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Space Science

Coronal Mass Ejection Hits Earth 154

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the duck-and-cover dept.
astroengine writes "On Tuesday, the Earth was hit by a coronal mass ejection (CME), triggering a 'moderate' geomagnetic storm, igniting aurorae at high latitudes. The CME in question was launched from the sun early on Sunday and space weather scientists predicted its arrival on Aug. 3 — the vast magnetic bubble of solar plasma arrived on schedule."
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Coronal Mass Ejection Hits Earth

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  • by VoxMagis (1036530) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @10:56AM (#33137978)

    Damn it, we need to shoot back. Don't let the Sun see us flinch, make sure that we retaliate in kind!


  • I was wondering why my RealDoll with the motorized enhancements seemed extra frisky this morning.

    .
    • I was wondering why my RealDoll with the motorized enhancements seemed extra frisky this morning. .

      Can you please link that site for uh... research purposes?

  • Awesome. (Score:5, Funny)

    by DWMorse (1816016) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @10:58AM (#33137992) Homepage
    Galactic porn. Very awesome. Earth was left glowing and satisfied.
  • by ground.zero.612 (1563557) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @10:59AM (#33138000)

    where Dr. Crusher was commanding the Enterprise. She used Dr. Raega's (Farengi scientist) metaphasic shield to enter a star's corona with the Borg in persuit, and then fired the phasers at the star just below the Borg ship.

    Moral of the story? Sucks get caught in a CME.

  • by lazarus (2879) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @10:59AM (#33138012) Journal
    Monitor the results. [137.229.36.30]
  • by Shanrak (1037504) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @10:59AM (#33138020)
    The sun just lost a contact.
  • by krzysz00 (1842280) <krzysdrewniak@ g m ail.com> on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @11:02AM (#33138042)
    There are three bits of good news in that article.
    1. 1. There was no damage to electronics or satellites, so all of the /. community's geeky shiny is safe
    2. 2. There will be really impressive light displays (which I hope someone will post on YouTube
    3. 3. We are developing the ability to forecast "space weather", thus leading to a new field, astrometeorology

    However, the bad news is that satellites might go if a bigger storm comes along.

    • by gmuslera (3436)

      2. There will be really impressive light displays (which I hope someone will post on YouTube

      And what you will do tomorrow with all the blind people and those strange plants chasing them on the street?

    • So when will the Messiah drop by and explain to us what all this means?

      • by nextekcarl (1402899) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @11:17AM (#33138224)

        Steve Jobs is busy with other matters right now, so it could be a while. /s

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Lumpy (12016)

        A friend of mine is a Mason and he said it's next wednesday at 4:35pm. Unfortunately the Holy Grail will not be available as it's currently in their vaults awaiting re-release after a hiatias to drum up more interest..

        I guess the Aliens from area 51 stole the thunder out of seeing the holy grail, and a dumbass in the dayton Ohio Temple drank from it when they last had it and his head melted.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Chris Burke (6130)

          Ah, the ol' "trick the new guy into drinking from the Grail" bit. "It'll make you immortal! We've all done it! *snicker*"

          The Masons haven't been the same since they cracked down on Freshman hazing. :(

      • by geekoid (135745)

        I'm hear, sorry I'm late.
        It means that everyone is to learn how to think rationally.

        Also, give me your broads.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by CyberGrandad (1852572)

      2. There will be really impressive light displays (which I hope someone will post on YouTube

      No video (so far) but there are photos at spaceweather.com.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Combatso (1793216)

      1. 3. We are developing the ability to forecast "space weather", thus leading to a new field, astrometeorology

      just cuz im in my nitpick mood, the origin of the word meteorology is already astronomical. It was believed that meteors were part of earths weather system. So I think this new field should be called meteorology, and the old field should be called Geoweatherology... or Global Warming

      ... oh yeah http://www.bigsiteofamazingfacts.com/why-is-the-study-of-weather-called-meteorology-and-where-did-the-term-come-from [bigsiteofa...gfacts.com]

      • by adavies42 (746183)

        um, sort of. it's more accurate to say that "meteor" (in this sense meaning "bright streak in the sky") means "weather thing". so you've kind of got causality reversed there....

