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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #75 on: Jul 31st, 2008, 10:35pm »

COMET ALERT: Earlier today, the SOHO spacecraft detected a comet plunging toward the sun and it appears headed for closest approach during Friday's total eclipse. Experienced astronomers in the path of totality may be able to photograph the doomed comet shining like a 5th or 6th magnitude star about 2o from the edge of the eclipsed sun. The Minor Planet Center has just released an ephemeris for the comet, newly named C/2008 O1 (SOHO).

GET READY FOR THE SOLAR ECLIPSE:

Less than 24 hours from now, the sun and Moon will meet, converging to produce a solar eclipse. The narrow path of totality stretches from arctic Canada, across Greenland and Siberia, to millions of waiting eyes in populous China. NASA TV will broadcast the event beginning Friday, August 1st, at 6 am EDT. Don't miss it!
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

http://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse/


http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/29jul_solareclipse.htm



OVER THE HORIZON: NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft has beamed back a movie of a spectacular eruption on the sun's eastern limb. Click on the image to launch a 6 MB mpeg:

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movie

The movie spans a two day period, July 12-14, and shows a blob of gas five times the size of Earth being hurled away from the sun. Earth was not in the "line of fire" so no geomagnetic storms or auroras resulted from the blast.

Astronomers on Earth witnessed only the upper regions of the explosion. From our point of view, the action took place over the sun's horizon. STEREO-B, however, has a different point of view. STEREO-B shares Earth's orbit around the sun (approximately), but lags behind Earth by about 30 degrees. This allows the spacecraft to see "around the bend," revealing solar activity hidden from terrestrial eyes.

Seeing the hidden side of the sun is just one of many benefits of the ongoing STEREO mission; learn more from nasa.gov.



Also I gotta add.. That NBC news today announced that WATER HAS BEEN FOUND ON MARS. Showing again how main stream media lags behind the internet. I think I posted that story over a MONTH ago. Exact same story btw.

Another announcement from NASA yesterday said that Cassini has found with certainty that The moon of Saturn called Titan DOES in fact have a black liquid covering the south pole. They had seen this before and thought perhaps it was black soil. They know now it IS liquid. Further more, they know what it is by using the Cassini's instruments. It is liquid hydrocarbon. Yes, its OIL. Not something like oil, it IS oil. They now know for 100%. This is a really neat thing NASA has found out. It pretty much shows proof that oil isn't dead organic life but rather its a by product of a planets or moons core. Either it is made by subduction of the upper plates or with volcanoes. Either way it is a really neat find. Good job NASA! More on this story in the next few weeks.



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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #76 on: Aug 1st, 2008, 10:39pm »

News Release

NEWS - News Releases - 2008

NASA Confirms Liquid Lake on Saturn Moon
July 30, 2008
(Source: NASA/JPL)


PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA scientists have concluded that at least one of the large lakes observed on Saturn's moon Titan contains liquid hydrocarbons, and have positively identified the presence of ethane. This makes Titan the only body in our solar system beyond Earth known to have liquid on its surface.

Scientists made the discovery using data from an instrument aboard the Cassini spacecraft. The instrument identified chemically different materials based on the way they absorb and reflect infrared light. Before Cassini, scientists thought Titan would have global oceans of methane, ethane and other light hydrocarbons. More than 40 close flybys of Titan by Cassini show no such global oceans exist, but hundreds of dark, lake-like features are present. Until now, it was not known whether these features were liquid or simply dark, solid material.

"This is the first observation that really pins down that Titan has a surface lake filled with liquid," said Bob Brown of the University of Arizona, Tucson. Brown is the team leader of Cassini's visual and mapping instrument. The results will be published in the July 31 issue of the journal Nature.

Ethane and several other simple hydrocarbons have been identified in Titan's atmosphere, which consists of 95 percent nitrogen, with methane making up the other fiver percent. Ethane and other hydrocarbons are products from atmospheric chemistry caused by the breakdown of methane by sunlight.

Some of the hydrocarbons react further and form fine aerosol particles. All of these things in Titan's atmosphere make detecting and identifying materials on the surface difficult, because these particles form a ubiquitous hydrocarbon haze that hinders the view. Liquid ethane was identified using a technique that removed the interference from the atmospheric hydrocarbons.

The visual and mapping instrument observed a lake, Ontario Lacus, in Titan's south polar region during a close Cassini flyby in December 2007. The lake is roughly 20,000 square kilometers (7,800 square miles) in area, slightly larger than North America's Lake Ontario.

"Detection of liquid ethane confirms a long-held idea that lakes and seas filled with methane and ethane exist on Titan," said Larry Soderblom, a Cassini interdisciplinary scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Ariz. "The fact we could detect the ethane spectral signatures of the lake even when it was so dimly illuminated, and at a slanted viewing path through Titan's atmosphere, raises expectations for exciting future lake discoveries by our instrument."

The ethane is in a liquid solution with methane, other hydrocarbons and nitrogen. At Titan's surface temperatures, approximately 300 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, these substances can exist as both liquid and gas. Titan shows overwhelming evidence of evaporation, rain, and fluid-carved channels draining into what, in this case, is a liquid hydrocarbon lake.

Earth has a hydrological cycle based on water and Titan has a cycle based on methane. Scientists ruled out the presence of water ice, ammonia, ammonia hydrate and carbon dioxide in Ontario Lacus. The observations also suggest the lake is evaporating. It is ringed by a dark beach, where the black lake merges with the bright shoreline. Cassini also observed a shelf and beach being exposed as the lake evaporates. "During the next few years, the vast array of lakes and seas on Titan's north pole mapped with Cassini's radar instrument will emerge from polar darkness into sunlight, giving the infrared instrument rich opportunities to watch for seasonal changes of Titan's lakes," Soderblom said.

More information is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/cassini, http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and http://wwwvims.lpl.arizona.edu .

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer team is based at the University of Arizona.



Alright! Finally some news about it!


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SOLAR ECLIPSE: Earlier today, ordinary sunbeams in Europe and Asia shape-shifted, suddenly taking the form of crescents. That's what happens during a solar eclipse. In Esfahan, Iran, the sun was about 20% covered when Mohamad Soltanolkotabi photographed these crescents decorating the floor of the Sheikh Lutffullah mosque:
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"Sunlight beaming through windows in the Mosque's dome created these eclipsed suns on the floor," he explains.

Meanwhile in Novosibirsk, Russia, the Moon covered the sun 100%, completely extinguishing all sunbeams. Eclipse chaser Anthony Ayiomamitis took advantage of the darkness to photograph the sun's corona and a pair of stunning diamond rings: pictures. Browse the gallery for more:
Gallery
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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #77 on: Aug 3rd, 2008, 4:22pm »

TWILIGHT PLANET HUNT: When the sun goes down tonight, grab your binoculars and scan the western horizon. Venus and the whisper-thin crescent Moon are hiding in the rosy glow of sunset. You probably won't be able to see them with the unaided eye, but they are there, a bright and pretty sight through optics. Good hunting!

