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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 1:39 pm 
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Yeah, they fuse them now. As you say, the bulbs fail shorted, and eventually we start seeing some serious load going through the rest of the series circuit. I can see the potential for a runaway condition here.

The problem I've seen with the series-connected strings is that if a bulb works just slightly loose, you can be forever wiggling bulbs trying to find the right one. The sockets aren't made all that well in China and it doesn't take much to open-circuit the string.

I greatly prefer LEDs. The colors are nicer. However it'll be a while before all my inkys die, and I'm not going to just throw them away.

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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 1:31 pm 
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Well, well, well. Proton flux took a really sharp little boink sometime around 0300 UTC May 12 (yesterday afternoon/evening in the US). It's from a filament eruption but one which turned into a C class flare. The protons are declining slowly from an initial peak just below minimal radiation storm level. It's no cause to think about canceling a long flight.

It did however cause a weak polar cap RF absorption incident which we're now in. This and a south Bz meant a good night for aurora, even though it's a shitty time of year for same. More is expected and we might get to the G1 storm threshold for magnetic field index Kp = 5. Then again, we might not.

Active Region 2339 remains nice and big, though more stable and less X-flare worthy. It's awesome on solar observatory pictures.

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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 1:10 pm 
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Polar cap RF absorption appears gone. Yesterday morning was some of the worst radio conditions in a long time, at least when there isn't a real fadeout event from a big flare. These improved in the afternoon (US time).

Enhanced solar wind (coronal holes, not flares) and negative Bz created G2 minor storm conditions, with Kp getting to 6 for a while. Now it's right on the storm threshold at 5. I know it sounds like a loop, but the aurora was pretty decent for this time of year.

The fun continues.

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 1:55 pm 
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Well on the 19th (UTC date, as always) we finally got our magnetic storm, which briefly made it to G2 level (Kp=6).

More stunning aurora photos, and it's practically summer up there.

I'm wondering if all the incredible photos this go-round are because digital cameras shoot the aurora better than film. There's no reciprocity failure in long exposures.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:32 pm 
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Sunspots were pisspoor for a couple of weeks, though now we see signs that things are picking up.

Kp recently made it to G2 level storming, yes, with dandy aurora. But it's from a coronal hole, not flares.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:20 pm 
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Alrighty. REAL NICE eruption just over the west limb. SDO got a dandy shot of it. Had it blown right at Earth, we'd have heard about it on the Nooz, if our cable and satellite still worked to see it. As it was, it seems to have caused a little boink in Kp, which didn't last long.

Nice picture at http://www.spaceweather.com/ . Keep in mind that the original SDO pictures are gigabytes large, send down through a special dedicated channel. That bird gets everything.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:54 pm 
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Active Region 2371 is getting wrapped up real nicely, and rotating into geoeffective position. It made a class M flare yesterday and pretty well blew out the ionosphere briefly on the sunlit side of Earth. Probability of a class X, the ones worth talking about, is around 15%. That's up from where it was, though I've seen much higher.

In general things are picking up in the solar department.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:06 pm 
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Well, where do you want to start? Class M flares, coronal holes, and all sorts of fun. Not foil hat time, though.

Here's the advisory:

Quote:
The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) has issued a Strong G3 Geomagnetic Storm watch beginning tomorrow (June 22). The expected storm is the result of a full halo CME observed early Sunday morning. Sky watchers at middle to high latitudes should be alert for visual aurora during the next several days.

Radiation Storm: Low energy proton levels continue to gradually climb higher and are approaching the moderate (S2) radiation storm threshold. This could have somewhat of an impact on HF radio propagation through the polar regions. Further enhancement will be possible as an expected CME shock front approaches our planet.


Polar cap D region absorption is already up.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:57 pm 
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G1 storming, a threshold waiting for the other shoe to drop. If and when it does, big boink in the magnetic field and you can't miss it.

Current numbers:

Solar-terrestrial indices for 21 June follow.
Solar flux 136 and estimated planetary A-index 8.
The estimated planetary K-index at 1500 UTC on 22 June was 4.

Space weather for the past 24 hours has been moderate.
Solar radiation storms reaching the S2 level occurred.
Radio blackouts reaching the R1 level occurred.