    • by Gilmoure (18428)

      3. We are developing the ability to forecast "space weather", thus leading to a new field, astrometeorology

      Aw, great, astrometeorologists, with bad hair pieces and stupid patter.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Aw, great, astrometeorologists, with bad hair pieces and stupid patter.

        He smiles at the camera, then tells a little joke
        He always says it's sunny if the telestrator's broke
        Thinks clouds are made of cotton and are blown up to the sky,
        But he's got a steady income as a TV weather guy

        "They say I'm not qualified to be on the TV
        Don't know Fahrenheit from Celsius so I just say 'degrees'
        I just read the temperature and make up a bunch of lies
        and end up being right more than the guy on channel 5."

        -- Arrogant Worms

    • The good and the bad (Score:5, Informative)

      by dtmos (447842) * on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @11:35AM (#33138462)

      The additional bit of good news (if you're a VHF amateur radio operator, or FM or TV broadcast DXer) is that there should be interesting propagation of VHF radio signals [wikipedia.org] refracting off of the aurora [wikipedia.org], perhaps as far as 2000 km. The bad news is that the same ionization that refracts the VHF signals attenuates HF signals, so if you're an HF amateur radio operator or short-wave listener, the paths over the poles will be closed for a few days.

      I guess the additional bad news if you're a VHF broadcaster (FM or over-the-air TV) is that you can expect a lot of calls from the public complaining about poor reception, as signals from far away interfere with yours. :-/

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by s122604 (1018036)
        It looks like 10 meters is actually doing well, maybe even better than before the event, but that might just be sporadic E, I dunno

        I've always loved the top end of the HF spectrum 10 meters, and the 11 meter "freeband", sometimes it acts like VHF, sometimes HF, sometimes both.

        On a side note, how ashamed should I be to say I have a "favorite" portion of the spectrum?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by m.ducharme (1082683)

          Did you see the Star-Trek nerdery above? I don't think you have anything to be ashamed of compared to that (unless of course you were one of the participants...)

      • I don't know if this is related, just pointing it out in case. I listen to an AM radio station on the rare occasion that I drive to work...I drove today because it is outlandishly hot here today....that station was just crazy noises. This station is always the first one I lose when I drive out of town...guessing it is related.
    • ...We are developing the ability to forecast "space weather", thus leading to a new field, astrometeorology...

      Does this mean we've finally given up on trying to forecast earth weather? Time to start up the The Old Atronaut's Almanac [almanac.com]

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Drat, and here I was thinking that I could add this perfectly legitimate scenario to my BOFH excuse list.

    • by idontgno (624372)

      3.3. We are developing the ability to forecast "space weather", thus leading to a new field, astrometeorology

      We've had space weather as a branch of operational meteorology for decades. I can testify to the fact that the US Air Force has performed operational space weather observation, warning, and forecasting missions since the early 1970s.

      It was never called "astrometeorology", though. Let's just say that the clever name you suggested will be your contribution to the field.

  • Nothing but a follow up story about the relatively insignificant portion of a story that really should have been about the hardware recording it and not the event itself? http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=10/08/02/2028228 [slashdot.org]
    • by Mashiki (184564)

      I'd be more interested to know if anyone saw it in their area. I'm around London, Ont. I didn't see any this morning, but my buddy directly across the lake in Michigan did, and a bit further north his friends saw it as well. I'm sure one of these days, when it's not cloudy, humid, raining, snowing, or anything other than a semi-clear sky I'll see them around here. Because every time we have one, it's not really the best viewing weather.

  • by hbean (144582) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @11:04AM (#33138082)
    ...mass ejection of corona like this, it was spring break in Cancun.
  • Could something like this have the same effect on electronics as an EMP?

    Imagine the chaos if all the microprocessors on the planet burned out at once. Or just in one hemisphere.

    • Re:EMP? (Score:5, Informative)

      by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wSLACKWAREorf.net minus distro> on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @11:15AM (#33138198)

      Could something like this have the same effect on electronics as an EMP?

      Imagine the chaos if all the microprocessors on the planet burned out at once. Or just in one hemisphere.