PROTO NEW-CYCLE SUNSPOT: A sunspot from the next solar cycle could soon appear in the sun's northern hemisphere. SOHO magnetograms show an emerging magnetic dipole with the telltale polarity of Solar Cycle 24:
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/10jan_solarcycle24.htm

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So far this is merely a proto-sunspot; the magnetic fields have not coalesced to form a truly dark sunspot core. Nevertheless, the little active region is significant. It is a herald of new Solar Cycle 24, and a sign that the solar cycle, while seemingly stuck in endless minimum, is actually progressing normally. The calm won't last forever!
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/11jul_solarcycleupdate.htm

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MAGNIFICENT CORONA: The sun's wispy, dancing, mysteriously-hot outer atmosphere is one of the prettiest sights in the heavens. The trick is seeing it. Under normal circumstances, blinding sunlight hides the corona from sensitive human eyes. Yesterday, however, was not normal:
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Hartwig Luethen took the picture on August 1st when the Moon passed directly in front of the sun, briefly revealing the corona for all to see. To photograph the eclipse, Luethen stationed himself in Kochenovo, west of Novosibirsk, Russia, deep inside the path of totality. "I used a Canon 350D to make 24 exposures varying in length from 1/500 to 2 seconds." The resulting composite shows the ghostly corona, a magnetic prominence surging over the lunar limb, and the Earthlit surface of the Moon itself. Browse the gallery for more corona shots:

Some one set us [nasa] up the bomb!
Something error happens.

NANOSAIL-D LOST: Sadly, NASA's NanoSail-D solar sail never reached Earth orbit. A SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket launched last night with the sail on board, but minutes after liftoff a stage-separation failure occurred; the mission was lost. Condolences to the mission team, and better luck next time!
Project Nano Sail
There was a Star Trek Deep Space 9 episode about this kind of ship. Too bad it failed. Dang.. how much did that cost?
:confused:


PERSEID METEORS: The August arc of Earth's orbit is littered with debris from comets, especially Comet Swift-Tuttle, the source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Already, a few Perseids per hour are streaking across the night sky in advance of the shower's peak on August 11th-12th. August is Perseid-month.

But not every meteor is a Perseid. Consider the following:
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"I've been out every clear night looking for meteors," says photographer Krzysztof Polakowski of Gniewowo, Poland. "On August 1st, I recorded this fireball of magnitude -7 (more than fifteen times brighter than Venus). Fantastic! Unfortunately, it was not a Perseid."

The fireball did not fly out of the constellation Perseus as a Perseid would do. Instead, it was probably a sporadic, i.e., a random piece of comet or asteroid littering Earth's orbit, not part of any organized debris stream. Every hour of every night, a few sporadic meteors can be seen from any location on Earth. There are also several minor showers active in early August, especially the delta Aquariids, which produce 2 to 5 meteors per hour from an unknown comet. Adding these to the Perseids and sporadics makes the night sky pretty lively, and the Perseid peak is still more than a week away.

Says Polakowski, "maybe in a few days I'll catch some Perseids." He probably will.





Sun Spot:
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A new-cycle sunspot is trying to emerge. A magnetic dipole is present inside the circle, but it has not yet coalesced into a dark sunspot core. Credit: SOHO/MDI



Current Auroral Oval:
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Credit: NOAA/POES
Whats an auroa?



Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.5 nT
Bz: 2.1 nT north


Coronal Holes:
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There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
YAY!


Also!
Researchers may have found cosmic Rosetta stone
Intresting Story

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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #78 on: Aug 7th, 2008, 10:45am »

A good read...

Source

Bracing the Satellite Infrastructure for a Solar Superstorm
A recurrence of the 1859 solar superstorm would be a cosmic Katrina, causing billions of dollars of damage to satellites, power grids and radio communications

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* The solar superstorm of 1859 was the fiercest ever recorded. Auroras filled the sky as far south as the Caribbean, magnetic compasses went haywire and telegraph systems failed.
* Ice cores suggest that such a blast of solar particles happens only once every 500 years, but even the storms every 50 years could fry satellites, jam radios and cause coast-to-coast blackouts.
* The cost of such an event justifies more systematic solar monitoring and beefier protection for satellites and the power grid.


As night was falling across the Americas on Sunday, August 28, 1859, the phantom shapes of the auroras could already be seen overhead. From Maine to the tip of Florida, vivid curtains of light took the skies. Startled Cubans saw the auroras directly overhead; ships’ logs near the equator described crimson lights reaching halfway to the zenith. Many people thought their cities had caught fire. Scientific instruments around the world, patiently recording minute changes in Earth’s magnetism, suddenly shot off scale, and spurious electric currents surged into the world’s telegraph systems. In Baltimore telegraph operators labored from 8 p.m. until 10 a.m. the next day to transmit a mere 400-word press report.

Just before noon the following Thursday, September 1, English astronomer Richard C. Carrington was sketching a curious group of sunspots—curious on account of the dark areas’ enormous size. At 11:18 a.m. he witnessed an intense white light flash from two locations within the sunspot group. He called out in vain to anyone in the observatory to come see the brief five-minute spectacle, but solitary astronomers seldom have an audience to share their excitement. Seventeen hours later in the Americas a second wave of auroras turned night to day as far south as Panama. People could read the newspaper by their crimson and green light. Gold miners in the Rocky Mountains woke up and ate breakfast at 1 a.m., thinking the sun had risen on a cloudy day. Telegraph systems became unusable across Europe and North America.

The news media of the day looked for researchers able to explain the phenomena, but at the time scientists scarcely understood auroral displays at all. Were they meteoritic matter from space, reflected light from polar icebergs or a high-altitude version of lightning? It was the Great Aurora of 1859 itself that ushered in a new paradigm. The October 15 issue of Scientific American noted that ‘‘a connection between the northern lights and forces of electricity and magnetism is now fully established.” Work since then has established that auroral displays ultimately originate in violent events on the sun, which fire off huge clouds of plasma and momentarily disrupt our planet’s magnetic field.

The impact of the 1859 storm was muted only by the infancy of our technological civilization at that time. Were it to happen today, it could severely damage satellites, disable radio communications and cause continent-wide electrical blackouts that would require weeks or longer to recover from. Although a storm of that magnitude is a comfortably rare once-in-500-years event, those with half its intensity hit every 50 years or so. The last one, which occurred on November 13, 1960, led to worldwide geomagnetic disturbances and radio outages. If we make no preparations, by some calculations the direct and indirect costs of another superstorm could equal that of a major hurricane or earthquake.

The Big One
The number of sunspots, along with other signs of solar magnetic activity, waxes and wanes on an 11-year cycle. The current cycle began this past January; over the coming half a decade, solar activity will ramp up from its current lull. During the previous 11 years, 21,000 flares and 13,000 clouds of ionized gas, or plasma, exploded from the sun’s surface. These phenomena, collectively termed solar storms, arise from the relentless churning of solar gases. In some ways, they are scaled-up versions of terrestrial storms, with the important difference that magnetic fields lace the solar gases that sculpt and energize them. Flares are analogous to lightning storms; they are bursts of energetic particles and intense x-rays resulting from changes in the magnetic field on a relatively small scale by the sun’s standards, spanning thousands of kilometers. So-called coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are analogous to hurricanes; they are giant magnetic bubbles, millions of kilometers across, that hurl billion-ton plasma clouds into space at several million kilometers per hour.

