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Solar blast will hit earth
October 24, 2003 8:57 AM   Subscribe

Friday Terror! Solar blast expected to hit Earth at 3PM EST!!! Cell-phones, satellites, pagers and electrical grids may be disrupted!!! Could last 12-18 hours!!! Space martians land!!! Bad Friday Traffic!!! ACK!!!! *zap*
posted by omidius (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
but is it the perfect space storm?
posted by mrgrimm at 9:05 AM on October 24, 2003


Solar activity is rated, similar to the system for hurricanes or earthquakes, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 as the most intense. The effects from this storm are expected to be classified 3, or moderate.


We return you to your scheduled programming...
posted by dash_slot- at 9:28 AM on October 24, 2003


I've been tracking news about this latest storm via SpaceWeather, and the exciting part is that they're telling people as far south as the middle latitudes (which should include the DC-MD-VA area) to be on the lookout for auroras.

How will this affect the ISS crew, I wonder; does anyone have links to space station S.O.P. for events like this?
posted by brownpau at 9:28 AM on October 24, 2003


That'd be why those 19 beer left me stone cold sober and mildly dyspeptic, then. Curse you, Sol!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:36 AM on October 24, 2003


cool! it hasn't even peaked yet and already i've made 4 confirmed dx contacts in australia at 873.4725mhz on my cellphone! maude! fire up the osterizer!
posted by quonsar at 9:43 AM on October 24, 2003




Psst, this happens all the time. Check spacew.com for details and live plots. However, the CME has ALREADY struck, and the earth's magnetic field is pointing northward at the moment, which negated most of the effects.
posted by yupislyr at 10:29 AM on October 24, 2003


Fear the Daystar!
posted by Kikkoman at 10:31 AM on October 24, 2003


yupislyr - another one is on its way and due to hit at 3pm EDT/ 12pm PDT. That's an hour from now.
posted by linux at 10:59 AM on October 24, 2003


[OT] (Someone just visited holy vengeance upon my weblog (well, just a single -1 comment, really) for hyping up the media's damn solar lies, with IP pointing back to a referrer from this thread, and style of prose matching that of yupislyr's. Be careful what you say: the solar correctness brigade is WATCHING!!!)
posted by brownpau at 11:22 AM on October 24, 2003


roffle OWNED
posted by yupislyr at 11:35 AM on October 24, 2003


However, the CME has ALREADY struck, and the earth's magnetic field is pointing northward at the moment, which negated most of the effects.

Well, no -- Spaceweather shanked that one rather badly. The best page for getting realtime data on solar and geomagnetic events, NOAA's Space Environment Center, is extremely slow to nonresponsive today, for some reason. However, we can flash back to the past, and use gopher to get the current alerts -- which is showing an estimated Kp of 7 (out of 9) -- a G3, or Strong, Geomagnetic storm. The effects?
Power systems: voltage corrections may be required, false alarms triggered on some protection devices.

Spacecraft operations: surface charging may occur on satellite components, drag may increase on low-Earth-orbit satellites, and corrections may be needed for orientation problems.

Other systems: intermittent satellite navigation and low-frequency radio navigation problems may occur, HF radio may be intermittent, and aurora has been seen as low as Illinois and Oregon (typically 50° geomagnetic lat.)
(From NOAA Space Weather Scales which is also dead slow, I used the Google cache.)

And there's more on the way. Given the activity on the Sun, two *very* large sunspots, several CMEs inbound, and the fact that the Earth's magnetic field has tilted south again makes this weekend the best chance for most of us in the northern hemisphere to see the Aurora in a very long time.

Alas, the site I really want to link is also slow-to-down, as soon as it comes back, I'll try and post it here.
posted by eriko at 11:41 AM on October 24, 2003


all your bas... er... gadget are belong to us?
posted by bhayes82 at 11:43 AM on October 24, 2003


In all seriousness, if you DO own a tinfoil hat, now is the time for wearing it.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:43 AM on October 24, 2003


The critical thing to remember, of course, is that you need a tinfoil hat. Aluminum foil doesn't work, that's why the OMCLs have been taking over.

BTW, that site came up long enough for me to at least grab the URL -- the NOAA Auroral Activity page. Tips for viewing are linked from there.
posted by eriko at 11:49 AM on October 24, 2003


Also, again, look at the plots at spacew.com

Solar wind velocity and density are WAY up. This started happening around 15:00UT

And that story was flawed to begin with, while 3PM ET was within the predicted impact window, the impact was predicted for 10AM ET. The impact itself happened around 10:45AM. Some reporter probably didn't know what Universal Time is.

And looking at the predicted impact page, another one is NOT predicted to hit us until Saturday around midnight.

And this is all moot as long as the earth's magnetic field continues to point north. Nothing significant will be seen as for most of us long as that condition continues.
posted by yupislyr at 11:52 AM on October 24, 2003


Great. I read this just in time. Should I duck and cover?
posted by konolia at 11:53 AM on October 24, 2003


and the fact that the Earth's magnetic field has tilted south

Auroral Storm Potential
Bt=34.2nT, Bz=+30.5nT (North)

See that + sign? That's VERY North. It's spiked down south a few times but it's predominantly VERY strongly north. We want that to switch to a - sign and we're good to go.
posted by yupislyr at 11:58 AM on October 24, 2003


Yeah, the North-alignment probably means nothing will come of these middle latitude aurora warnings, even if the particle velocity/density keep rising. Pity, I've never seen auroras before. :(
posted by brownpau at 12:05 PM on October 24, 2003


Great...cloudy for the last meteor shower, cloudy for Aurora watching. I haven't seen one in years. Ah well, maybe next CME.
posted by Salmonberry at 12:05 PM on October 24, 2003


We'll just have to make our own CMEs tonight.
posted by brownpau at 12:14 PM on October 24, 2003


FYI, your DirecTV may be iffy tonight. Satellites no like solar mayhem.
posted by jengod at 1:17 PM on October 24, 2003


jengod - I don't think I had anything important to watch tonight, but this wreaks havok on my Sirius. Oh well.
posted by djspicerack at 1:35 PM on October 24, 2003


Why would the direction of the magnetic field affect the damage caused by CMEs? Wouldn't the field strength matter more than the field direction?
posted by bshort at 2:32 PM on October 24, 2003


Why would the direction of the magnetic field affect the damage caused by CMEs? Wouldn't the field strength matter more than the field direction?

From this page, it is the interaction of opposing magnetic fields in the CME and Earth that allows the solar wind to penetrate the magnetosphere.
posted by eddydamascene at 3:59 PM on October 24, 2003


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