Space weather for the next 24 hours is predicted to be strong.
Geomagnetic storms reaching the G3 level are likely.
Solar radiation storms reaching the S2 level are expected.
Radio blackouts reaching the R1 level are expected.

(as of 6/22/2015, 8:05:02 AM)

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:03 pm 
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Sure looks like we're in a pretty decent radio blackout right this minute. D region absorption is very high over NA, centered on the sun's zenith position. HF band is dead, dead, dead.

These are usually caused by UV and X-ray from flares. No flare reported yet, though. The length of the dropout = its severity. Still counting.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:17 pm 
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Yeah big ass boink in the X-ray peaking 15 minutes ago. High class M.

Oooo double peak, one bird has it higher at 1817 UTC. Loooooooooooooong flare.

Foil hats not needed.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 6:01 pm 
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Magnetic just did its own predicted boink. Kp went to 8. If it gets to 9, which is very possible, we're looking at a once per cycle event. Last time this happened, there was aurora in L.A..

It's all going to depend on the size of the CME from today's flare, and its precise timing. It could finally be time to worry about solar flares, but right now it still isn't.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:42 pm 
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Things died down pretty fast after the Kp=8 happening. There are other CMEs out there (they're slow), but the kind of phasing that would create a Carrington Event is absent.

(The Carrington Event was not one huge flare but several moderately large ones phased just right. It looked for a few hours like a distant chance that we might have that, but we didn't. It's really a very long shot, like hitting at roulette and forgetting to pick up your bet and the same number hitting two more times.)

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2015 3:02 pm 
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We're having stormy periods with (once again) unusually good aurora for summer. Right now we're kind of between, with low activity. It's all from coronal holes, not flares, which are surprisingly absent given how spotty the sun is.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:32 pm 
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ZoWie this was in the Toriegraph, it doesn't mention warming, oh no, it's like it's an Iceburg drifting all alone out in the sea.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science ... years.html

It doesn't have to connect the dots, Tories you know what they're like, they'll say they knew it all along and scientists they now say this tooo so... .


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:00 pm 
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I saw that. The model is based on a certain analysis of the sun's two dynamos, which go in and out of phase. It's predicting a Maunder Minimum, with essentially no sunspots at all for 50-75 years. There's only been one of these since records started, and that's a surprisingly long time since the Chinese were doing observations before Galileo and all that. Yes, Europe froze over in the winter. Very Dickensian. Not enough data to know if that's the only reason why.

The British media ran with this latest thing, but other models don't duplicate it. The general agreement puts it closer to a Dalton Minimum, which comes every some number of years. The last one was in the 19th Century. You get one low cycle (like the current one), then a couple of cycles that barely happen, then it picks up again. We're due for one of those, and so far the math looks like that's what's happening.

As a good scientist, you've come up with the flaw here. These phenomena don't happen in isolation. In order for something like the Midwestern US "Year Without A Summer," you really need other variables like volcanism going in the cold direction too.

Conservatives argue that the solar dynamo models disprove global warming, but they don't. At best they perturb it somewhat.

Europe should be more concerned with possible current shifts in a warmer Atlantic. Any large Gulf Stream shift, and Europe freezes over year-round.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:59 pm 
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Meanwhile, someone published a peer-reviewed paper with the theory that there actually is no solar dynamo. This shows how well we understand the sun. As in, not well at all.

Basing policy for climate changes on predictions made for a set of processes we don't know much about is not good government.

Kp is tweaking the storm threshold of 5 on and off. It's an energetic solar wind, not flares, and it may last a while.

Active region AR2396 is the latest BIG ASS sunspot group. It's facing Earth and looks really, really cool in the photos. The magnetic lines show up real well. They're energetic, and the odds of a class M flare out of it are somewhere around 25%.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 2:39 pm 
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Solar terrestrial physics are still just as interesting as always. We're getting magnetic storms on a pretty regular basis, and some of them are bordering on noteworthy but never quite all the way there. Yes, the great aurora photos just keep on coming. It's also caused some of the worst short wave radio propagation in anyone's memory at any point in a cycle.