Most of these storms result in nothing more than auroras dancing in the polar skies—the equivalent of a minor afternoon rainstorm on Earth. Occasionally, however, the sun lets loose a gale. No one living today has ever experienced a full-blown superstorm, but telltale signs of them have turned up in some surprising places. In ice-core data from Greenland and Antarctica, Kenneth G. McCracken of the University of Maryland has discovered sudden jumps in the concentration of trapped nitrate gases, which in recent decades appear to correlate with known blasts of solar particles. A nitrate anomaly found for 1859 stands out as the biggest of the past 500 years, with the severity roughly equivalent to the sum of all the major events of the past 40 years.

As violent as it was, the 1859 superstorm does not appear to have been qualitatively different from lesser events. The two of us, along with many other researchers, have reconstructed what happened back then from contemporary historical accounts as well as scaled-up measurements of milder storms in recent decades, which have been studied by modern satellites:

1. The gathering storm. On the sun, the preconditions for the 1859 superstorm involved the appearance of a large, near-equatorial sunspot group around the peak of the sunspot cycle. The sunspots were so large that astronomers such as Carrington could see them with the naked (but suitably protected) eye. At the time of the initial CME released by the storm, this sunspot group was opposite Earth, putting our planet squarely in the bull’s-eye. The sun’s aim need not be so exact, however. By the time a CME reaches Earth’s orbit, it typically has fanned out to a width of some 50 million kilometers, thousands of times wider than our planet.

2. First blast. The superstorm released not one but two CMEs. The first may have taken the customary 40 to 60 hours to arrive. The magnetometer data from 1859 suggest that the magnetic field in the ejected plasma probably had a helical shape. When it first hit Earth, the field was pointing north. In this orientation, the field reinforced Earth’s own magnetic field, which minimized its effects. The CME did compress Earth’s magnetosphere—the region of near-Earth space where our planet’s magnetic field dominates the sun’s—and registered at magnetometer stations on the ground as what solar scientists call a sudden storm commencement. Otherwise it went unnoticed. As plasma continued to stream past Earth, however, its field slowly spun around. After 15 hours, it opposed rather than reinforced Earth’s field, bringing our planet’s north-pointing and the plasma cloud’s south-pointing field lines into contact. The field lines then reconnected into a simpler shape, releasing huge amounts of stored energy. That is when the telegraph disruptions and auroral displays commenced. Within a day or two the plasma passed by Earth, and our planet’s geomagnetic field returned to normal.

3. X-ray flare. The largest CMEs typically coincide with one or more intense flares, and the 1859 superstorm was no exception. The visible flare observed by Carrington and others on September 1 implied temperatures of nearly 50 million kelvins. Accordingly, it probably emitted not only visible light but also x-rays and gamma rays. It was the most brilliant solar flare ever recorded, bespeaking enormous energies released into the solar atmosphere. The radiation hit Earth after the light travel time of eight and a half minutes, long before the second CME. Had shortwave radios existed, they would have been rendered useless by energy deposition in the ionosphere, the high-altitude layer of ionized gas that reflects radio waves. The x-ray energy also heated the upper atmosphere and caused it to bloat out by tens or hundreds of kilometers.

4. Second blast. Before the ambient solar-wind plasma had time to fill in the cavity formed by the passage of the first CME, the sun fired off a second CME. With little material to impede it, the CME reached Earth within 17 hours. This time the CME field pointed south as it hit, and the geomagnetic mayhem was immediate. Such was its violence that it compressed Earth’s magnetosphere (which usually extends about 60,000 kilometers) to 7,000 kilometers or perhaps even into the upper stratosphere itself. The Van Allen radiation belts that encircle our planet were temporarily eliminated, and huge numbers of protons and electrons were dumped into the upper atmosphere. These particles may have accounted for the intense red auroras seen in much of
the world.

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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #79 on: Aug 7th, 2008, 10:46am »


5. Energetic protons. The solar flare and the intense CMEs also accelerated protons to energies of 30 million electron volts or higher. Across the Arctic, where Earth’s magnetic field affords the least protection, these particles penetrated to an altitude of 50 kilometers and deposited additional energy in the ionosphere. According to Brian C. Thomas of Washburn University, the proton shower from the 1859 superstorm reduced stratospheric ozone by 5 percent. The layer took four years to recover. The most powerful protons, with energies above one billion electron volts, reacted with the nuclei of nitrogen and oxygen atoms in the air, spawning neutrons and creating the nitrate abundance anomalies. A rain of neutrons reached the ground in what is now called a ground level event, but no human technology was available to detect this onslaught. Fortunately, it was not hazardous to health.

6. Massive electric currents. As the auroras spread from the usual high latitudes to low latitudes, the accompanying ionospheric and auroral electric currents induced intense, continent-spanning currents in the ground. These currents found their way into telegraph circuitry. The multiampere, high-voltage discharges caused near electrocutions and were reported to have burned down several telegraph stations.

Toasted Satellites
When a large geomagnetic storm happens again, the most obvious victims will be satellites. Even under ordinary conditions, cosmic-ray particles erode solar panels and reduce power generation by about 2 percent annually. Incoming particles also interfere with satellite electronics. Many communications satellites, such as Anik E1 and E2 in 1994 and Telstar 401 in 1997, have been compromised or lost in this way. A large solar storm can cause one to three years’ worth of satellite lifetime loss in a matter of hours and produce hundreds of glitches, ranging from errant but harmless commands to destructive electrostatic discharges.

To see how communications satellites might fare, we simulated 1,000 ways a superstorm might unfold, with intensities that varied from the worst storm of the Space Age (which occurred on October 20, 1989) to that of the 1859 superstorm. We found that the storms would not only degrade solar panels as expected but also lead to the significant loss of transponder revenue. The total cost would often exceed $20 billion. We assumed that satellite owners and designers would have mitigated the effects by maintaining plenty of spare transponder capacity and a 10 percent power margin at the time of their satellite’s launch. Under less optimistic assumptions, the losses would approach $70 billion, which is comparable to a year’s worth of revenue for all communications satellites. Even this figure does not include the collateral economic losses to the customers of the satellites.


Fortunately, geosynchronous communications satellites are remarkably robust against once-a-decade events, and their life spans have grown from barely five years in 1980 to nearly 17 years today. For solar panels, engineers have switched from silicon to gallium arsenide to increase power production and reduce mass. This move has also provided increased resistance to cosmic-ray damage. Moreover, satellite operators receive advanced storm warnings from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center, which allows them to avoid complex satellite maneuvers or other changes during the time when a storm may arrive. These strategies would doubtless soften the blow of a major storm. To further harden satellites, engineers could thicken the shielding, lower the solar panel voltages to lessen the risk of runaway electrostatic discharges, add extra backup systems and make the software more robust to data corruption.

It is harder to guard against other superstorm effects. X-ray energy deposition would cause the atmosphere to expand, enhancing the drag forces on military and commercial imaging and communications satellites that orbit below 600 kilometers in altitude. Japan’s Advanced Satellite for Cosmology and Astrophysics experienced just such conditions during the infamous Bastille Day storm on July 14, 2000, which set in motion a sequence of attitude and power losses that ultimately led to its premature reentry a few months later. During a superstorm, low-orbiting satellites would be at considerable risk of burning up in the atmosphere within weeks or months of the event.

