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Space Science

Polar Flares To Be Visible Tonight 88

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the shiny-happy-colors dept.
ideaMUX writes "NASA's solar dynamics observatory recently detected an M-class flare hurling a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space. The CME is not fully directed toward Earth, but some of the plasma cloud may be visible in the magnetosphere tonight, causing a geomagnetic disturbance and possible aurora. NASA said M-class flares are medium-sized, and can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth's Polar regions. Minor radiation storms sometimes follow M-class flares."
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Polar Flares To Be Visible Tonight

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  • "Polar Flares"? (Score:3, Informative)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @05:49PM (#33209644) Homepage

    That's an original, I think.

  • Thank you Slashdot.

    Sincerely,

    All your readers outside of polar areas that won't be able to see anything anyway.

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @05:57PM (#33209718) Journal
      That's not quite right for this event.

      Here [alaska.edu]'s a forecast for tonight's event, it's possible that anyone north of about 55 degrees in North America will get a glimmer.

      True, that leaves most of us SOL. But that's why CME events are special -- people who can't normally see the aurora borealis get a chance to view it.
      • That's not quite right for this event. Here [alaska.edu]'s a forecast for tonight's event, it's possible that anyone north of about 55 degrees in North America will get a glimmer. True, that leaves most of us SOL. But that's why CME events are special -- people who can't normally see the aurora borealis get a chance to view it.

        The only people in the US that will be able to see it live in Alaska - likely an extremely insignificant portion of the /. crowd.

        • an extremely insignificant portion of the /. crowd.

          Yeah, and there's not many of those people either.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by abigor (540274)

          The OP mentioned "North America". Incredible as it seems, there's this country in North America to the north of the US with 35 million people in it that might want to see this event. Remarkably, this story is relevant for them.

          • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            The OP mentioned "North America". Incredible as it seems, there's this country in North America to the north of the US with 35 million people in it that might want to see this event. Remarkably, this story is relevant for them.

            Not really. Most of us are too engrossed in drinking beer and beating each other with hockey sticks to look at the sky. ;-)

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by goofyspouse (817551)
            Your point is valid, but the vast majority of Canadians live south of 55 degrees north. Calgary is 51 degrees, and even Edmonton is only just over 53 degrees...
          • I seriously doubt most Canadians [britannica.com] even live near the lower portions of Alaska, as far as longitude goes. Of course, there aren't many Alaskans, hehe.

            A lot of Canadians, if they live towards the southern part of their US-bordering province, could potentially be further south from the pole than north-eastern US states like Maine.

          • The OP mentioned "North America". Incredible as it seems, there's this country in North America to the north of the US with 35 million people in it that might want to see this event. Remarkably, this story is relevant for them.

            Seeing as how I live in the lower 48 states and am further north than a huge percentage of the Canadian population I have to say you might want to consult a map. Most of the major cities in Canada are barely north of the border. Hell I could be in one of them within 40 minutes if the border crossing wasn't crowded.

        • by fyngyrz (762201) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @07:54PM (#33210638) Homepage Journal

          The only people in the US that will be able to see it live in Alaska

          Nope. I generally do pretty well [flickr.com] here in NE Montana.

          This shot [flickr.com], and this one [flickr.com], are aurora photos from the CME event last week.

        • by socsoc (1116769)
          Ted Stevens will see it.
        • The only people in the US that will be able to see it live in Alaska - likely an extremely insignificant portion of the /. crowd.

          On behalf of the Alaskans who are a part of the /. crowd, I would like to convivially wave an insignificant digit in your general direction. Sadly, you will not be able to see my digit-waving-display, just as you won't be able to see the aurora display tonight.

          If it makes you feel any better, our weather here in Anchorage will not likely permit viewing, either ... damn clouds.

      • by IceFoot (256699)

        Actually, what is the population of Earth north of 55 degrees (north latitude)? Is there any way to find that statistic?

        • by bar-agent (698856)

          Actually, what is the population of Earth north of 55 degrees (north latitude)? Is there any way to find that statistic?

          Sure. Take a population density map and consider only the part of it that is north of 55 degrees. Depending on the legend, you may need to determine the land area north of 55 degrees or the total population of the world as well.

    • by Kvasio (127200)

      unless this is DARPA playing with HAARP [wikipedia.org] again.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      Thank you Slashdot.

      Sincerely,

      All your readers outside of polar areas that won't be able to see anything anyway.

