Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Solar Storms Could Bring Northern Lights South

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the wandering-borealis dept.

Space 88

RedEaredSlider writes "Increased solar activity could give residents of the continental US, southern Europe and Japan the chance to see the northern lights for the first time in several years. The National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center says the sun is entering a period of high activity, marked by more sunspots and a greater chance of a coronal mass ejection, or CME, hitting the Earth. That would result in auroras being visible much further from the poles than they usually are."

cancel ×

88 comments

Well then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704780)

They wouldn't exactly be the NORTHERN lights now, would they?

Re:Well then... (1)

jornak (1377831) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704850)

Yeah, actually this article is completely misleading, seeing as Aurora Australis (the "Southern Lights") already exist. It's actually the southern lights just visible at lower latitudes.

Re:Well then... (1)

jornak (1377831) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704894)

The title of the article, that is. Some of the content of the article does mention aurora australis.

Re:Well then... (1)

Evil.Bonsai (1205202) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705812)

Actually, the article is specifically about the NORTHERN lights and how they'll be visible at lower latitudes, in the northern hemisphere. That being said, the Southern lights will ALSO be affected the same way, at lower latitudes in the SOUTHERN hemisphere. So the titles really isn't misleading, just that it's about the northern hemisphere.

Re:Well then... (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34714840)

I don't know about you, but I'd be pretty freaked out if it were ever possible to see the Northern lights in the southern hemisphere.

Dumbass.

Re:Well then... (1)

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704908)

Since they are still north of the Equator they will be - they only become the aurora austrialis if you are viewing them looking southwards.

Looking forward to it... (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705726)

I took these aurora shots [flickr.com] in NE Montana during the low portion of the solar cycle; I'm very excited to see what more solar activity brings. I wrote this open source application [fyngyrz.com] to help me catch them when they occur.

Re:Looking forward to it... (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#34706084)

Those are some good shots.
My wife and I saw aurorae when we were in Glacier Nat'l Park in 1998 but I didn't take any photos, so I don't know how they compare to what you saw. How long were your exposures?

Re:Looking forward to it... (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34712728)

Thanks for your kind words.

I try to keep exposures between 4 and 8 seconds. Longer, and the details sort of merge together. Shorter, and the camera, even with my fastest lens (f/1.4), doesn't pick up on the fainter details. I could up the ISO a bit (the 50D will push to 12800) but the noise level is tough to accept. I shot with Canon's 85mm f/1.2L for a while, but the FOV is a bit narrow for auroras (though it did an excellent job in terms of light gathering and image quality.)

The thing is, these were mostly pretty faint auroras -- Montana isn't exactly the optimum viewing location for this stuff. I'm hoping that with the rise in solar activity, we might see some serious storms.

In the late 80's or early 90's [waves hands vaguely], I was driving on my way to Great Falls, basically in the middle of nowhere, and there was a storm so bright it was really obvious even driving with the headlights on. Of course, no camera in the car (and even if there had been, it would have been pretty wimpy compared to a modern DSLR.) That's what I'm hoping to see again. And with the monitoring software I've got running, weather permitting, I'll actually catch it.

Re:Well then... (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704910)

Southern Europe is roughly between the longitudes of Milwaukee and Memphis.

Re:Well then... (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704934)

Sorry, latitudes.

Groovy (1)

JamesonLewis3rd (1035172) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704784)

Far out, man.

So it is time to... (5, Funny)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704798)

Start madly flailing our arms in a haphazard way above our heads, screaming about how a CME will cause worldwide power outages, cause the end of civilization and generally revert us to either man eating cannibals, savages with funny tattoos and a general like of badly built all terrain vehicles slapped together out of junk or living under a sheet of ice a mile thick after increased solar activity somehow triggers a massive chain reaction that activates new types of particles in the earth's core and causes massive volcanic activity thus blocking out the sun?

*flails arms madly above head while running in small circles*

Re:So it is time to... (1)

anethema (99553) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704978)

Yes I would kent.

Re:So it is time to... (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704982)

Yes, anyone who's seriously scared that that scenario will happen should run around flailing their arms. This has 2 major benefits:
1. The non-idiots can identify the idiots more easily.
2. The idiots are too busy flailing their arms to cause any real damage.