Lights Out
At least our satellites have been specifically designed to function under the vagaries of space weather. Power grids, in contrast, are fragile at the best of times. Every year, according to estimates by Kristina Hamachi-LaCommare and Joseph H. Eto, both at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the U.S. economy takes an $80-billion hit from localized blackouts and brownouts. Declining power margins over the past decade have also left less excess capacity to keep up with soaring demands.

During solar storms, entirely new problems arise. Large transformers are electrically grounded to Earth and thus susceptible to damage caused by geomagnetically induced direct current (DC). The DC flows up the transformer ground wires and can lead to temperature spikes of 200 degrees Celsius or higher in the transformer windings, causing coolant to vaporize and literally frying the transformer. Even if transformers avoid this fate, the induced current can cause their magnetic cores to saturate during one half of the alternating-current power cycle, distorting the 50- or 60-hertz waveforms. Some of the power is diverted to frequencies that electrical equipment cannot filter out. Instead of humming at a pure pitch, transformers would begin to chatter and screech. Because a magnetic storm affects transformers all over the country, the condition can rapidly escalate to a network-wide collapse of voltage regulation. Grids operate so close to the margin of failure that it would not take much to push them over.

According to studies by John G. Kappenman of Metatech Corporation, the magnetic storm of May 15, 1921, would have caused a blackout affecting half of North America had it happened today. A much larger storm, like that of 1859, could bring down the entire grid. Other industrial countries are also vulnerable, but North America faces greater danger because of its proximity to the north magnetic pole. Because of the physical damage to transformers, full recovery and replacement of damaged components might take weeks or even months. Kappenman testified to Congress in 2003 that “the ability to provide meaningful emergency aid and response to an impacted population that may be in excess of 100 million people will be a difficult challenge.”

A superstorm will also interfere with radio signals, including those of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and related systems. Intense solar flares not only disturb the ionosphere, through which timing signals propagate, but also produce increased radio noise at GPS frequencies. The result would be position errors of 50 meters or more, rendering GPS useless for many military and civilian applications. A similar loss of precision occurred during the October 29, 2003, storm, which shut down the Wide Area Augmentation System, a radio network that improves the accuracy of GPS position estimates. Commercial aircraft had to resort to in-flight backup systems.

High-energy particles will interfere with aircraft radio communications, especially at high latitudes. United Airlines routinely monitors space weather conditions and has on several occasions diverted polar flights to lower altitudes and latitudes to escape radio interference. A superstorm might force the rerouting of hundreds of flights not just over the pole but also across Canada and the northern U.S. These adverse conditions might last a week.

Getting Ready
Ironically, society’s increasing vulnerability to solar storms has coincided with decreasing public awareness. We recently surveyed newspaper coverage of space weather events since the 1840s and discovered that a significant change occurred around 1950. Before this time, magnetic storms, solar flares and their effects often received lavish, front-page stories in newspapers. The Boston Globe carried a two-inch headline “U.S. Hit by Magnetic Storm” on March 24, 1940. Since 1950, though, such stories have been buried on inside pages.

Even fairly minor storms are costly. In 2004 Kevin Forbes of the Catholic University of America and Orville Chris St. Cyr of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center examined the electrical power market from June 1, 2000, to December 31, 2001, and concluded that solar storms increased the wholesale price of electricity during this period by approximately $500 million. Meanwhile the U.S. Department of Defense has estimated that solar disruptions to government satellites cost about $100 million a year. Furthermore, satellite insurers paid out nearly $2 billion between 1996 and 2005 to cover commercial satellite damages and losses, some of which were precipitated by adverse space weather.

We would be well served by more reliable warnings of solar and geomagnetic storms. With adequate warning, satellite operators can defer critical maneuvering and watch for anomalies that, without quick action, could escalate into critical emergencies. Airline pilots could prepare for an orderly schedule of flight diversions. Power grid operators could watch susceptible network components and make plans to minimize the time the grid might be out of commission.

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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #80 on: Aug 7th, 2008, 10:47am »

Agencies such as NASA and the National Science Foundation have worked over the past 20 years to develop space-weather forecasting capabilities. Currently NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center provides daily space weather reports to more than 1,000 businesses and government agencies. Its annual budget of $6 million
is far less than the nearly $500 billion in revenues generated by the industries supported by these forecasts. But this capability relies on a hodgepodge of satellites designed more for research purposes than for efficient, long-term space weather monitoring.

Some researchers feel our ability to predict space weather is about where NOAA was in predicting atmospheric weather in the early 1950s. From a monitoring perspective, what are needed are inexpensive, long-term space buoys to monitor weather conditions using simple, off-the-shelf instruments. In the meantime, scientists have a long way to go to understand the physics of solar storms and to forecast their effects. If we really want to safeguard our technological infrastructure, we will have to redouble our investment in forecasting, modeling and basic research to batten down for the next solar tempest.

:wacko:

2012.. Solar Maximum.. Eeek...



Also..

MARTIAN MYSTERY: NASA's Phoenix lander has found something unexpected in the soil of Mars: perchlorate, a compound used in fireworks and rocket fuel and consumed as food by some terrestrial microbes. How does this affect the odds and possible nature of life on Mars? No one knows. Puzzled scientists discussed the finding at a press conference yesterday:

source


Perchlorate Discovery by Phoenix Lander
Does Not End Search for Life On Mars



“Right now, we don't know whether finding perchlorate
is good news or bad news for possible life on Mars.”
- Peter Smith, Ph.D., Phoenix Lander Principal Investigator

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This image shows the trench informally called “Snow White” where the perchlorate
has been detected. This image was acquired by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's Surface Stereo Imager
on Sol 43, the 43rd Martian day after landing on July 8, 2008. Two samples were delivered
to the Wet Chemistry Laboratory, which is part of Phoenix's Microscopy, Electrochemistry, and
Conductivity Analyzer (MECA). The first sample was taken from the surface area just left of the
trench and informally named “Rosy Red” It was delivered to the Wet Chemistry Laboratory
on Sol 30 (June 25, 2008). The second sample, informally named “Sorceress” was taken
from the center of the Snow White trench and delivered to the Wet Chemistry Laboratory
on Sol 41 (July 6, 2008). Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona/Texas A&M.


August 5, 2008 Pasadena, California - Responding to the growing buzz on the internet about suppressed Mars Phoenix Lander data and the White House Science Adviser being briefed on a new and potentially disturbing discovery in the lander's soil analysis, today Phoenix mission scientists spoke and answered questions in an hour phone conference produced by NASA and JPL.

The first person to speak was a NASA public affairs officer who denied there had been any consultation with the White House science advisor. However, a reporter from the Discovery Channel argued that she heard from a reputable aerospace reporter that such a briefing was held. Other reporters were confused about the implications of the perchlorate discovery by the wet chemistry team and wanted to know if the highly oxidating perchlorate, most commonly used on Earth in rocket fuels and explosives, would mean no life possibilities on the red, dry, cold, desert planet. NASA describes perchlorate as “an ion, or charged particle, that consists of an atom of chlorine surrounded by four oxygen atoms. It is an oxidant that releases oxygen, but it is not a powerful one.” Perchlorate is also highly soluble in water.

