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Space Earth Science

Epic Geomagnetic Storm Erupts 80

Posted by timothy
from the good-name-for-a-candy-bar dept.
astroengine writes "On Monday, at around 2 p.m. ET, a coronal mass ejection (CME) slammed into the Earth's magnetosphere. For a short time (between 3:06 p.m and 3:11 p.m. ET), energetic solar wind particles penetrated as deep as geosynchronous orbit — home to hundreds of communication satellites. As a consequence, a geomagnetic storm is underway, generating bright aurorae across very low latitudes." Adds reader dtmos, quoting from Spaceweather, which also has a beautiful photo gallery: "'The impact strongly compressed Earth's magnetic field, directly exposing geosynchronous satellites to solar wind plasma, and sparked an intense geomagnetic storm. As night fell over North America, auroras spilled across the Canadian border into the contiguous United States.' Aurora were seen as far south as Baileyton, Alabama."
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Epic Geomagnetic Storm Erupts

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  • A little late (Score:5, Insightful)

    by farnham (160656) on Tuesday October 25, 2011 @08:52AM (#37830076)

    If this had been posted YESTERDAY some of us might have gotten up early to see those Aurorae

  • a coronal mass ejection (CME) slammed into the Earth's magnetosphere. Tsingi makes some popcorn...
  • So let's try to keep a lid on the Hollywood hyperbole, shall we?
    • by anlag (1917070)
      True enough. On a related note, the word "epic" in the headline really does nothing for me. Maybe I'm anal but I don't think it's appropriate language to use in news reporting. "Large" or whatever would be sufficient. Or simply omitting the adjective entirely.
    • 3 billion pounds of material traveling at 2000 miles/sec and blasting entire planets isn't epic for you ? You have a pretty high standard for epic.
      • 3 billion pounds of material traveling at 2000 miles/sec and blasting entire planets isn't epic for you ? You have a pretty high standard for epic.

        Correct. We do have a high standard of 'epic'. 3 billion pounds of material travelling at 2000 miles/sec is large, but it's not massively unusual and therefore not epic. Unfortunately you, and the mass media don't, so epic is being used whenever anyone gets slightly excited about anything these days. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/epic [thefreedictionary.com]

        • 3. heroic; majestic; impressively great: the epic events of the war.
          Lighting up the planets northern hemisphere isn't impressive ? or majestic ?
          The word you are looking for to describe a very very rare coronal mass ejection hitting the earth isn't epic its cataclysmic.
          • Lighting up the planets northern hemisphere isn't impressive ? or majestic ?

            So by your definition, all auroras are epic? This was a big aurora - no argument. But it's not as 'impressively great' as to be called 'epic' because auroras like this happen once every year-or-so (more now that we are approaching a solar maximum). If it was the biggest, most impressive aurora in about 50 years then maybe it could be described as epic, but it wasn't - in fact, there was one just a month ago: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2042428/Best-auroras-seen-Britain-thanks-huge-solar-f [dailymail.co.uk]

          • by geekoid (135745)

            Not really, no. It's a regular event. uncommon size would be better... but even that's a stretch.

            The fact that you aren't aware of the science doesn't mean the event is epic.

            And yu can be ipc, AND cataclysmic...but you can be epic and not cataclysmic as well. There TWO different things.

            This post?now THAT'S epic.

      • by slackbheep (1420367) on Tuesday October 25, 2011 @10:23AM (#37831128)
        Sounds about as epic as 17500000000000000000 h2o molecules striking your face, in a raindrop.
    • http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/epic [reference.com]

      Looks like (3) and (4) fit just fine for the event. It shouldn't be used by the news because they will start everything they broadcast/publish at the "epic" mark. Wait, they already do. :)

  • and this happens. i live in Alabama and seeing this has always been a dream of mine. Had this only been posted 6 or 7 hours ago.

