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Spring Fever Spreading

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Aurora Borealis / Northern Lights

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The Northern Lights were visible from Mount Washington yesterday.


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Nice catch Solstice.  It's also a good reminder that auroras are twice as likely around the equinoxes.  While the sun is heading into a sun spot minimum, the solar winds are still quite capable of creating a geomagnetic storm.  

Here are a few resources for solar activity.





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G1 geomagnetic storm currently, socked in with clouds so there's really no possibility of seeing anything tonight. 




The solar wind isn't real fast right now, but that's supposed to change, hopefully we see clear skies the next couple nights.  Unfortunately, the moon is awful bright.




The level of the solar flaring activity is extremely low, with no reports
of C-class and even B-class flares. The last reported flare (B-class or
stronger) was B1.0 flare on September 11. We expect such a low lever of
activity to persist in the coming hours.
During last 24 hours we did not observe signatures of the possibly Earth
directed CMEs, and the solar protons remained at the background level.

The Earth is still inside the slow solar wind with the speed of about 330
km/s, and the interplanetary magnetic field magnitude is 3 nT. The
geomagnetic conditions are presently quiet and we expect them to stay so in
the coming hours. We can expect unsettled geomagnetic conditions late on
September 22 due to expected arrival of the fast solar wind.


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We are ill prepared for these kinds of events, I wonder what it would do to cell phones?


Space Weather in Wartime: A Sunspot Detonates Naval Mines

Nov. 9, 2018: Rewind almost 50 years. On Aug. 2nd, 1972, giant sunspot MR11976 began to explode. For the next 2 days it unleashed a series of X-class flares, causing deep radio blackouts on Earth and punishing the solar panels and onboard electronics of satellites in Earth orbit. One CME (cloud of plasma) rocketed across the sun-Earth divide in only 14.6 hours–a record that still stands today. Resulting geomagnetic storms sparked auroras so bright, they cast shadows in countries as far south as Britian.

Above: Images of giant sunspot MR11976 from the Paris Observatory. [more]

The 1972 solar storm is legendary at NASA because it occurred in between two Apollo missions: the crew of Apollo 16 had returned to Earth in April and the crew of Apollo 17 was preparing for a moon landing in December. If the timing had only been a little different, astronauts could have been sickened by radiation, requiring an emergency return home for medical attention.

Turns out, it’s legendary in the Navy, too. According to a research paperjust accepted for publication in the journal Space Weather, declassified Naval archives reveal an extraordinary explosion in the sea lanes near Vietnam: “On 4 August (1972) TF-77 aircraft reported some two dozen explosions in a minefield near Hon La over a 30-second time span…Ultimately the Navy concluded that the explosions had been caused by the magnetic perturbations of solar storms, the most intense in more than two decades.”

Above: A magnetogram from Manilla reveals unusual disturbances on Aug. 4-5, 1972. [more]

The authors, led by Delores Knipp of the University of Colorado, continue: “Aerial inspections revealed additional evidence of detonations elsewhere along the coast. The wartime memoirs of a US Navy Mineman-Sailor, Chief Petty Officer Michael Gonzales,state: ‘During the first few weeks of August, a series of extremely strong solar flares caused a fluctuation of the magnetic fields, in and around, South East Asia. The resulting chain of events caused the premature detonation of over 4,000 magnetically sensitive [mines].'”

This prompted the Navy to fast-track the replacement of magnetic-influence-only mines with mines that also required seismic or acoustic triggers during periods of high solar activity.

The August 1972 storms affected Earth in ways that are are only now being fully understood almost 50 years later. Moreover, Knipp and colleagues say the storms could be a previously-unrecognized example of an extreme Carrington-class event, and they urge further scrutiny. Given the experience of the US Navy, who can argue? Read the original research here.


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4 minutes ago, MaineJay said:

We are ill prepared for these kinds of events, I wonder what it would do to cell phones?




Yeah. Modern day problems. Only in the most recent past would it be any concern for humans as far as effects on their day to day life. Not sure anyone knows for sure what a worst case scenario solar storm is. Back in the days of old all it might do is scare the pants off people. With our reliance on satellites and electronics who knows how bad it could get. 

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While we are in the midst of a sunspot minimum, that doesn't mean nothing's going on. 

Active region 2734 tossed out a little CME yesterday.  It's not necessarily earth directed, but worth keeping an eye on.  The orientation of the earth's magnetic field near the equinoxes increases the chance at auroras.




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With a predicted KP of 6 you should be able to see it MJ but it's only going to 4 down here and we really need a 7 to see it but one never knows I'll be on the lookout. It looks by the SWPC (Space Weather Prediction Center) forecast the best time would be tomorrow morning around 5am, the 09UT in bold.

And from the SWPC its even lower.

:Product: 3-Day Forecast
:Issued: 2019 Mar 10 1230 UTC
# Prepared by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center
A. NOAA Geomagnetic Activity Observation and Forecast

The greatest observed 3 hr Kp over the past 24 hours was 2 (below NOAA
Scale levels).
The greatest expected 3 hr Kp for Mar 10-Mar 12 2019 is 5 (NOAA Scale

NOAA Kp index breakdown Mar 10-Mar 12 2019

            Mar 10     Mar 11     Mar 12
00-03UT        2          2          3     
03-06UT        2          4          4     
06-09UT        1          4          4     
09-12UT        0          5 (G1)     3     
12-15UT        2          5 (G1)     3     
15-18UT        2          5 (G1)     3     
18-21UT        2          4          3     
21-00UT        2          4          3     

Rationale: G1 (Minor) storms are likely on 11 Mar from an anticipated 
glancing blow from the 8 Mar CME.

B. NOAA Solar Radiation Activity Observation and Forecast

Solar radiation, as observed by NOAA GOES-15 over the past 24 hours, was
below S-scale storm level thresholds.

Solar Radiation Storm Forecast for Mar 10-Mar 12 2019

              Mar 10  Mar 11  Mar 12
S1 or greater    1%      1%      1%

Rationale: No S1 (Minor) or greater solar radiation storms are expected.
No significant active region activity favorable for radiation storm
production is forecast.

C. NOAA Radio Blackout Activity and Forecast

No radio blackouts were observed over the past 24 hours.

Radio Blackout Forecast for Mar 10-Mar 12 2019

              Mar 10        Mar 11        Mar 12
R1-R2            1%            1%            1%
R3 or greater    1%            1%            1%

Rationale: No R1 (Minor) or greater radio blackouts are expected.  No
significant active region flare activity is forecast.

Space Weather Prediction Center NOAA NWS

Durn DST and UTC time I believe I have that 5am right, yesterday I was figuring a 5hour diff while in EST now it's 4.  :hmm:


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