      On the surface, not so much - the magnetosphere funnels those charged particles to the magnetic poles, where they interact with the atmosphere and create the stunning light shows we call auroras. That said, they can induce currents to flow, especially in long lines (think power lines) which can cause circuit breakers to trip, cutting off the grid and causing power outages.

      In space, they cause lots of havoc with satellites - ranging from simple loss of communication (moving charged particles generate EM radiation, after all - same ones that cause power outages mentioned above), to complete destruction if it burns out some control circuits. So not only are the electronics rad-hard, but there are shut down protocols to temporarily turn satellites "off" to prevent damage. A dead satellite is a huge cloud of space junk waiting to happen, after all, especially if you can't deorbit it.

      Of course, the magnetosphere is supposed to be weakening in time for a supposed pole reversal, in which case life will get pretty interesting.

      This CME didn't result in any damage to satellites, though. Not sure if there weren't other effects (power outages, notable) caused, though.

    • The Solar Storm of 1859 [wikipedia.org] was one of the largest known in history and just glanced the modern Electronic Age. The significant electronic device in use at the time was the 15-year old telegraph. Lesser storms since then have brought down power grids.
    • The novel One Second After [onesecondafter.com] is one of those post-apocalyptic stories of a severe EMP attack. The cause, whether military or cosmic, is not dwelled on. Its just that all electric power, computers, and memories halt in an instant. In real life something in basement might survive. But the author killed off almost all technology for dramatic purposes. This includes all vehicles built after 1980 which have computing inside them. It is set in a rural town several days walk from a major city. The first result
  • Didn't any of you watch 2012?! We're doomed! Neutrinos! Just wait. This is only the beginning.
    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      Just rotate the shields frequency.

      What do you mean, Earth has no shields? There's a planetary shields manufacturer in Alpha Centauri.

      What do you mean you’ve never been to Alpha Centauri? Oh, for heavens sake mankind, it’s only four light years away, you know.

    • by h4rm0ny (722443)

      I don't think anybody watched 2012!

      (Bit I did enjoy the trailer [youtube.com]).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @11:10AM (#33138152)

    SPACE WEATHER!!!

  • In other word, does I have better chances to spot an northern light tonight? or tomorrow? or this weekend?
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      In other word, does I have better chances to spot an northern light tonight?

      OK, who is letting the lolcat post on Slashdot again? :-P

  • by Hatta (162192)

    It was stormy here last night. The only lights in the sky were lightning.

  • I watched Flash Gordon last night and obviously missed all the excitement, thinking the BluRay had been redone REALLY well.
  • the sun farted...?
  • Computer Crashes (Score:2, Informative)

    by SirBitBucket (1292924)
    I had 5 of 25 machines crash last night. Could this be related? (Yes, I am serious...)
    • by geekoid (135745)

      No. Sorry, but you can't blame you low grade administration skills on this, nice try~

  • Yo (Score:3, Funny)

    by blair1q (305137) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:45PM (#33139286) Journal

    He who smelt it, dealt it.

    Signed,

    Sol

  • ...and we still missed the "money shot".
  • No Ka-Boom? (Score:3, Funny)

    by jd2112 (1535857) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @02:29PM (#33141254)
    There was supposed to be an Earth-shattering Ka-Boom.
    -Marvin.
  • A serious question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ebuck (585470) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @04:12PM (#33142858)

    So, how much additional mass did the earth obtain? I'm guessing that most of it was hydrogen, but it would be cool to get even a ball park figure.

    A few liters (at STP), a few moles, a kilogram, immeasurably small, or much more? Somebody who is more familiar with the field has to have made an estimate. Was it all energy or was mass actually transferred?

    • by imsabbel (611519)

      Well, lets take a look.

      If we only count the high energy protons from the link, we get a counting rate of over 1/cm^2/sr/s over a day.

      If we take the sun as source, we have about 6e-5 sr as a solid angle. The earth has a crossection of about 128 million km^2, = 1.28e16 cm^2.

      so if we count the proton mass over 84000 seconds, it will be about 6e16 protons, so total mass is about 100 picogram.

      Its not my field, but my guess would be that its negligible compared to normal solar wind. The point that counts is the m

  • Holy Grid! After the magnetic storm everything went exactly as expected! I am awed! This must be news worthy of Slashdot!

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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