Re:So it is time to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34705006)

*flails arms madly above head while running in small circles*

Don't do that! It will only attract the radioactive 6-winged spacebats.

Re:So it is time to... (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705082)

personally i am not worried. life is good.

Re:So it is time to... (0)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705258)

Just swap CME for AGW and you'll fit right in.

Re:So it is time to... (1)

memyselfandeye (1849868) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705370)

Start madly flailing our arms in a haphazard way above our heads, screaming about how a CME will cause worldwide power outages, cause the end of civilization and generally revert us to either man eating cannibals, savages with funny tattoos and a general like of badly built all terrain vehicles slapped together out of junk...

Dude, stop spoiling the new Lady Gaga Video(s)!!!

Re:So it is time to... (1)

r0b!n (1009159) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705730)

savages with funny tattoos and a general like of badly built all terrain vehicles slapped together out of junk

How is this different to current civilisation?

Re:So it is time to... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34711094)

You call this "civilization"?

Re:So it is time to... (1)

strength_of_10_men (967050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705752)

AURORA BOREALIS all the way.... WOOOO! What does this MEAN?!

Re:So it is time to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34706592)

Just as soon as leftoids figure out how to spin this as a problem, and where the solution is to give them more power. Then yes, they will declare it time for us to run around like headless chickens. They will make it trendy to do so, and you will follow because you'll have been trained to pleasure yourself with feelings of self-righteousness over it.

Re:So it is time to... (1)

rtyhurst (460717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34707004)

All our base are belong to CME!

*soiling*

Re:So it is time to... (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34708984)

a CME will cause worldwide power outages, cause the end of civilization and generally revert us to either man eating cannibals, savages with funny tattoos and a general like of badly built all terrain vehicles slapped together out of junk or living under a sheet of ice a mile thick after increased solar activity somehow triggers a massive chain reaction that activates new types of particles in the earth's core and causes massive volcanic activity thus blocking out the sun?

I've been waiting for that since I heard about 2012

Re:So it is time to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34709906)

Waving my arms in the air
love, my love, got no care
no care, no, no, pressing my feet to the ground
stand up right where you stand
call to you and what do you do
laying back in a chair?
she's so high on the air

Waving My Arms In The Air/Never Lied To You - Syd Barrett

Re:So it is time to... (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34710260)

if all the transformers on the long range lines get blown at the same time in the northern hemisphere, yeah, the world is not going to end. but it will still be a huge issue to get it all fixed, since there currently is no emergency trip for an incoming flare on most systems

so your comment is funny, but it is just as stupid to have a false sense of complacency as it is to be a false alarmist

Re:So it is time to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34712182)

Start madly flailing our arms in a haphazard way above our heads, screaming about how a CME will cause worldwide power outages, cause the end of civilization and generally revert us to either man eating cannibals, savages with funny tattoos and a general like of badly built all terrain vehicles slapped together out of junk or living under a sheet of ice a mile thick after increased solar activity somehow triggers a massive chain reaction that activates new types of particles in the earth's core and causes massive volcanic activity thus blocking out the sun?

*flails arms madly above head while running in small circles*

or the end of "civilisation" will revert us to the way we were suppose to be??

*sips coffee*

Re:So it is time to... (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34714846)

This is a clear consequence of global warming caused by our over-reliance on fossile fuels!

Re:So it is time to... (1)

rhalstead (1864536) | more than 3 years ago | (#34729028)

I see a lot of joking about the possibility of CMEs and the possible results, but how many making jokes realize that we've been hit glancing blows by CMEs and they did major damage? Look up the power outage in Quebec that was caused by a CME? We lost one major communications satellite that is believed to have been caused by a CME. We've had no real major problems since electronics went solid state except the possibility of that one satellite and the results were not far reaching, OTOH we have lost GPS signals a couple of times, once I believe was for several hours. That doesn't sound like much, but think of being in an airliner operating on today's reduced separation standards with minimum spacing and losing their nav signals. Ground based back up navigation is planned to be eliminated. The Governments and scientific community take the odds, slim as they are, quite seriously. We have two satellites that monitor the sun 24 X 7. One satellite leads the earth in orbit and the other lags. They are far enough apart to be able to see most of the sun's surface. This allows them to fix speed, direction, and mass of CME's. They also should give time enough to shut down the power grids if a major CME were pointed right at us. It's not just a matter of restarting the grid if it fails. with the few transformer spares on hand it could take months to get the entire grid back up and running. The only real way to protect it is to shut it down if a CME were to directly impact Earth. This project, BTW is called Stereo and near real time images are available on the Net. As to the sun's activity which is predicted to be low even at the next peak, major CMEs have been observed during relatively quiet periods of solar activity. Yes the odds are extremely low of us taking a direct hit by a CME, but the odds of catastrophic damage should one hit are extremely high.

sweet. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704854)

I hope we get to see them here in Oregon.

