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PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:51 pm 
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Active Region 1890 continues to entertain us, with an X1.1 flare last night (US time) and a similar one a couple of days ago. Last night's has a weak but partially geoeffective CME, which will likely arrive around the 12th with some level of geomagnetic storming which will not be all that spectacular.

All of Region 1890's flare are impulsive, the nerd word for "bright and energetic, fast rise time, but brief duration." These aren't usually associated with major coronal mass ejection, and this particular CME in the videos is well defined but not really all that spectacular either. We're a little stormy anyway (coronal hole) and the dreaded Bz is south, so chances are very good of at least nice aurora in the usual places once the other shoe drops. However, a major event this ain't.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:46 pm 
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x1.0 flare with radio effects from Region 1893 at 1023 UTC last night (US time). Any HF fadeouts would have been mostly east of the US. Polar absorption is way up, however.

CME, yes, but it seems to be mostly on a track to miss Earth. This region is about to vanish around the west limb.

Again, just a non-happening except in nerdland.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:51 pm 
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k, zow, tell me what this means, pls.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/11/22/m ... the-drain/

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:07 pm 
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Gamma ray bursts are the most intense phenomena in the universe. If one happened near the Earth, it would sterilize the planet. Fortunately, you need an absolutely enormous supernova of a very large star, which collapses into a black hole.

Gamma ray astronomy is new, as these things go, and theories are subject to revision as new observations come in. It's a pretty dynamic field, as are astrophysics and cosmology in general right now.

Whoever said the universe was even stranger than we are capable of believing had it pretty much right. What always comes out is that we understand classic Newtonian physics pretty well, but otherwise we know doodly.

The sun can't supernova on this scale, and even if it did the earth would last a millisecond when the energy got here so you wouldn't care.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:09 pm 
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Nothing spectacular with solar flares, but comet ISON is worth following. Various spacecraft are observing its progress through perihelion, and a perilous perihelion it is at this point in the cycle. If one big CME comes right at it, there goes your Christmas sky show. Stay tuned.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:29 pm 
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Still touch and go watching comet ISON do its thing close to the sun while a nice big CME blasts off into space. So far it looks like the CME will miss, though it's close. Today's The Day of Reckoning on this one.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:25 pm 
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Comet ISON's Day of Reckoning has come. The news is not good. Started out OK. SOHO video is awesome, with the comet and a huge CME seemingly occupying the same place at the same time, but fortunately for the comet, it appears to have missed in 3-dimensional space.

Not so good right at perihelion, which happened a few hours ago. The head may have broken up. It's inside SOHO's coronagraph, but SDO is being re-pointed to get a better look.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:30 pm 
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Still a little too soon, but SDO video seems to indicate the comet did not survive perihelion.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:26 pm 
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Rejoice! Comet ISON is back from the dead!

The comet broke up and vanished, as shown by a number of spacecraft in orbits allowing views far different than the one we get on Earth. It was gone for hours. Then one fragment appeared, and grew a tail. ISON is no longer a large comet, and it is hardly the predicted Comet of the Century, but it's there. Keep tuned for whether it becomes a naked-eye object.

We haven't had all these spacecraft all that long, so anything that happens with low comet perihelions is new data. We don't really understand it very much at all. But ring the bells, for ISON is risen.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:21 pm 
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The remnants of ISON were apparently just debris, and they have faded into dust. R.I.P..

No Comet Of The Century.

Sounds like a comet designed by the House of Representatives.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:36 pm 
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Gamma ray bursts are the most intense phenomena in the universe. If one happened near the Earth, it would sterilize the planet.


Can we have one wherein it sterilizes part of the planet?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:37 pm 
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I don't think so. They are long enough for the planet to rotate.

Sun is rather interesting nowadays, getting close to the magnetic flip, with many little sunspots making many little flares that mostly only mess up radio propagation for brief times. Odd things happen around the winter solstice, with various anomalous behaviors in the upper atmosphere and magnetosphere that I really don't know very much about.

Speaking of perihelion, check out this photo at http://www.spaceweather.com/ before it goes away.

http://spaceweathergallery.com/indiv_up ... d_id=91721

This guy has managed to actually photograph the full analemma. You know, the analemma. That funny figure 8 bent thing that's on some globes. It's the solution set for the Equation of Time, but that's abstract and this photo is anything but. He's got the whole analemma documented from the sun's position in the sky at the same time for a year. No more abstract stuff. Here, you see it.

The weirdness is all because the Earth's orbit is slightly elliptical, causing the clock to run slightly ahead of and behind the sun. Same reason the earliest sunset happened two weeks ago and the latest sunrise is around New Year's. So you get a figure 8 sort of, instead of just a line.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:16 pm 
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Well guess what, we actually have a S1 radiation storm. Protons from a CME and negative Bz. The result is not perceptible unless you hear the truly vicious fades on the radio signals.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:47 pm 
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Class M flare did it to radio propagation last night. Two active regions are flaring and both are very geoeffective. Polar signal absorption currently borders on total. Those who thought they could spend their time off from work chasing ham radio DX might want to go ice fishing instead.