      I really don't understand why this is insightful. Linux stories aren't helpful to the majority, either.

  • Skinner! (Score:5, Funny)

    by swanzilla (1458281) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @05:56PM (#33209704) Homepage

    Aurora Borealis?

    At this time of year?

    A this time of day?

    In this part of the country?

    Localized entirely within your kitchen?

  • by cosm (1072588) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .3msoceht.> on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @05:57PM (#33209720)
    Polar Bares Coronal Mass Erection III
    Guaranteed Plasma Cloud Shot
  • by by (1706743) (1706744) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @05:58PM (#33209726)

    ...detected an M-class flare...

    So...can you live on it? [wikipedia.org]

  • by eagee (1308589) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @05:59PM (#33209734)
    That only happens like... never!

    Sincerely,

    Someone from Cleveland (you insensitive clods!)
    • You better hope we never have a solar flare such that the resulting aurora is visble from Cleveland.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You better hope we never have a solar flare such that the resulting aurora is visble from Cleveland.

        You're not actually serious, are you? Auroras are visible* from Cleveland about once a year, on average--more during solar max, less during solar min, like now.

        *Not factoring in light pollution

      • Ahh, I have actually seen recordings of them as far south as Ft. Davis Texas.
        • > I have actually seen recordings of them as far south as Ft. Davis Texas.

          It's not the latitude. There they don't have to be so bright as to visible through the skies of Cleveland. As in most large cities, the residents think there are only five stars in the sky, all only visible when a power failure coincides with an unusually clear night.

  • I wonder where the best place to view this from would be? The Aurora Borealis are best viewed in Alaska, but during the winter. My girlfriend just got to Alaska recently and I'm on the North East coast, we'll have to compare notes!

    Speaking of Alaska, I wonder what time dude's plane crashed?

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said a minor radio blackout event occurred at 2 pm EDT on Monday when an M1 flare erupted on the Sun. Solar flares are classified as C (low intensity), M (mod

    • Loss of radio could be a problem, more for navigational aids than communications. GPS is not very accurate for aircraft, especially when changing altitude, and even when it works. They had fog and cloud and tried to get over a mountain.

      • by plopez (54068)

        we were out doing field work today in the lower 48. Our radios kept having problems tx and rx. We couldn't figure it out. At the end of the day we compared notes and others experienced the same problems. I think the flares are to blame, since everything works well under other circumstances.

    • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      Not from Anchorage, it's cloudy here today. If it was clear, I'd go to Eagle River Nature Center or Earthquake Park here in Anchorage.

      • by cez (539085)
        That's what she said!

        Oh... wait a minute, that loses funniness when it's the truth... and not sexual at all.

    • by Cyberax (705495) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @06:34PM (#33210046)

      In Australia, seriously. Aurora Australis is just as beautiful.

      Earth has two poles.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Wyatt Earp (1029)

        The article's title and description refers to polar, so no where is it north-centric.

        Even the UAF site has a map for the Southern Hemisphere.

      • by cez (539085)
        my bad mate! Was a typo... I meant the best time to see them in Alaska was the winter... when its not all night bright and shite. Cheers!
      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        Yeah, but one of them is upside-down!

      • summer in winter? winter in summer? stop it now

        antipodeans are a fictional kind of leprechaun invented to scare young children. there is no such thing as another hemisphere. you would fall off!

        you are a poor troll trying to pull a fast one

      • by juhaz (110830)

        Not really. There aren't any settlements on southern hemisphere that are anywhere as near to the pole as there are in the north, and that quite obviously limits the show a lot.

        Southern tip of Tasmania is 44 degrees south. Most of Europe and almost entire Canada is closer to the north pole than that is to south! We have _cities_ 70 degrees north, you'd have to live on Antarctica to match that on the south pole.

  • I am going to pack all of my electronic equipment into the newly built Faraday cage I built in my garage.

  • Um... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @06:34PM (#33210048)
    Nicolas Cage just drove by my house really fast shouting into a cell phone. Should I be concerned?
  • But why would I want to see polar flares? I mean, it's cool and all, whatever floats your boat... but I'm just not "like that".
  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @06:44PM (#33210128)

    Am I the only one who read that as "Polar Bears To Be Visible Tonight" and thought, "Holy crap, they're usually invisible?!?"

  • Menchara-class flares over a Menchara-class planet?

    Been there, done that ;-)
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @08:17PM (#33210786) Homepage Journal

    I had a bipolar flare-up and tossed a chair.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?

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