    • by pnewhook (788591)
      Well since the aurora is a Canadian phenomenon, expect a bill from us for the show. The fact that you slept through it is irrelevant..
  • by vlm (69642)

    a geomagnetic storm is underway

    "was" not "is"

    I was hoping to do some ham radio work on the 6 meter band using that, but I'm way too late, or so I'm told.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I've never worked auroral propagation but have read that it sounds like being underwater. On a side note, I didn't notice any disturbance in the force yesterday. Activity did seem to be down from the weekend but I still managed to work T32C again (CW and RTTY) and picked up TX7M (RTTY). Come on Sol, get busier!

  • by awfar (211405) on Tuesday October 25, 2011 @09:34AM (#37830498)

    I live in a rural area with little light pollution and where I can clearly see the milky way - and it was quite a sight. All I'll say is that when you see it the first time, unprepared as I was, it can be disconcerting and even alarming. You know something powerfully primitive is occurring, not normal; I imagine like an animal responding to a forest fire.

  • I got up this morning, and my over-the-air reception of local stations was severely disrupted. I did however, pick up stations from 250 miles away in Saint Louis. Now I know that Saint Louis stations are only slightly less boring than Kansas City Stations... Thanks CME!
    • by storkus (179708)

      If those stations were on VHF, the aurora might have had something to do with it; however, if they're on UHF, it had nothing to do with it and it was most likely tropospheric ducting, which is common in the Midwest.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I guess this explains what I saw last night in SE Virginia. I happened to walk outside and look to the north and the sky was all red. It was very strange, glowing red. One of my neighbors was outside and I asked him if he saw it too, he did. Got my wife and kids out, they didn't last real long, there were streaks of dark that looked almost like straight lines running 'down' reddened sky. It was very odd, kinda creepy looking, and then a "shooting star", pretty long lasting one happened to streak down t

    • by Bucc5062 (856482)

      Now that's funny, I did not see any colors, but while talking with my cousin @ 7:30 PM I looked up and saw a object streak across the sky with a long trail behind it (I live north east of Atlanta, GA). He joked that it was the German satellite though I though it had crashed by now. My thought was alien invasion and finally, we have something to take our minds off the drivel coming from Washington on how they will make our lives better. Nothing like aliens to shake up the status quo.

      So reality may be more

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Kinda funny. I was up in far north canada up until about 2 days ago, I got in around 10pm last night in Ontario, after an 11hr drive. Didn't see squat. While up north people said they saw them occasionally, but nope not while I was there. Not when I got back. Most of the time though, it's either raining or cloudy here when they're up. Ah well maybe there will be slim chance of seeing something tonight but I'm not holding my breath. Good thin I'm heading back up to the far northern wasteland for 10 we

  • Just wait until the aliens land.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      If alien ever do arrive, I hope they land. If so, the likelihood they are hostile diminishes greatly.

  • Yesterday was the opening of the Mid-Atlantic Star Party near Robbins, NC.
    While we were getting gear set up yesterday afternoon someone had a C-11 with a white light filter and a Solarmax 60 riding piggy back.
    Both showed a TON of activity on the sun - filaments, sun spots, and some huge prominences. Little did we know we would get a solar show after dark!
    About 9:30 PM EDT the transparency was good but seeing was still soft. When we wondered who threw on a big light to the north of the field - all of a sud

  • Seriously, the telecomms are sloooowly moving on fiber-optic lines. Should have been serious starts on that years ago as a backup to satellites at the very least. One super-epic flare and kiss those satellites good bye, no matter how hardened they are, and they will take months if not years to completely replace. What do you do in the meantime? Oops?

    On the plus side, though, all the spy sats in the world would also be fried. Always a silver lining....

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Super-epic flare? What are you, a 11 year old child? How about you look at what we know,as well as what the super - epic* CME would so to the earth.

      Ah, it was an unthinking rant to put in a jab about 'Spy' satellites.

      *again, WTF?

      • The 'super-epic flare' was a subtle bit of sarcasm in regards to the 'epic flare' of the posted story. The flare was unusual but not something most familiar with CMEs would consider 'epic'. I suppose it was too subtle for you to pick up and thus I apologize. Insulting me over something that petty (and for my 'rant' that backups are a good thing?), however, is more an indication of your age being closer towards the single digits than mine.

  • The sun is whipping us with its fiery magnetic tentacles. Run away?
  • clouds.

  • Hence explains why my GPS system was erratic that morning.

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