However, the causes have been everything except flares. Those continue pretty wussy, even though some of the most impressive sunspot groups in years keep marching across the visible disk. They're often big enough that you can see them when they do the standard zoom-in on the setting sun at televised ball games. Look in the southern hemisphere because that's where they all seem to be. But they don't make big flares, just little ones. Lots of those.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:27 pm 
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Really cool looking Active Region 2403 is about to rotate off the visible disk, and then it'll be pretty spotless.

2403 puts out the occasional M class flare, just enough to boink the X-ray charts for a while, then it settles down.

Actually, we're still in a fairly long and notable geomagnetic storm by this cycle's standards, with some G2 periods. It's still nearly all just enhanced solar wind, not flares. Long flatline at Kp=4, with one excursion up to Kp=6 and back to 4, right on the edge of anything worth writing home about.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:56 pm 
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Geomagnetic storm continues. It's a long one. Enhanced solar wind and coronal holes with a Bz that goes sharply south at times. Not flares. We go in and out of G2 conditions. Not a big deal except, once again, for aurora, which is awesome.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 1:33 pm 
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The storm ended for a few days, then it started up again. Brief G2 periods. Increased aurora in Scandinavia. Again, it's from enhanced solar wind and coronal holes.

None of this has the least thing to do with solar flares, and it's the most geomagnetically active period in a long time. News media articles to the contrary, there are a lot more variables than just how much stuff blows up and how big the explosions are.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:42 pm 
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Another real nice G2 period last night, with bright red aurora in New Hampshire. Ground currents were reported at a more northern latitude. These are what cause most of the war stories that media hype attributes to "solar flares." In a real Carrington Event type scenario, the energy moves southward in a number of ways. You get the stories like the blown transformer at Hydro Quebec, or 19th century US telegraph gear arcing. These are the ones that have been cited to "prove" that civilization is toast waiting to happen, except that it isn't unless we're awfully stupid on other things.

It would be nice, though, to have contingency plans for a world without GPS. Here, Loran-C was being upgraded into something that would have done a dandy job, but after spending megabucks of our money... it got defunded and dismantled. Sic Transit Radio Mundi.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:39 pm 
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It starts to sound like a bad heavy metal riff, but we're G2 (Kp=6) again. This time the substorm was timed to favor the US. Bright green aurora in Minnesota. Red aurora in Virginia.

It's worth repeating that magnetic storms are not taken seriously until there's red aurora on the Mt. Wilson webcam above L.A., geographic latitude 34N.

Still, this one gets some kind of award for longevity. It's real solar-peak stuff, and reminds me of Cycle 23's peak which seemed to be one long coronal hole.

Once again, notice that X-ray is flatlined. NO flares. When there are flares, they are piddly low class M. Most of the time, the few sunspots are stable and don't flare at all.

But we've had all the effects that the media love to blame on flares. Obviously, there's more to it. We've been in the longest storm I can remember in a long time, and it's all because of the Earth's position relative to peaks in the solar wind, and some persistent coronal holes to let more of that out.

I love it when nature proves something I've been arguing for years now.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:08 pm 
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Well gee, guess what. We cycled around, same 24 hour lull, and then this time Kp went to 7 instead of 6. That's enough to get us a brief period of G3 instead of G2 storming, and more aurora in the northern US. G3 is where it starts to mean something, but now we're back at G2, where it means good aurora and shitty radio.

We really do seem to be in an extended coronal hole type of situation which is exacerbated, so they say, by the Earth's position. Solar wind goes out in a corkscrew type pattern (the star does rotate, you know) and this gets tricky. One model, which I really don't understand very well, is at http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/wsa-e ... prediction . The STEREO spacecraft are a pair in solar orbit more or less at opposition to the Earth. Dizzy stuff.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:18 pm 
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Well, we're G3 again, but this time a C class flare actually caused it.

October and November are the best months for radio propagation. I wonder if the game will be called off by the sun this year. One more thing to be gloomy about. I seem to be turning into a walking black cloud.

Silver lining... equinox makes aurora better. No one knows why. Shiny lights in the sky, followed by an eclipsing supermoon (closest perigee in many years) once the moon turns full.

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