[ Editor's Note: Wikipedia - “Perchlorates are the salts derived from perchloric acid (HClO4). They occur both naturally and through manufacturing. They have been used as a medicine for more than 50 years to treat thyroid gland disorders. They are also used as an oxidizer in rocket fuel and explosives and can be found in airbags and fireworks. Both potassium perchlorate (KClO4) and ammonium perchlorate (NH4ClO4) are used extensively within the pyrotechnics industry, whereas ammonium perchlorate is a component of solid rocket fuel. Lithium perchlorate, which decomposes exothermically to give oxygen, is used in oxygen ‘candles’ on spacecraft, submarines and in other esoteric situations where a reliable backup or supplementary oxygen supply is needed. Most perchlorate salts are soluble in water.”]

Bottom line: the Phoenix Lander science team is surprised by the perchlorate discovery and are not really certain what it means. Is the perchlorate only a local phenomenon right at the spot where the Phoenix Lander is using its robotic arm to dig 2-inch-deep trenches because water ice prevents the arm from digging deeper? That means the perchlorate is a surface phenomenon. But how extensive might the perchlorate be on Mars? Is it everywhere on the oxidized red surface? How deep has it gone?

On Earth, a comparable geography with perchlorate in its surface soils is the Atacama desert in northern Chile. There isn't much organic life, but microbes have been found that can eat perchlorate or co-exist with perchlorate.
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The Atacama Desert is a virtually rainless plateau in northern Chile, stretching 600 miles
along the Pacific coast of South America, west of the Andes mountains. The rain shadow on the
leeward side of the Andes keeps this over 20 million-year-old desert fifty times drier than California's
Death Valley. It is the second-driest desert in the world, after the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctic.
The soil is mostly salt basins that have surface perchlorate salts and nitrates,
sand, and lava flows. Image by Wikipedia.

**in this area of the desert they have also found microscopic creatures that FEED on the stuff.**

During the phone press conference, Michael Hecht of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, said: “Finding perchlorates is neither good nor bad for life, but it does make us reassess how we think about life on Mars.” Hecht is the lead scientist for the Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA), the instrument that includes the wet chemistry laboratory.

NASA's press release after the press conference quoted Michael Hecht further as saying: “If confirmed, the result is exciting because different types of perchlorate salts have interesting properties that may bear on the way things work on Mars if - and that's a big ‘if ’ - the results from our two teaspoons of soil are representative of all of Mars, or at least a significant portion of the planet.”

NASA said the Phoenix team had wanted to check the finding with another lander instrument, the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer (TEGA), which heats soil and analyzes gases driven off. But as that TEGA experiment was underway last week, speculative news reports surfaced claiming the team was holding back a major finding regarding habitability on Mars. Scientists are still examining multiple hypotheses, given evidence that the soil contains perchlorate.

Phoenix Lander Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson, said: “We decided to show the public science in action because of the extreme interest in the Phoenix mission, which is searching for a habitable environment on the northern plains of Mars. Right now, we don't know whether finding perchlorate is good news or bad news for possible life on Mars.”

Perchlorate was discovered with a multi-use sensor that detects perchlorate, nitrate and other ions. The MECA team saw the perchlorate signal in a sample taken from the Dodo-Goldilocks trench on June 25, or Sol 30, or the 30th Martian day of the mission after landing, and again in another sample taken from the Snow White trench on July 6, or Sol 41.

When TEGA heated a sample of soil dug from the Dodo-Goldilocks trench on Sol 25 to high temperature, it detected an oxygen release, said TEGA lead scientist William Boynton of the University of Arizona. Perchlorate could be one of several possible sources of this oxygen, he said.

Late last week, when TEGA analyzed another sample, this one from the Snow White trench, the TEGA team looked for chlorine gas. The instrument detected none.

“Had we seen it, the identification of perchlorate would be absolutely clear, but in this run we did not see any chlorine gas. We may have been analyzing a perchlorate salt that doesn't release chlorine gas upon heating,” Boynton said. “There's nothing in the TEGA data that contradicts MECA's finding of perchlorates.”

As the Phoenix team continues its investigation of the arctic soil, the TEGA instrument will attempt to validate the perchlorate discovery and determine its concentration and properties.



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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #81 on: Aug 7th, 2008, 10:48am »

NEW MEXICO FIREBALLS:
On Aug. 4th, a bright fireball streaked across the skies of New Mexico. Amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft not only photographed the meteor, but also recorded the "sweet stereophonic shimmering" echoes of distant radio stations bouncing off its ionized trail.

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As regular readers know, the annual Perseid meteor shower begins this week, slowly at first, with just a few meteors per hour, then building to a peak dozens of times more intense on Tuesday, August 12th. The source of the shower is Comet Swift-Tuttle, which has littered the August portion of Earth's orbit with space dust.

Yet "this fireball was not a Perseid," notes Ashcraft. It did not fly out of the constellation Perseus as a genuine speck of Comet Swift-Tuttle would. Instead, it was probably a random piece of comet or asteroid, not part of any organized debris stream. Every hour of every night, a few such "sporadic meteors" can be seen from any location on Earth. Most are feeble, but some produce brilliant fireballs, as shown above.

Keep an eye on the sky in the nights ahead. The Perseids are coming and the sporadics are already here.
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http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/22jul_perseiddawn.htm
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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #82 on: Aug 12th, 2008, 01:13am »

Meteor shower now! This is awesome! So far we have seen about 10! One was so close it looked like I could reach out and touch it. It blew up in the sky and left a cloudy streak of dust.
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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #83 on: Aug 12th, 2008, 12:27pm »

on Aug 12th, 2008, 01:13am, Jackolope wrote:
Meteor shower now! This is awesome! So far we have seen about 10! One was so close it looked like I could reach out and touch it. It blew up in the sky and left a cloudy streak of dust.


I went outside early in the night and checked the sky: crystal clear. I went back out at the optimal viewing time for the west coast: clouds. cry

-- NoDayOfTheTriffidsHereCat
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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #84 on: Aug 12th, 2008, 9:56pm »

Awwwwwww.. Sorry man! We saw about 20 or so collective last night. And thats in the city with dumb streetlights. Should still be some out tonight if you lucky! Worth a look! Anyways...

Massive Update
Recently, news of Solar Research Reinforces Key Aspects of
Hyperdimensional Physics was posted and I'm here to bring it to you.

This article explains better than anything that I've read before WHY sunspots form and WHY these solar cycles happen in the first place.

I'm going to paste most of it here because this site has a tendency to go down and the link may not work. also folks are more likely to read it rather than click a link

New Solar Research Reinforces Key Aspects of

Hyperdimensional Physics

By: Mike Bara & Richard C. Hoagland
Source
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A new paper by a pair of Australian astronomers has provided a flat-out, indisputable confirmation of the Hoagland\Torun Hyperdimensional Physics Model, first proposed in their 1989 paper, “The Message of Cydonia.” The new paper, titled “Does a Spin Orbit Coupling Between the Sun and the Jovian Planets Govern the Solar Cycle?” points out a resonant, synchronized relationship between the Sun’s periodic peak sunspot cycles and the orbital positions of the Jovian planets -- Jupiter and Saturn. Careful readers of Dark Mission will note that this exact relationship, is both implicitly and explicitly predicted in Chapter 2 of our book.

