morning so i dont see it.
this year is Totally diff nite sky than summer and fall 2yrs ago, all i can see near the moon
now is mars. how weird how it all changes. it all moves.
Last edited by rainwater on Sat Nov 28, 2020 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Who are these..flag-sucking halfwits fleeced fooled by stupid little rich kids, They speak
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by rainwater »

oh what a sweet full moon up there this looming dusk to dark time. wow.
it and the sun are now about 160degrees apart.
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by ZoWie »

Penumbral eclipse last night, so we must have hit 180 at some point.

OK... region 2781 is still partially behind the sun's east limb, but not so far that we didn't see a really nice long-duration class M flare yesterday. That measurement is from the x-ray down here, so it might have been a class X that was partially shielded. It certainly blew off a truly spectacular mass ejection worthy of a class X. That will mostly miss Earth. Whatever happens will happen in a couple of days, and you won't notice it unless you're a migratory bird.

Solar flux is 116. Another new high. I must say that this cycle woke up awfully fast.
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by ZoWie »

And just like that, HF radio propagation from Asia to the US West Coast is back. Here's a small portion of a Japanese newspaper received on this coast via radiofax.

Image
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by ZoWie »

The old AR 2781 sunspot responsible for the awesome coronal mass ejection finally rotated into view, and was renumbered AR 2790. What's amazing about this one is that it should have the twisted shape that stores up magnetic field potential energy, and it doesn't. It's a weenie little round thing. The thing about the sun is that the rules are guidelines only. It's like red traffic lights in Manhattan and Boston. Pedestrians consider them to be advisories.
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by Motor City »

The Voyagers Found a Small Surprise in Interstellar Space
The spacecraft are still feeling the sun billions of miles from home.

............ A team of scientists has detected sudden bursts of cosmic rays around the Voyagers. The bursts, they report, are caused by shock waves emanating from solar eruptions that spew particles out at a million miles an hour. The shock waves take more than a year to reach the Voyagers, but when they do, they excite cosmic-ray electrons nearby. Scientists have observed similar phenomena closer to home, around Earth and our planetary neighbors, but never in interstellar space.

“We’re really discovering that what we thought would be this quiet, pristine interstellar medium is actually disturbed considerably” by the sun, Don Gurnett, a University of Iowa professor emeritus of physics and astronomy, who led the research, told me.

More than 40 years ago, Gurnett designed and built one of the instruments on the Voyager mission that can sense such things. Voyager 1 crossed into interstellar space in 2012, and Voyager 2 followed in 2018. But the spacecraft actually haven’t left the solar system, despite many headlines over the years claiming that they have. This might seem, at first glance, a little contradictory—how can something exist in the space between stars and within the solar system at the same time? Aren’t those two different things?

From our perspective, interstellar space begins when sun particles can’t go any farther. The sun releases a steady current of high-energy particles in all directions, all the time, and this solar wind encompasses the planets, their moons, and other celestial bodies in a protective bubble called the heliosphere. Scientists had predicted that the breeze would stop where it met the cold particles of the interstellar medium, which is sprinkled with material left behind by supernovas, the deaths of other stars.

But they didn’t know exactly where this sphere of the sun’s influence stopped until 2012, when Voyager 1 detected the beginning of a different cosmic environment. “It’s not impossible, but it’s very difficult for solar plasmas to cross that boundary,” Bill Kurth, a research scientist at the University of Iowa and Gurnett’s co-author on the new findings, told me.
Maybe if they sent a probe to follow it could catch and relay the info even farther in
About 5 billion years from now, when our sun dies in a dramatic process that will engulf our entire planet, the Voyagers will probably still be coasting through the galaxy. “At some point in time, the Voyagers could be the only remaining evidence that Earth was around,” Kurth said.
Thought this was interesting, we could find a space probe from some other planet that was already swallowed up before we even came into existence

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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by ZoWie »

That cosmic ray observation really is interesting. It makes sense, though.

I love how it takes the better part of a day for Voyager I signals to reach Earth.

Even the Mars rovers are too far out for direct control. You can send up instructions, dash out for a quick lunch, and get back just in time to see if the rover received and acknowledged your transmission. The other stuff, like going around rocks and not tipping over on hills, is autonomous.
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by rainwater »

i wrote how little dark sky i see....BUT THEN now i have a very large ORION overhead.
wow. dont recall Ever seeing Orion and/or like this. :shock:
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by ZoWie »

This time of year, Orion is quite something to see.

Wussy little AR 2790 blew its cookies yesterday right at Earth. Only a C level event, but its position means stand by for aurora in the usual places starting possibly late tomorrow or early Thursday. Maybe even some unusual places, like far northern US, but not bright. Should be a nice dark night.
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by rainwater »

https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/ ... ?utm_campa
The sun is awakening with ‘solar storms’ that could affect Earth
NOAA is predicting a strong one Thursday that could generate northern lights as far south as Oregon to Pennsylvania.
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by ZoWie »

That burst of coronal mass/ enhanced solar wind arrived at this planet last Wednesday. It didn't live up to expectations. Kp went to 4, the storm threshold, for a few hours, but then dropped off. I don't think anyone in the US saw aurora.

