Scientists are struggling to explain the Sun’s bizarre recent behavior. Is it a fluke, or a sign of a deeper trend?
The Sun is acting weird. It typically puts on a pageant of magnetic activity every 11 years for aurora watchers and sungazers alike, but this time it overslept. When it finally woke up (a year late), it gave the weakest performance in 100 years.<
What’s even weirder is that scientists, who aren’t usually shy about tossing hypotheses about, are at a loss for a good explanation. Three scientists, David Hathaway (NASA / Marshall Space Flight Center), Giuliana de Toma (High Altitude Observatory), and Matthew Penn (National Solar Observatory) presented possible explanations at this month’s meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Solar Physics Division, but their results sparked a lively debate rather than a scientific consensus. [Continue reading…]
WASHINGTON—The largest solar flare in five years is racing toward Earth, threatening to unleash a torrent of charged particles that could disrupt power grids, GPS and airplane flights.[…]
“It’s hitting us right in the nose,” said Joe Kunches, a scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He called it the sun’s version of “Super Tuesday.”
The solar storm is likely to last through Friday morning, but the region that erupted can still send more blasts our way, Mr. Kunches said. He said another set of active sunspots is ready to aim at Earth right after this.
But for now, scientists are waiting to see what happens Thursday when the charged particles hit Earth at four million mph. [Continue reading at the WSJ]
GEOMAGNETIC STORM UPDATE: A CME propelled toward Earth by this morning’s X5-class solar flare is expected to reach our planet on March 8th at 0625 UT (+/- 7 hr). Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, who prepared the CME’s forecast track, say the impact could spark a strong-to-severe geomagnetic storm.
Expect some major geomagnetic disturbances and don’t be surprised if the HF bands are very quiet while we’re being blasted with electrons. On the plus side? If you live in Northern latitudes, look for some awe-inspiring auroras in the night sky.
(Note: This is a cross-posting from my other radio site, the SWLing Post)