Auroras anyone? The big sunspot cluster returns and it is grumpy

By Jo Nova

The big sunspot cluster that created the auroras a few weeks ago is very likely just over the horizon on the sun, and it appears to have spat out a doozy of an X2.9 flare to announce its return. While we can’t see the sunspot cluster itself yet, astronomers estimate that it is the same angry AR3664 set that has been circling across the far side of the sun for the last two weeks. This hyperactive region launched the X class flares that produced auroras on May 10th that were so powerful they lit up the skies far from the poles in Florida and Queensland.

The solar storm was big enough that it reached down and twiddled with compasses on the sea floor as far as 2.7 kilometers (1.7 miles) underwater. So we are left with the paradox that solar weather controls half the groundwater refill in China, shows up in patterns of lightning in Japan, and somehow correlates with jellyfish plagues on Earth, but can’t possibly cause climate change. Apparently, our air conditioners can contribute to a heatwave but the vast electro-magnetic dynamo 333,000 times heavier than Earth can not. We know this because a foreign […]

Ominous space-weather: A mild Solar CME caused a bigger geomagnetic storm on Earth than anyone expected

This week a mild Coronal Mass Ejection off the sun blasted past Earth. It was only a mild CME with solar winds at 500km per second, which is a medium kind of speed. The experts were all predicting a G1 class Geomagnetic storm, and were a bit astonished when we got much bigger G3 storm instead. (NOAA’s G scale runs from G1 up to G5).

This occurred near the minimum weak point of the solar cycle, and we’re going to get much bigger blasts as Cycle 25 ramps up. But if mild CMEs can rattle the Earth’s magnetic field this much, things might get much more exciting when moderate or strong CME’s shake the cage. Satellites and networks could be in trouble. “Grid’s Away”…

Is Earths magnetic field weaker or more vulnerable than we thought? How could we miss that?

As Cap Allon of Electroverse said:

“Nobody saw the KP Index hitting 7.

…when I say nobody, I mean nobody predicted this: not NASA, NOAA, ESA or IPS in Australia.”

It was not dense, and the filament released was hardly cause for concern.

“There is absolutely nothing in the history of […]

Extreme solar storms hit Earth in 774 and 993AD — What would happen if one hit now?

August 31, 201. This coronal mass ejection just missed Earth, according to NASA

There were two mysterious sudden spikes in carbon 14 in tree rings around a thousand years ago. Now some researchers at Lund University say they’ve matched those to beryllium layers in ice cores from the Arctic and Antarctic. Some wild event made these changes across continents all over the world at the same time, and about the only thing that could have done that was a massive solar storm (or two). There are estimates these extreme storms would have been ten times stronger than the biggest solar storms we have had in the last few decades. The two big bad storms are described as a few times bigger than even the largest solar storm in modern history, which was The Carrington Event in 1859. The radioactive spikes specifically show up in tree rings in 774/775AD and 993/994AD. It’s pretty cool that we can pin those years down so accurately, and as an aside, I imagine it makes a fairly handy calibration point for tree ring researchers now that we know it was global.

Unfortunately, if one of those happened now, it would not be fun. The […]