While the mechanical cause of the increased sunspot activity is reasonably well understood (it’s caused by the sun’s rotation), the driving force linking this spin and the sunspot cycle has remained a mystery. According to Dr. Ian Wilson of the University of Southern Queensland, which published the new research, observations by solar astronomers have concluded that the equatorial regions of the sun rotate slightly more rapidly than the polar regions (below - b). This differential rotation winds up the sun’s magnetic field lines (which stretch between the two poles) like a set of tightening rubber bands (below-a).


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Eventually, the field lines work their way to the surface of the sun because the concentrated magnetic flux is more buoyant than the surrounding solar surface (above-c). This subsequently causes sunspots, solar flares and coronal mass ejections, which tend to cluster around the "tetrahedral" 19.5° latitudes (north and south!) at the peak of this cycle (below).

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This peak is called “solar maximum” because all the visible spots, flares, etc. are most numerous at this time, after which the magnetic poles reverse and the cycle begins again.

There has historically been a recognized connection between the frequency of sunspot activity (the total number of spots) and the movement of the sun in relation to solar system's “barycentre” -- or, center of mass (below). This is driven primarily by the combined gravitational forces of Jupiter and Saturn, and to a far lesser extent, the other planets. But the big problem is that there is no conventional explanation for exactly how this influence occurs.



"There are really only two possible interactions, and neither of them is feasible," Dr. Wilson said in an interview. "Tidal forces are too tiny. They can only produce a movement of about a millimeter on the surface of the sun.

"The alternative, that the sun's motion about the centre of mass should be able to generate internal motions within the sun, violates Einstein's equivalence principle [emphasis added] ...."

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What separates this new research from previous interpretations is the observation that the relative positions of Jupiter and Saturn somehow affect this cyclical energy variation. To quote from an article about Wilson et al.’s paper appearing on the Australian ABC science website:

“The authors believe the tiny gravitational tugs of Jupiter and Saturn speed up or slow down the sun's orbital motion about the centre-of-mass, when they are aligned or separated by an angular distance of 90 degrees.

“They say that when the sun's orbital motion changes, so too does its equatorial rotation rate, which provides strong circumstantial evidence that there is a spin-orbit coupling mechanism operating between Jupiter and Saturn and the sun.

“The authors propose that this spin-orbit coupling takes the form of a 9:8 resonance, with the 179 year alignment cycle of the Jovian planets being equal to nine alignments of Jupiter and Saturn and eight 22-year Hale cycles.

“The extent to which Jupiter and Saturn affect the sun's motion may impact on the strength of sunspot activity throughout its solar cycle.

"But Wilson is cautious.

"It is one thing to show an association and quite another to show cause and effect. We have to be very careful, but we will know in a few years,"


Of course, the reality is that as long as solar astronomers keep searching for a conventional “gravitational” effect for this resonance synchronization, they will never fully understand what is causing the differential rotation -- and the consequent variable excess energy from the sun. In the conventional view, it is mass -- and therefore "gravity" -- which is the only viable influence on solar energy output and motion.

But in the Hyperdimensional Physics Model, “the tail wags the dog” -- in the form of angular momentum.

It is an undeniable fact that Jupiter and Saturn -- which possess only a tiny fraction the solar system’s total mass compared to the sun – are, in fact, a huge influence on the sun itself (and all of the other planets as a consequence). This is because they conversely possess most (almost 99%) of the solar system’s total bulk angular momentum.

In the Hyperdimensional Model, it is this angular momentum -- mainly from these two massive planets, transmitted through the “Hyperdimensional aether” -- which ultimately causes the sun’s differential rotation.

To quote directly from Dark Mission, Chapter 2:



“... changes in one gravitationally-connected system on a large scale, like the planetary scale of a solar system, can therefore have an instantaneous, measurable effect on other bodies in the same system -- providing there is a "resonance condition" (a matched connection) between those two objects via hyperspace. Thus, the Hyperdimensional Model argues that everything, even widely separated three-space objects like remote planets, are ultimately connected through this four-space interaction; meaning that a cause in one place (like Jupiter) can have an effect in another (like the sun) -- without any measurable 3D force (such as an electromagnetic wave) having measurably traversed the three-space distance in between [emphasis added] ...."



In this "classical" Einsteinian view of physics (after 1905 ...), there is no "aether” -- as it was called in Maxwell’s day (mid-1800's) -- to carry electromagnetic radiation's transverse waves across the vacuum. In the Hyperdimensional Model (circa 1983 ...), the aether is back -- as "the actual transformation medium" between the higher spatial realities and our dimension -- through something called "the torsion field .…”
This whole notion, that the changing (orbital) configuration of a planets (or star’s) system members relative to the “primary” can have an effect on its total energy output, is revolutionary to current thinking, but hardly without precedent.

In the 1940s, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) hired John Nelson, a young electrical engineer, in an effort to improve the reliability of short-wave radio communications around the Earth. Such radio transmissions had been observed to be more reliable in the "lulls" in between solar activity associated with "peak" sunspot years.

To his surprise, Nelson (via a solar observatory he built himself on the roof of a downtown New York skyscraper - below) soon specifically correlated this rising and falling radio interference with not only the sunspot cycle, but with the motions of the major planets of the solar system!; Nelson found, to his increasing astonishment, a very repeatable -- in essence, "astrological" - correlation ... between the inexorable orbits of the planets (especially Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune -- which hold essentially all the solar system's known angular momentum) and major radio-disturbing eruptions on the sun.

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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #85 on: Aug 12th, 2008, 9:56pm »

The Hyperdimensional Model finally provides a comprehensive theoretical explanation -- a "linking mechanism" -- for these (to

most astronomers) still embarrassing, decades-old RCA observations. For, in essence, what John Nelson had rediscovered was

nothing short of ”hyperdimensional astrology" -- the ultimate, very ancient, now highly demonstrable angular momentum/torsion

foundations
behind the fundamental (though unseen ...) influences of the sun and planets on our lives.

For over 30 years, based only on the heliocentric positions of the planets, John Nelson was able

-with over 90% accuracy -- to successfully predict sunspots,

solar flares and geomagnetic storms -- something not possible by any other current scientific means!

On the latter point, Nelson also "rediscovered" something else:

"... it is worthy of note that in 1948, when Jupiter and Saturn were spaced by 120º, and solar activity was at a maximum,

radio signals averaged of far higher quality for the year than in 1951 with Jupiter and Saturn at 180º and a considerable decline in

solar activity. In other words, the average quality curve of radio signals [reflected by the Earth's ionosphere] followed the cycle

curve between Jupiter and Saturn rather than the sunspot curve [emphasis added] ....”


These decades-old observations are very telling ... not only confirming Jupiter and Saturn as the primary drivers behind the sun's

known cycle of activity (in the Hyperdimensional Model ...), but strongly implying an additional direct effect of their changing

angular relationship on the electrical properties of Earth's ionosphere. This, of course, is totally consistent with these changing

planetary geometries affecting not just the sun, but the other planets simultaneously as well -- just as "conventional" astrologers

have claimed -- but, in actuality, via Maxwell's "changing scalar potentials” (i.e. torsion fields ...).

At this point, then, only the Hyperdimensional Theory:



1. Points to the deepest implications of the simple astronomical fact that the tail “does wag the dog" -- that the planets in this

Physics are fully capable of exerting a determinant influence on the sun – and on each other -- through their disproportionate ratio

of total solar system angular momentum: over 100 to 1, in the (known) planets' favor.