I'm going to check around and see if we're having stratospheric warming. The persistent arctic outbreaks in the NE US would suggest same. That's also another possible mechanism for pushing the jet stream out of position along with ice melt, sea surface temperatures, and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:03 am 
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Damn, they stopped issuing the strat-warm alerts (STRATALERTs) in 2004. Just when it started to be understood. Figures. Needed the money for tax breaks on the rich, no doubt.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:12 pm 
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Well, the sun is becoming a rather busy place. One big ass coronal hole, already making aurora here, and a bunch of big twisted sunspots of the type which can flare.

RT claims the other pole has flipped magnetic polarity, but I can't find anything to that effect. It's certainly in the process of doing that, which means peak conditions.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:26 pm 
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Enter active region #1944 raising the chance of an X class flare to 30%. This thing is HUGE and gnarly looking. It's finally a sunspot group worthy of a solar maximum. We'll see if it walks the talk.

We'd been in storm conditions thanks to the coronal hole and general stuff, but that died down. The Internets abound with awesome aurora photos.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:12 pm 
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Now it's an S1 (minor) proton event caused by an eruption around the side of the sun. Polar regions have total radio signal absorption right now.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:46 pm 
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X1.2 solar flare, a magnitude below what would cause a Carrington Event or even a major danger of power or communication failures, but directed right at the Earth. Large proton storm in progress. SOHO spacecraft showing "snow" on the pictures being sent back to Earth. This is caused by protons hitting the sensor.

Orbital Sciences has scrubbed an ISS resupply mission due to the proton storm. Probably not a good day for an EVA on the space station either.

Active region 1944 still very wound up magnetically, and in a geoeffective position. 50% estimated chance of X class flares. Minor to major magnetic storm expected but that's always iffy. As usual, mostly good for aurora watchers, though pipeline and long line operators etc will be following the numbers.

Solar flux still 200+ and in fact rising slightly. This bodes well for transcontinental propagation on the higher HF bands, at least until when and if the aurora blows out the ionosphere. Meanwhile, heavy polar cap absorption of radio signals continues. Link to the polar vortex phenomenon of the past week is not known, even though people will tell you it proves "sunspots" are causing climate change. (They're not, though they may be a minor variable in it all.)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:03 am 
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S3 level proton storm levels have occurred. This sounds a lot more ominous than it is. The scale goes to S5, and most of what you've been told happens doesn't happen below that level.

NOAA lists the effects as follows:

Quote:
Biological: radiation hazard avoidance recommended for astronauts on EVA; passengers and crew in high-flying aircraft at high latitudes may be exposed to radiation risk.***

Satellite operations: single-event upsets, noise in imaging systems, and slight reduction of efficiency in solar panel are likely. [Solar observing spacecraft continue to get snowier. The snow is proton hits. -Z]

Other systems: degraded HF radio propagation through the polar regions and navigation position errors likely. [Polar regions are currently RF sinks. Absorption below 20 MHz approaches total on these paths. Were there still a DECCA or OMEGA navigation system, they would have serious errors. I don't know what happens to GPS. -Z]

*** High energy particle measurements (>100 MeV) are a better indicator of radiation risk to passenger and crews. Pregnant women are particularly susceptible. [This IS a >100 MeV event... -Z]

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:03 am 
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and people think me a dandy because i wear a hat.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:33 pm 
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That's EUV. :-) Protons at least get directed toward the poles, for now anyway. We are apparently back in the S2 level. They launched the (unmanned) ISS mission an hour or so ago.

Today's predicted CME sudden storm commencement is late. CMEs do that. Sometimes they miss altogether. The wait continues.

Region 1944 remains ominous looking and very geoeffective, but nothing much of consequence has come from it since the initial X1.2 flare.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:38 pm 
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Sudden commencement has occurred, and it is weak. Not much to suddenly commence. More nice aurora in a cycle distinguished by same. Possible K index of 4 coming up, right on the lower edge of the storm range. Nothing to see here folks, move along please.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:30 pm 
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K index actually went down. They gave a CME and nobody came.

Norway got some aurora out of it, but Canada didn't.

Odd though... they tried to tell me radio conditions were excellent, and they were putrid. You don't call 30 dB fades in WWV, from Colorado, nowhere near the auroral zone, excellent.

Region 1944 is looking comparatively placid, and heading inexorably toward its rotation off the solar face. Possibility of X-class flare now put at 35%.

There's a student group which sends balloons up almost to the ionosphere with calibrated instrumentation, Hero3 cameras, and downlinks every time the sun has a sufficiently bad mood to make taking data marginally worthwhile. One photo looking down at Earth is of the Sierra Nevada. They'd better change the name to Sierra Seco. Absolutely brown. In January.

Can I get off this planet?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 3:09 pm 
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Good old active region #1944 made it the whole way around the sun, and it was still putting out M-class flares when it became visible again. Yesterday it did a dandy M6.6. It's been renumbered as region 1967, and as it rotates into geoeffective position it will likely be showtime for earth directed CME. Probably nothing all that spectacular, but in this cycle any action is newsworthy.

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