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Space Science

Sun Blasts Another CME At Earth and Mars 66

Posted by Soulskill
from the careful-you-could-put-an-eye-out dept.
astroengine writes "On Friday, the sun hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) at our planet that sparked a strong geomagnetic storm and beautiful aurorae at high latitudes. Late on Sunday (EST), the sun unleashed yet another Earth-bound CME after an M9 flare erupted over a particularly active sunspot region — the CME is expected to hit Earth on Tuesday and Mars on Wednesday. This series of flares and CMEs have ignited the strongest period of solar storms since 2005, according to an NOAA space weather advisory."
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Sun Blasts Another CME At Earth and Mars

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  • Correction (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @12:24AM (#38801033)

    I think you mean "Oracle Blasts Another CME At Earth and Mars"

    • by anagama (611277)

      Not offtopic -- whoever modded that offtopic needs to go to the dump and dig up a sense of humor, because even a trashed used up one would be better than what they've got.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @12:31AM (#38801085)

    Somebody better sacrifice a goat or some shit

    • by Lotana (842533) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:12AM (#38802601)

      Why is it always a goat?

      I am curious about the origin of the sacrificial goat expression. Whenever there is any talk of non-human sacrifice it is this particular animal that is immediately brought up. Is it because goats are more commonly available? Why not cows? If I remember correctly, the bible mentions male sheep as the sacrifices used. So where did the goat originate from?

      I know that if I was a god, I would prefer something more exotic and harder to obtain in order for my followers to prove their devotion. Farm animals and humans are so easily obtained that it would be boring and routine. For my sacrifices I would require something rare like an albino tiger or dangerous to obtain like young, fully grown elephant. My blessings are not cheap!

      • Re:Ra is pissed (Score:5, Informative)

        by Canazza (1428553) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:22AM (#38803189)

        Leviticus 16:15 "He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people"
        and Leviticus 16:20-22 (Origin of the "Scape goat")

      • Why is it always a goat?

        I am curious about the origin of the sacrificial goat expression. Whenever there is any talk of non-human sacrifice it is this particular animal that is immediately brought up. Is it because goats are more commonly available? Why not cows? If I remember correctly, the bible mentions male sheep as the sacrifices used. So where did the goat originate from?

        I know that if I was a god, I would prefer something more exotic and harder to obtain in order for my followers to prove their devotion. Farm animals and humans are so easily obtained that it would be boring and routine. For my sacrifices I would require something rare like an albino tiger or dangerous to obtain like young, fully grown elephant. My blessings are not cheap!

        Today we just donate money... goats were handy.

      • How about your one and only son - a one of a kind human God hybrid the only one to ever be born of a virgin - would that be rare enough? He's fully your son, so everyone trying to kill him could be subject to either his or your wrath in an second.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I know that if I was a god, I would prefer something more exotic and harder to obtain in order for my followers to prove their devotion.

        If I were a god why would I need them to prove their devotion? I should already know! Unless, of course, there's something about being a god that I don't understand (and understanding that would be harder than a housefly understanding me).

        • Not every god, is all powerful like the Judeo-Christian God. The greek/romans/norse all had domain over some part of the world, but not everything. If I were the sun god, I'd want people to devote themselves to me, rather than the stupid rain god, tree god, or god of ugly t-shirts.

  • by pie21 (2125264) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @12:34AM (#38801105)

    This series of flares and CMEs have ignited the strongest period of solar storms since 2005, according to an NOAA space weather advisory.

    Sounds like pretty clear evidence of solar warming to me.

    • by Hadlock (143607) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @01:09AM (#38801279) Homepage Journal

      They have a designated ranking system for CME/EMP effects on earth. It goes from C or M all the way up to X5 I believe.

      • by similar_name (1164087) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:00AM (#38801619)

        It goes from C or M all the way up to X5

        Is that better than 11?

      • by oneiros27 (46144) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:45AM (#38801909) Homepage

        'ranking system for CME/EMP effects' ... 'all the way up to X5'?

        Wow. Well, what you're talking about is the 'Flare Class' [spaceweather.com] which only classifies the amount of x-ray energy given off by a flare. It's a log scale, so M is 10x as large as a C, and X is 10x as large as an M. Of course, there's no cap on it, and there have been X20 flares recorded. Of course, the sensors saturate, and as we're only really dealing with one significant figure and a magnitude, I don't know how much precision they have at those higher values.

        To make things even more fun, there's also a flare 'importance' value [spaceweather.com], which is based on the energy and size of the flaring region in the optical (visible) spectrum.

        But neither of these classifications have to do with CMEs, and particularly not their affects at earth. For that, you'd need to look at the solar wind folks, who are obsessed with things like 'Bz' (z-component of the magnetic field', ie, how is it oriented relative to the earth's magnetic field?) [swri.edu] and radio bursts [nasa.gov].

        The closest thing that I can think of to what you describe would be a catalog of ICMEs [ucla.edu] (Interplanetary CMEs), but even those, if you look at the catalog, are just raw numbers, no sort of ranking to it. (the column with 'A' and 'B' in it are which of the two STEREO spacecraft [nasa.gov] saw the event, 'Ahead' or 'Behind')

        Disclaimer : I'm not a solar physicist, but I work in a solar data archive, and have done work trying to normalize solar event catalogs.

