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Geomagnetic Storm Watch Issued for this Halloween

Geomagnetic Storm Watch Issued for this Halloween

A timely reminder from the Sun as to how much it influences conditions on the Earth.

The Sun appears to have been a bit more active this past week, releasing a sizeable solar flare.

On Thursday, the sun released a significant solar flare toward Earth, peaking at 11:35 a.m. EDT, scientists say.

Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation and, although harmful radiation from flares cannot pass through the Earth’s atmosphere to physically impact humans, when intense enough they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.

The flare was classified as an X1, with the X-class being the most intense. X10 flares are considered unusually intense.

This was the second X-class flare of Solar Cycle 25, which began in December 2019.

The flare is creating a fairly strong geomagnetic storm that will impact the Earth this Halloween, which may result in a spectacular atmospheric light show.

“Impacts to our technology from a G3 storm are generally nominal. However, a G3 storm has the potential to drive the aurora further away from its normal polar residence,” the SWPC [Space Weather Prediction Center] wrote. “The aurora might be seen over the far Northeast, to the upper Midwest and over the state of Washington.”

Large solar flares, or coronal mass ejections (CMEs), are a routine type of space weather that occur when enormous blobs of plasma (electrically charged gases that make up all the stars in the universe) escape the sun’s atmosphere and ooze through space at hundreds to thousands of miles a second. (The current G3 storm is traveling at about 600 miles, or 970 kilometers, per second, according to SWPC.)

It typically takes a CME about 15 to 18 hours to reach Earth, where the blob slams into our planet’s magnetic shield, compressing the shield slightly. Charged solar particles then shoot down the magnetic field lines, heading toward the North and South Poles and bumping into atmospheric molecules along the way. The agitated molecules release energy as colorful light, creating auroras.

The auroras produced may be seen as low as Pennsylvania to Iowa to Oregon! I like to think this as a timely reminder from the Sun as to how much it influences conditions on the Earth.

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Comments

An aurora map may save the trouble of wandering outside
https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/aurora-30-minute-forecast

I don’t recall X1 being much of an aurora producer in Ohio. I’ve only seen aurora once in 40 years here, curiously on Halloween in probably the 90s.

    Many, many years ago (’70s I think) in Sacramento there was a “red sky” aurora (confirmed by news reports at the time) that I first noticed from the window of my bedroom and thought something terrible must be happening somewhere. When the news said it was just a rare aurora sighting, I was relieved and a little awestruck.

    In five years of living in Fairbanks in the mid- to late 1990s I occasionally saw tinges of purplish-red at the edges of the green swirls but never a whole red sky or anything like it.

      alaskabob in reply to McGehee. | October 31, 2021 at 10:06 pm

      In October 2001, a red aurora bathed Southcentral Alaska in light where the snow covered mountains turned red. I went to UAF in the 70’s. I’d put plastic garbage bags on the snow so as not to get frozen into the snow and turned on rock music. Best laser light show to ask for.

I saw an Aurora once while living in Wisc, where I was raised. I was 19 , camping but half the group went to a bar down the road, I stayed with maybe 4 others and about Midnight, when we were going to join the others, we went outside to the most beautiful light show on earth.
We are talking greens , blues, yellow swirling in the sky for over 2 hours. We all laid down around the campfire and that’s how the other crew found us 2 hours later..
Unbelievable

Hopefully not a ‘Carrington Event’

Well, I envy you Yankees, hosers, etc. your auroras. Pink Mojave rattlesnakes just can’t compete.
Anyone interested in a trade? Got some frozen. Great conversation starters.

One of the few things I miss about NY.

In October 2001, a red aurora bathed Southcentral Alaska in light where the snow covered mountains turned red. I went to UAF in the 70’s. I’d put plastic garbage bags on the snow so as not to get frozen into the snow and turned on rock music. Best laser light show to ask for.

There was a 1995 science fiction story involving Auroras and time warps.

Steven King’s “The Langoliers”,

SF horror movie; not bad.

The sun influences the Earth a lot more than the religion of man made climate change will admit. Enjoy some Milankovitch Cycles

https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2948/milankovitch-orbital-cycles-and-their-role-in-earths-climate/

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