2. Possesses the precise physical mechanism -- via Maxwell's "changing quaternion scalar potentials" (also known now as

the “torsion spin field”) -- accounting for this anomalous planetary angular momentum influence.

3. Has already publicly identified, at the United Nations in 1992, a blatant geometric clue to this entire hyperdimensional solar

process: the maximum sunspot numbers (those large, relatively cool, rotating vortices appearing on the solar surface), rising,

falling and methodically changing latitude, during the course of the familiar twenty-two-year solar cycle—and peaking every

half-cycle (around eleven years), at the solar latitude of 19.5º.



Don’t you just love it ... when a good theory comes together so elegantly?

Make no mistake, if this Wilson et al. paper is widely accepted, somebody will eventually concoct a tenuous conventional

"explanation" to rationalize the observations. But that theory will hold no more weight than the absurd “radiation degradation” idea

that was floated about a few years ago to explain Iapetus' "... 60,000-foot-high equatorial wall."

At some point, modern physicists will just have to face the unpleasant reality – Einstein was wrong about the aether; and

Maxwell’s original “hyperdimensional physics/aether model” was right.

Further References:The John Nelson RCA Paper
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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #86 on: Aug 26th, 2008, 10:23pm »

And minds are blown all across the dining room.. lol

Ok.. So I officially scold my self for lack of updates. Since my last update a
lot has happened... Most importantly the SUN (of course) The first part of my post will just be about the sun and the last 2 weeks. (right around the time TS Fay formed..) I'll be putting in bold the newest Sun activity.

Aug 15th
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A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Aug. 18th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope


AURORA WATCH: High latitude sky watchers, be alert for auroras on August 18th. That's when a solar wind stream, en route to Earth, is expected to arrive and spark geomagnetic storms:

SOLAR WIND, IMPACT: What happens when a gust of solar wind hits Earth? It rattles the planetary magnetic field. That's exactly what happened yesterday, August 18th, and at a magnetic observatory in Lofoten, Norway, researcher Rob Stammes recorded the impact:

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Big picture

"The red line shows how the local magnetic field was swinging back and forth," he explains. "The blue line traces ground currents-- electricity in the soil induced by changing magnetism." To sum it up, he recorded a geomagnetic storm. "Unfortunately, the sky was too light to see the Northern Lights."

The solar wind continues to blow and more gusts are possible tonight. And if one arrives after dark?

Aug 21st
NEW SUNSPOTS: A new sunspot is emerging near the sun's eastern limb. Pavol Rapavy sends this picture, taken just hours ago, from his backyard observatory in Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia:
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These spots aren't large, but they are noteworthy as the first sunspots in more than a month. Moreover, they are growing rapidly, offering an opportunity for onlookers to witness sunspot genesis in action
ttp://spaceweather.com/submissions/pics/p/Pete-Lawrence-2008-08-21_12-13-04_SF100ss_1219324710.jpg" alt="User Image" border="0">
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PROTO NEW-CYCLE SUNSPOT: For the second time this month, a new-cycle sunspot is struggling to form. SOHO magnetograms of the sun's surface reveal a planet-sized magnetic dipole with the telltale polarity of Solar Cycle 24:
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Last week, these magnetic fields briefly coelesced into a pair of dark cores, then subsided. The apparition was too ephemeral to be included in official daily sunspot counts. For now, put this active region in the category of "struggling proto-sunspot."

Sometimes the ongoing solar minimum seems like it will never end. This proto-sunspot, as well as a similar one in early August, offers hope to observers that the solar cycle is actually moving forward. The calm won't last forever.

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SOLAR ACTIVITY: How many gigantic dancing, spinning magnetic eruptions can a person watch at one time? Click on the image below and start counting:

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BIG MOVIE

If you counted fewer than four, play it again. In the movie, made by NASA's STEREO-A spacecraft on August 15 and 16, every quadrant of the sun has at least one magnetic prominence surging over the limb. Prominences are clouds of hydrogen held aloft, twisted and sheared, and ultimately hurled into space or pulled back into the inferno by solar magnetic fields. It's a form of solar activity that continues even when sunspots are scarce. The sun: this is as "quiet" as it gets.

4 meg movie if the other is TOO HUGE, do your self a favor... watch this

slightly better quality

========================================================================================

OK Thats all the Sun news I got, now on to the OTHER solar news.. this one is a bit on the political side..
US-Russia chill threatens NASA space program
Source

Long story short with that, Since Washington shook their fists at Russia because of what happened in Georgia, Russia now says that we will NOT be allowed to use Russian Soyuz (Their Space program used to get astronauts into space to man the space station.) to get to space to work on the space station. This will pretty much leave the ISS in the hands of the Russians and possibly Iranians (if they get their program running with the Russians help. In 2011 The US will have NO Active space program while they retire (finally..my gawd yall) Shuttle program and start the Orion missions. (Ah come on! Ya gotta have better stuff that Apollo by NOW! *hangs head in shame*) Orion and Aries will not be ready until 2015..


Astronomers Find a New "Minor Planet" near Neptune
Source and full story

This is pretty BIG.
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Astronomers announced today that a new "minor planet" with an unusual orbit has been found just two billion miles from Earth, closer than Neptune. Using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, astronomers detected a small, comet-like object called 2006 SQ372, which is likely made of rock and ice. However, its orbit never brings it close enough to the sun for it to develop a tail. Its unusual orbit is an ellipse that is four times longer than it is wide, said University of Washington astronomer Andrew Becker, who led the discovery team. The only known object with a comparable orbit is Sedna — the distant, Pluto-like dwarf planet discovered in 2003. But 2006 SQ372's orbit takes it more than one-and-a-half times further from the Sun, and its orbital period is nearly twice as long.

2006 SQ372 is beginning the return leg of a 22,500-year journey that will take it to a distance of 150 billion miles, nearly 1,600 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun. Scientists believe the object is only 50-100 kilometers (30-60 miles) across.

Click here for an animation showing the detection of SQ372 by SDSS.

Becker's team was actually using the SDSS to look for supernova explosions billions of light-years away to measure the expansion of the universe. "If you can find things that explode, you can also find things that move, but you need different tools to look for them," said team member Lynne Jones, also of the University of Washington. The only objects close enough to change position noticeably from one night to the next are in our own solar system, Jones explained.

The SDSS-II supernova survey scanned the same long stripe of sky, an area 1,000 times larger than the full moon, every clear night in the fall of 2005, 2006, and 2007.

SQ372 was first discovered in a series of images taken in 2006 by the SDSS, and were verified from images taken in 2005 and 2007.

The researcher team is trying to understand how the object acquired its unusual orbit. "It could have formed, like Pluto, in the belt of icy debris beyond Neptune, then been kicked to large distance by a gravitational encounter with Neptune or Uranus," said UW graduate student Nathan Kaib. "However, we think it is more probable that SQ372 comes from the inner edge of the Oort Cloud."

Even at its most distant turning point, 2006 SQ372 will be ten times closer to the Sun than the supposed main body of the Oort Cloud, said Kaib. "The existence of an 'inner' Oort cloud has been theoretically predicted for many years, but SQ372 and perhaps Sedna are the first objects we have found that seem to originate there. It's exciting that we are beginning to verify these predictions."