Re:sweet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704898)

I didn't know Oregon had internet yet..

Re:sweet. (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704952)

I recently moved to Anchorage, and I haven't seen them yet. There have only been one or two nights when they came far enough south, and it was cloudy.

But hey, it'll be getting better for the next six years, so I've got time.

Re:sweet. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705386)

Your problem is that you are in Anchorage. As any Alaskan will tell you, the best thing about Anchorage is that it's only 30 minutes from Alaska.

Just slide up the Palmer Highway for a while and look up....

Re:sweet. (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34706048)

Welcome!

You can see the Northern Lights in Anchorage from time to time, but I haven't seen them yet this year. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if that's due to solar (in)activity, terrestrial weather or light pollution. When I first moved to Anchorage ('89), it had the clearest night sky I had ever seen. Over the last few years, though, the night sky has been less and less dramatic as Anchorage has gotten brighter. Now, I can only see the brighter stars from my house, and that can't make it any easier to see the auroras, either. Also, the auroras in Anchorage tend to be darker bluish-green in color, so it can be kind of hard to tell what's cloud and what's aurora from here.

Anyway, good luck -- hope you get to see them soon :)

Re:sweet. (1)

Bryan Bytehead (9631) | more than 3 years ago | (#34706654)

What ColdWetDog said. My kid lives in Wasilla (yep, that one), and he and his wife have managed to get some decent Northern Light shots. I don't even think he's uploaded them anywhere for me to point you to them.

I remember seeing them at 40 in Ohio (just east of Columbus) when I was a kid. My mom got me up at 3AM (because she was up for the day making coffee... Of course, she went to bed at 7PM...)

Re:sweet. (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34714894)

It's hard to see them in Anchorage because of the city lights more than anything. They still show up this far south, but they are much fainter than they are up north, so they get washed out by the city's glow. Head out to Wasilla and you are much more likely to see them. (Girdwood would be great, except the horizon is dominated by the mountains so they have to come really far south in order to see them.)

In Fairbanks you can see them on a regular basis - much smaller city and much further north (Chena Hot Springs is a great spot for a winter vacation, btw).

Re:sweet. (1)

bored_engineer (951004) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705162)

From the article:

. . .could give residents of the continental U.S., southern Europe and Japan the chance to see the northern lights. . .

and,

. . .that with luck, people as far south as Texas might see it.

Japan ranges from 28 to 44 degrees N latitude and Salem is at 44 degrees N latitude. If the light pollution in your area isn't bad, then you may well be able to see the lights when the sun is most active. Or you could move to Fairbanks and see it quite frequently.

Re:sweet. (2)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705734)

Note that the auroras are aligned to the magnetic poles, so you can't just use latitude. As a result, people in places like Ohio are more likely to see them than people in Oregon. Here's a web page with the current conditions: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/pmap/index.html [noaa.gov]

Re:sweet. (1)

bored_engineer (951004) | more than 3 years ago | (#34706038)

Fair enough. The article, though, mentioned that the lights might be visible as far south as Texas, and also mentioned visibility in Japan. Japan and the north pole are at about 160 degrees apart. (The north pole is about 114W, while Osaka is at 135E.) Salem is at 135W, just 20 degrees off the magnetic north pole, and moving west as we speak [slashdot.org] . If it's visible in Japan, it should be visible in Oregon.

