Last updated on August 6th, 2011
Two Solar CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejection) are inbound on their way to Earth and they may have merged into a single cloud that could produce significant storming when they reach Earth on August 5th around 10:00 UT.
STRONG SOLAR ACTIVITY: Active sunspot 1261 has unleashed a significant solar flare. The latest blast registered M9.3 on the Richter Scale of Flares, almost crossing the threshold into X-territory (X-flares are the most powerful kind). The number of energetic protons around Earth has jumped nearly 100-fold as a result of this event.
Moving at an estimated speed of 1950 km/s (more than 4 million miles per hour!), this CME is expected to sweep up an earlier CME already en route. Analysts at the Goddard Space Flight Center – Space Weather Lab say the combined cloud should reach Earth on August 5th at 10:00 UT plus or minus 7 hours: “The impact on Earth is likely to be major.
Official Space Weather Advisory
issued by NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
Boulder, Colorado, USA
SPACE WEATHER ADVISORY BULLETIN
2011 August 04 at 10:58 a.m. MDT (2011 August 04 1658 UTC)
**** GEOMAGNETIC STORM EXPECTED ****
Space Weather Bulletin August 4, 2011
NOAA Region 1261, very active over the past few days, produced the third
of a sequence of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and Solar Radio Blackout
Events early today. The net effect of that activity is convergent CMEs
expected to disturb the geomagnetic field in the early hours, Universal
Time (UTC) of August 5. G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm conditions are
likely as well as a distinct chance of S2 (Moderate) Solar Radiation
Storm levels being surpassed.
Space Weather Message Code: WARSUD
Serial Number: 87
Issue Time: 2011 Aug 05 1731 UTC
WARNING: Geomagnetic Sudden Impulse expected
Valid From: 2011 Aug 05 1800 UTC
Valid To: 2011 Aug 05 1845 UTC
IP Shock Passage Observed: 2011 Aug 05 1722 UTC
Looks like we survived the initial wave 😉
A reminder though how our Sun ‘could’ disrupt our lives with barely a warning…
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
Energy released from solar plasma blasts will reach Earth throughout Friday and Saturday, potentially disrupting communications and electrical grids. The explosion on the sun’s surface could affect precision satellite systems such as GPS and high-frequency radio waves, which airlines use for communication.
SWPC Director Tom Bogdan:
“You can think of them (CMEs) as sort of tsunamis in space,” “The first one was fairly weak, and we’re now seeing the next one coming in.”
The experts said the current wave could go on until Saturday night at the latest.
Space Weather Message Code: WARK07
Serial Number: 32
Issue Time: 2011 Aug 05 2146 UTC
WARNING: Geomagnetic K-index of 7 or greater expected
Valid From: 2011 Aug 05 2200 UTC
Valid To: 2011 Aug 06 0300 UTC
Warning Condition: Onset
NOAA Scale: G3 or greater – Strong to Extreme
G3 ‘Strong’ Geomagnetic Storm
Power systems: voltage corrections may be required, false alarms triggered on some protection devices.
Spacecraft operations: surface charging may occur on satellite components, drag may increase on low-Earth-orbit satellites, and corrections may be needed for orientation problems.
Other systems: intermittent satellite navigation and low-frequency radio navigation problems may occur, HF radio may be intermittent, and aurora has been seen as low as Illinois and Oregon (typically 50° geomagnetic lat.)**.
G4 ‘Severe’ Geomagnetic Storm
Power systems: possible widespread voltage control problems and some protective systems will mistakenly trip out key assets from the grid.
Spacecraft operations: may experience surface charging and tracking problems, corrections may be needed for orientation problems.
Other systems: induced pipeline currents affect preventive measures, HF radio propagation sporadic, satellite navigation degraded for hours, low-frequency radio navigation disrupted, and aurora has been seen as low as Alabama and northern California (typically 45° geomagnetic lat.)**.
GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A geomagnetic storm is in progress. It began on August 5th around 1800 UT when a CME struck Earth’s magnetic field. At its peak during the hours just after impact, the storm registered 8 on the 0 to 9 “K-index” scale of geomagnetic disturbances, making it one of the strongest magnetic storms in many years. The subsiding storm could take many more hours to peter out; high-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras.
Earth’s magnetic field is still reverberating from a CME strike on August 5th that sparked one of the strongest geomagnetic storms in years. Registering 8 on the 0 to 9 “K-index” scale of magnetic disturbances, the storm at maximum sparked auroras across Europe and in many northern-tier US states.
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