Becker noted that 2006 SQ372 was bright enough to find with the SDSS only because it is near its closest approach to the Sun, and that the SDSS-II supernova survey observed less than one percent of the sky.

"There are bound to be many more objects like this waiting to be discovered by the next generation of surveys, which will search to fainter levels and cover more area," said Becker. "In a decade, we should know a lot more about this population than we do now."

"One of our goals," said Kaib, "is to understand the origin of comets, which are among the most spectacular celestial events. But the deeper goal is to look back into the early history of our solar system and piece together what was happening when the planets formed."

The discovery of 2006 SQ372 was announced today in Chicago, at an international symposium about the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. A paper describing the discovery technique and the properties of 2006 SQ372 is being prepared for submission to The Astrophysical Journal.



If anyone has ever heard of Nibiru and the binary star in our solar system You may find that orbit to be pretty freaky.

Also more info
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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #87 on: Aug 26th, 2008, 11:20pm »

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“God made man
But he used the monkey to do it
Apes in the plan
We're all here to prove it
I can walk like an ape
Talk like an ape
Do what a monkey can do
God made man
But a monkey supplied the glue.” – DEVO










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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #88 on: Aug 31st, 2008, 11:36pm »

EARLY WARNING: NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft follows Earth around the sun, lagging behind our planet by 33o ("B" stands for "behind"). This allows the spacecraft to see a portion of the sun we on Earth cannot. Here is an example:

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The sprawling coronal hole, photographed this morning by STEREO-B, is only partially visible from Earth. STEREO-B thus provides an early warning system: The coronal hole is spewing a solar wind stream that will eventually reach our planet. STEREO-B reveals the hole's location, its full extent, and the likely dates of solar wind impact: Sept. 3rd - 5th. High latitude sky watchers, mark your calendar for auroras.

SOLAR ACTIVITY: Warning. This story contains material that may make you feel very small.

For the past two days, a colossal prominence has been dancing along the northwestern limb of the sun. "Here's a photo from Aug. 27th," offers Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK. "The Earth has been added for scale."
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"It does makes you feel small, doesn't it?"

Lawrence's photo frames a towering sheet of hydrogen gas stretched 75,000 km high by solar magnetic fields. The foreground is filled by a "shag carpet" of spicules--Texas-sized jets of gas that shoot up from the sun's surface and fall back again on 10 minute time scales. Spicules are the smallest thing in the photo and they're as big as Texas. Have you ever driven across Texas?
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For more than a year, the largest planet in our solar system has been transiting across the center of our Milky Way galaxy(Appearing to do so anyway). This alignment happens only once every 12 years. Several things are notable about this event at this time. First, Jupiter is currently hovering on the eastern edge of the center of the Milky Way. Antares, one of the brightest stars in our sky, holds a permanent position on the western edge of the galactic central bulge. The position of Jupiter affords a breath-taking view of the immense size of the center of our galaxy in the sky.

The visible width and breadth of the central portion of our galaxy fills an area more than 5,000 times greater than the apparent size of our moon. Jupiter’s current placement provides a beautiful highlight bringing the attentive viewers’ awareness to the immense dimensions of the heart of the largest of cosmic beings within which we all live together.

Sky watchers looking to the south right after dark will witness this incredible sight--even those who live near bright city lights. Jupiter is easily visible as the brightest object in the southern sky. Sharing the southern sky on the western edge of the heart of our galaxy is the bright orange star, Antares (Heart of the Scorpion) In late August at dusk, the line between Jupiter and Antares will be mostly horizontal, and centered in the south. To locate Antares, hold your hands together at arms length in front of you. With your left pinky near Jupiter, Antares will be the bright orange star close to your right pinky.

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This alignment is highlighted by the fact that Saturn is currently in a highly harmonious trine alignment with Jupiter. This weekend’s new moon (exact at 12:58 p.m. PDT on Saturday, August 30) will align closely with Saturn and also trine Jupiter.






Large Prominence
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OK WHO SAW THIS COMING WITH WHAT THE RUSSIAS SAID ABOUT USING THEIR SHIPS?!
(sorry for caps.. but I did see this coming..)

Nasa 'reviews shuttle shelf-life'

Nasa will study whether the space shuttle can operate beyond its planned retirement in 2010, reports say.

The agency will look at what might be required to delay the retirement of its fleet until the shuttle's replacement - Ares-Orion - begins flying in 2015.

The exercise is aimed at answering questions it expects on the matter from Congress and the incoming president.

News of the study comes from a leaked internal email obtained by a Florida-based newspaper.

Nasa chief Michael Griffin, who is reported to have ordered the study, had previously opposed extending the shuttle programme.

The agency's administrator argued that the money and effort required to do so would stymie progress on the Ares rockets and the Apollo-style Orion capsules that will succeed the shuttle.

These are being developed by Nasa as part of its "Constellation" programme. The system is expected to carry astronauts to the Moon under the Vision for Space Exploration plans announced by President George W Bush in 2004.

Russian flights

In April, Dr Griffin told a Senate sub-committee: "The shuttle is an inherently risky design. We currently assess the per-mission risk as about one in 75 of having a fatal accident.

"If one were to do, as some have suggested, fly the shuttle for an additional five years - say two missions a year - the risk would be about one in 12 that we would lose another crew."

But an e-mail obtained by the Orlando Sentinel suggests Nasa will now research this option.

In it, John Coggeshall, manifest and schedules manager at Nasa's Johnson Space Center in Houston, writes: "The [shuttle] programme in conjunction with [Constellation] and [space station] have been asked by the administrator to put together some manifest options to assess extending shuttle flights to 2015.

He added: "We want to focus on helping bridge the gap of US vehicles travelling to the [space station] as efficiently as possible."

But Nasa spokesman John Yembrick described the e-mail as "premature".

"The parameters of the study have not yet been defined," he said.

The agency remains committed to retiring the shuttle in 2010.

Five-year gap

In the five-year gap between the retirement of the shuttle and the first flights of the Orion capsule, Nasa will be reliant on Russia's Soyuz system for transporting astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

But some are now concerned about the wisdom of this plan to purchase seats aboard the Soyuz, given the diplomatic tension between the US and Russia over the conflict in Georgia.

Last week, Republican presidential candidate John McCain, and other senators, sent a letter urging President Bush to "direct Nasa to take no action for at least one year from now that would preclude the extended use of the space shuttle beyond 2010".

This letter said Russia's conduct during the Georgia conflict "raised concerns about the reliability of Russia as a partner for the International Space Station".

It added: "Our concern is that we do not have a guarantee that such co-operative and mutually beneficial activity will continue to be available, and the successful utilisation of the ISS may thus be jeopardized."

The Democrats' presidential candidate Barack Obama has also talked about the possibility of additional shuttle flights to close the five-year gap.

Nasa currently has an agreement with Russia to fly astronauts to the ISS aboard the Soyuz spacecraft until 2011. After that, the agency would have to seek approval from Congress for an extension.

Nasa has previously said it would cost between $2.5bn and $4bn per year to keep the shuttles flying past 2010.

The agency has also given seed money to a commercial venture to develop a spacecraft for transporting crew and cargo to the space station.

« Last Edit: Aug 31st, 2008, 11:37pm by Jackolope » User IP Logged

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« Reply #89 on: Sep 3rd, 2008, 10:01pm »

More stories coming up. Editing later:

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