        • by Hadlock (143607)

          Ah, fantastic, this was the response I was hoping for, and the reason I visit Slashdot. Any chance you could convert this post in to a (well linked) Wikipedia Article? I've dug around for similar information before, but I think the reason why articles always are so vauge about the CME's classifications are that reporters have so little information to research from, in particular Wikipedia.

          • by oneiros27 (46144)

            I think you missed the key point -- there's no fixed scale for CME, so why would you write an article on the lack of something?

            CMEs and flares are *not* the same thing -- the CME is an ejection of plasma from the sun, while a flare is energy only. You also have what are called 'SEP events' [nasa.gov] (Solar Energetic Particles), where they're measuring highly energetic particles in situ (in place vs. remote sensing like from telesopes) ... and I probably shouldn't say that there's no CME classification ... there are

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            Any chance you could convert this post in to a (well linked) Wikipedia Article?

            Why, so one of the on-staff editors can delete it or render it meaningless? Attempting to edit wikipedia is a fool's errand.

          • It seems that NOAA started classifying events from their Space Weather Prediction Center last cycle, but it's not considered of 'science quality' like the flare classifications, so the community I deal with doesn't care about them.

            There are three scales, all from 1 to 5, prefixed by G for Geomagnetic Storms [noaa.gov], S for Solar Radiation [noaa.gov], and R for Radio Blackouts [noaa.gov].

            So, high R (eg, R4) would be 'GPS doesn't work', S would be 'could kill people in space' (or satellites), and G would be the stuff that could induce curr

    • by youn (1516637)

      or mega-global warming.... that goes beyond planet earth :)

  • by wbr1 (2538558) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @12:54AM (#38801213)
    It's 2012 baby. The end is nigh!
    • It would suck if the world would end this year...not because then we'll all die or something like that...but because the last thing we'd hear is a bunch of dumbasses screaming "WE WERE RIGHT!".
  • Sun? (Score:1, Funny)

    by singingjim1 (1070652)
    Microsystems? It's flaring back up again? Nice! But I thought is was the Blade, not the Flare. Cool, new product!
  • by Terminaldogma (765487) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @12:56AM (#38801221) Homepage
    I keep hearing how CMEs can cause interference with electronics such as GPS, satellites, etc., but does anyone have an example where one caused noticeable impact? I fully believe the theory, I'm just wondering if there's an example of it being put into practice.
    • by uptownguy (215934) <UptownGuyEmail@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @01:04AM (#38801255)

      but does anyone have an example where one caused noticeable impact?

      You mean noticeable like this [wikipedia.org] or perhaps like this [wikipedia.org]?

      • by CRC'99 (96526)

        I wonder how this will affect radio propagation... From the brief bits that I learnt many years ago, a charged atmosphere reflects HF radio much better making low powered communications across the globe possible.

        Someone who understands more about this than I do able to enlighten me a little?

        • by Mal-2 (675116)

          Speaking with a HAM (I currently live with one), he said even the smaller flare from a couple days ago was creating highly unusual conditions that made DXing [wikipedia.org] far easier in the 6 meter band than is ordinarily the case. Guys with modest 100 watt transmitters in California were being heard in New Zealand, and vice versa. If you've ever wanted to add countries to your DX contact list, this might be just the time to do it!

          • by s122604 (1018036)
            100 watts? When the ionosphere is going good you don't even need that much..

            I've talked NY to Arizona on a crappy 20w ssb rig on antenna that was just a mag mount CB antenna that I didn't even bother to retune for 10 meters.

            The guys doing modes like PSK31 and CW can talk around the world on a couple D cell batteries.
      • Aurorae were seen around the world, most notably over the Caribbean; also noteworthy were those over the Rocky Mountains that were so bright that their glow awoke gold miners, who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning.

        Holy crap. I'd love to see Aurorae without having to fly to Canada/Norway in winter.

      • TY for the info. Solar storm of 1859 - guess they had no probs with the GPS ;-)
        • Nope, but the telegraph system went down. If you've not heard of the telegraph it was a long-range communication system which relied on long thin bits of wire, sort of like a series of tubes ;)
      • by ruheling (570438)
        Plus, the National Research Council has a long and detailed report on Severe Space Weather Events. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12507.html [nap.edu]
    • by mpoulton (689851)
      CMEs always drastically affect long-distance radio communications, especially in modes that rely on upper atmospheric characteristics (skip and ducting). It's not subtle at all. Anyone who woks with radio in a technical capacity has to cope with it. It's just that most commercial services are designed and operated in ways that keep end users from having to deal with these effects.
  • I'm glad Oracle took them over!
  • You just KNOW it's bad, when the sun starts taking potshots at us.

  • Will this lead to impressive Southern Lights visible from Australia?

  • WTF /.? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by teridon (139550) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:31AM (#38803229) Homepage

    45 comments, perhaps 3 of which that aren't jokes or AC trolls. /. used to be a place where science could be discussed intelligently...

    I guess I'll spend my time at reddit r/askscience instead!

    If you want to make your own high-res movies of these kinds of events, get JHelioviewer [jhelioviewer.org]

    • 45 comments, perhaps 3 of which that aren't jokes or AC trolls. /. used to be a place where science could be discussed intelligently...

      Really? When was that?

      Well, okay, could is probably true.

  • I sometimes have mass ejections as well if I drink too many Coronas. :D
  • Might be a good time for most of the drivers around here to learn how to read maps

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