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Author Topic: Coronal Mass Ejection, on its way...  (Read 2791 times)
AlanM
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« on: January 21, 2012, 01:09:34 PM »

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/20/big-cme-headed-toward-earth/#more-55093
http://spaceweather.com/images2012/20jan12/ldcme.gif

Active sunspot 1401 erupted yesterday, Jan. 19th around 16:30 UT, producing an M3-class solar flare and a full-halo coronal mass ejection (CME). The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded the cloud expanding almost directly toward Earth:
Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab say strong geomagnetic storms are possible when the cloud arrives this weekend. Their animated forecast track predicts an impact on Jan. 21st at 22:30 UT (+/- 7 hrs).
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CeeBee
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2012, 01:47:00 PM »

Just thought I'd add to the subject that this should mean there's some chance of seeing the Northern Lights (Aurora), perhaps tonight if it reaches earth on schedule. http://spaceweather.com/ (as mentioned by Alan) will probably have updates. And http://aurorawatch.lancs.ac.uk/ gives a more UK-centric view of activity in the earth's magnetic field (you can register for email alerts).

I've seen the aurora from Cambridge once - just by chance - it's a bit too far south for regular appearances.
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clivejo
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2012, 02:01:42 PM »

Does that mean ETA is approx 10:30pm. But we can expect it from 3pm onwards?

Its it likely to cause damage?  ie should I be powering down PC, inverters, disconnect from mains etc?
« Last Edit: January 21, 2012, 02:03:46 PM by clivejo » Logged



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Philip R
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2012, 02:33:29 PM »

Spaceweather  can cause slow deviations to occur to the earths magnetic field. This in turn can induce low frequency DC into long power lines, leading to transformer core saturation, thus tripping out circuits on overload.

Usually a problem for northern places like Canada, but theoretically can affect other areas.

National Grid have been aware of this problem for at least ten years. They would issue a warning if a an event were likely to effect the HV Grid system.

PhilipR
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CeeBee
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2012, 11:01:38 AM »

The CME was late arriving (if it's arrived at all). Nothing doing by midnight at the end of Saturday 21-Jan-2012, when I gave up waiting to see. The http://spaceweather.com/ site doesn't say it's arrived yet, but one of the 'Live Data Links' on http://aurorawatch.lancs.ac.uk/ (the 'ACE') one shows the graphs going berserk from just after 0500 Sunday 22-Jan-2012. So I'll stick my neck out and say that's when it arrived (?).

Sometimes these things only catch earth a glancing blow, or of couse miss completely. If it did arrive this 5am, then I don't know enough about how the magnetosphere behaves to know whether there would still be good probability of aurorae this evening. Keep following the websites...
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clivejo
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2012, 11:18:13 AM »

I think its happening at the moment!  I was watching the Solar wind density from 10:30pm onwards last night it was only 5 protons/cm3.  I gave up look at about 1am and was disappointed the world didn't end.  If you look now the density has jumped, its now 50 !!!

http://spaceweather.com/
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RichardKB
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2012, 02:31:53 PM »

I don't know when it arrived but my internet speed was appaling around 11pm normal 20M but struggling with 1.5M and high latency.

Rich
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desperate
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2012, 04:04:11 PM »

Quite a few sightings(hundreds I believe) were reported last night, and conditions are good for tonight also. Cameras at the ready.

Desp
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clivejo
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2012, 04:21:45 PM »

Spaceweather website is reporting a density of 3.1 protons/cm3, so looks like its passed by and returning to normal.
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desperate
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2012, 04:37:20 PM »

Don't write it off just yet, weather forecasts, terrestrial and astronomical, are not entirely accurate.

Desp
EDIT
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16685364
 
some piccys from last night
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 04:42:50 PM by desperate » Logged

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CeeBee
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2012, 04:57:37 PM »

Spaceweather website is reporting a density of 3.1 protons/cm3, so looks like its passed by and returning to normal.

I'm far from an expert in the science of aurorae, but according to SpaceWeather site, that data is coming from a satellite (ACE) which is quite a distance from earth, and is measuring the solar wind where the satellite is. Although the disturbance in the solar wind has passed (though another one due Jan 24/25 2012), I imagine the the particles (electrons, protons, whatever) rattling up and down the earth's magnetic field lines (pattern like the old iron-filings round a bar-magnet) can still do that at an increased level for some time afterwards (they cause the aurorae where the field lines dip into the atmosphere, i.e. in an annulus or 'ring' around each magnetic pole).

So who knows for tonight. Do try looking if it's clear. More likely the more north you are in the UK, since the 'ring' doesn't often venture as far south as the north of the UK, let alone the south. More likely looking north than any other direction. Various snags for me include useless northern horizon from house; streetlights; and it being cold! Maybe I'll venture out later a mile or two to get away from the lights.
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