Last cycle one of these things was so big that there was red aurora in Los Angeles. Webcams away from the city lights showed it. The distortion on radio signals was incredible. WWV, the standard frequency station, was changing frequency slightly at the other end of skywave paths.
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by rainwater »

ZoWie wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 3:14 pm
That burst of coronal mass/ enhanced solar wind arrived at this planet last Wednesday. It didn't live up to expectations. Kp went to 4, the storm threshold, for a few hours, but then dropped off. I don't think anyone in the US saw aurora.

Last cycle one of these things was so big that there was red aurora in Los Angeles. Webcams away from the city lights showed it. The distortion on radio signals was incredible. WWV, the standard frequency station, was changing frequency slightly at the other end of skywave paths.
:rw)
k, im a week late, eh. not a shock in december!!
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by ZoWie »

Yeah, the sun has quieted down a wee bit. There was one flare that registered in the high end of the C class, but any CME from the thing is missing Earth.
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by rainwater »

oh saturn and jupiter putting on quite a nite time show. an hour after sunset in the SW, maybe
a bit later, and its very visible. you can see they are Not on top of one another using binocs.
without binocs minimum they appear to be...one star planet.
this surprized me, seeing both of them close together. from the plain eye on earth they
appear to be one.

saturn has been quite the show the last few years. :mrgreen:
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by rainwater »

the last time saturn and jupiter got this close, forming the "great conjunction" was...1623 AD.
wow.

its about down, gone now from my SW sky. the partial moon is up high now.
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by rainwater »

there was that, mostly, half moon up in the afternoon sky with the sun.
i find that wild. id LOVE TO SEE SATURN SIT UP THERE AT THE SAME TIME. what a show!!

if we had saturn up there near our view...humans would spend their time standing staring at it.

:rw) :rw)
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by ZoWie »

I saw that! I don't think I've ever seen the moon brighter in the day time. It was awesome, then the conjunction gradually revealed itself as the sun set. Even in smoggy and light-polluted LA, it was quite the show.
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by rainwater »

ive got the conjunction low in the SWestern sky presently.
def need binocs to see both of them.

the moon almost does seem brighter this month during the day.
i look up for it dont see it, then i look up for it and ...there it is!!
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by ZoWie »

Odd thing... the sun has (likely briefly) gone back to sleep, with no visible sunspot activity and very little magnetic disturbance. Radio flux back to the low 70s. Etc.

And in the middle of all this, something caused an enormous prominence with a huge mass ejection. ???????? The enhanced solar wind was predicted to miss the Earth, but it didn't. We were at the magnetic storm threshold for the better part of a day. The aurora went bonkers.

The rules don't always hold.
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by rainwater »

ZoWie wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:03 pm
Odd thing... the sun has (likely briefly) gone back to sleep, with no visible sunspot activity and very little magnetic disturbance. Radio flux back to the low 70s. Etc.

And in the middle of all this, something caused an enormous prominence with a huge mass ejection. ???????? The enhanced solar wind was predicted to miss the Earth, but it didn't. We were at the magnetic storm threshold for the better part of a day. The aurora went bonkers.

The rules don't always hold.
what does that mean?
Who are these..flag-sucking halfwits fleeced fooled by stupid little rich kids, They speak
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by ZoWie »

A network of instruments keeps a watch on the Earth's magnetic field. The amount of change in the measurements can be a tip-off that something's happening. The best parameter that measures this is the planetary K index, Kp, since it gets updated several times a day. I don't know why it's called the K index. It just is. It appears all over the Web, and also the WWV time station broadcasts it hourly.

It's always a whole number from 0 to 9. Any Kp < 4 is considered quiet. There's no enhanced solar wind moving the Earth's magnetic field around. There aren't enough charged particles to migrate toward the poles and cause aurora. Kp=4 is the storm threshold. I suppose it's considered a magnetic storm because readings change faster. Kp > 4 is varying strengths of storm, from minor to major to severe. 9 is a severe storm, and as high as Kp goes. I've seen it once or twice in my life. This is the kind of event that you've read about, with power distribution transformers blowing up, pipelines arcing, etc etc. At this strength, you can actually watch your compass needle moving around. Signals returning from the ionosphere have wobbly frequencies. Migratory birds get lost. Bright red Aurora Borealis is visible in LA if you find a dark spot. Etc..

Most of the time, the cause is enhanced flow of charged particles from mass being ejected from the sun. Mass is ejected from the sun when sunspots rupture their magnetic fields and release energy. There were no sunspots. Something blew its cookies anyway. Nobody knows why. It's really impressive on the pictures taken from space. Big old kaboom. It was supposed to miss the Earth, but it just kind of grazed the magnetosphere on the way past. Had it been a direct hit, you'd have heard about it.

Basically a bolt from the blue.
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Re: And the sun awakens...

Post by rainwater »

i could watch Cosmos--any version--over and over since so much of it makes little sense to me.
i mean i understand it i just cant store it in my very right brain.
like trying to have a visual sense of billions or trillions.

i know there are humans like you who do understand and comprehend it all. :)
Who are these..flag-sucking halfwits fleeced fooled by stupid little rich kids, They speak
for all that is cruel stupid, They are racists hate mongers I piss down the throats of
these Nazis Im too old to worry whether they like it, Fuck them.
HST.

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