Re:sweet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34707880)

... weather permitting :)

Re:sweet. (1)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | more than 3 years ago | (#34708048)

The claim that they will be visible in Japan seems far fetched to me. According to NOAA's website (http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/Aurora/index.html) Tokyo is at 29 degrees magnetic latitude. Northern Japan is about 10 degrees north of that (call in 40 degrees). NOAA's tables only go down to 45 degrees.
According to NOAA's North American map, Salem Oregon should be able to see anything above a Kp=8 (which is pretty rare).
Note that TFA just says that activity is going up as part of the 11-ish year cycle. It doesn't say that this cycle will be bigger than the last one, so if you couldn't see them 5 years ago you probably see them this time either.

Whoa! You mean the solar cycle is real!?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704954)

OK, the fine article notices the trend -- the current solar cycle is starting from it's minimum, and is heading toward a maximum.

Unfortunately, it misses the fact that the magnitude of the current cycle is well below historical norms, and is below predictions
as seen in the current sunspot trends: see http://www.solarcycle24.com/sunspots.htm

Right direction, just badly off on predicted magnitude and likelihood....

End of Daze Mayan calendar (1)

ceCA (675081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704986)

Bu the world isn't supposed to end until 12-21-2012. Damn I think I see the four horsemen over the horizon. Daze is not a spelling error !!!

I'll believe it... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704990)

When I see it. I'll lay down harder money that we're entering a new solar minimum, SS counts are low, we've even had months with 0 sunspots in the last year and a half. I'll lay down that we're entering another phase on par with the dalton minimum.

Re:I'll believe it... (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34715006)

I don't know if you know this, but solar storms don't correlate strongly with sun spots.

Solar flares seem to be more likely during periods of high sun spot activity, but 0 sun spots does not mean 0 solar flares. It just means it's not quite as likely.

Case in point, in August there were four large CME's associated with just one sun spot. Sun Spots are usually around when CME's occur, but they are bad predictors of such things, so I wouldn't lay down "harder" money (whatever that is).

Just a few observations... (5, Informative)

VoiceOfSanity (716713) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705064)

The key word there in that article is *could* give residents the chance to see the aurora. If you look at the chart on the Solar Cycle Progression and Prediction webpage (http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/) then you'll notice that the predicted sunspot activity and the actual activity are still very far apart. Additionally, the predicted maximum sunspot number is going to be well below the past two cycles (1991 hitting a sunspot number of 147, and 200/2001 hitting a high of 120. For this cycle, they're predicting a high of only 90 for the sunspot number, a level that hasn't been that low since the 1880's.

So while it is possible that folks south of 45 degrees latitude might see the aurora, it'll have to be courtesy of a really strong CME (coronal mass ejection) aimed in our general direction. Otherwise, it'll probably be a rather boring solar cycle 24.

Re:Just a few observations... (4, Informative)

Troed (102527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705346)

Yeah and that 90 has recently been lowered as well, we're down to a guesstimated 64: http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/predict.shtml [nasa.gov]

Re:Just a few observations... (1)

Xelios (822510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705616)

You're right, it's just not the same without Jack Bauer...

Re:Just a few observations... (2)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 3 years ago | (#34706072)

"COULD..." yes, something to keep in mind as I comtemplate whether to go outside the city (SF bay area) to possibly observe (but fat chance, it's raining). I have heard photos and video doesn't really show true appearance of auroras. I were to see any I'll take some video.

I had a physics instructor describe while she was working on her PhD, she was with a team of physicists flying in airplanes near the poles. One team was north, the other south. Auroras appear on one pole then disappear, 20 minutes later they appear on the opposite pole as the particles bounce back and forth between the poles. This was back in 1970s, don't know what has been learned since.

Re:Just a few observations... (1)

NetNed (955141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34707382)

They predicted the same thing this last summer, though it was only for a week. They said that the northern light would be visible much further south then normal. Was in northern Michigan and saw nothing in the week that I was there, even setting a alarm to wake up at times they said the lights would be visible.

Was a little maddening since I had told others that they would be visible.

Re:Just a few observations... (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34715048)

If you were in a moderately sized city you'd never see it.

We get aurora on a regular basis here in Anchorage (southeast Alaska), but the city lights (300k people) drown out all but the strongest aurora.

You might have been able to see one if you had been out in a field in the middle of nowhere, but if you were anywhere near a big city, forget it.

Saw Northern Lights 50 years ago in Greenville, SC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34705078)

I'm 64 now but when I was about 10 in Greenville, South Carolina, I saw what I thought was a beautiful glowing UFO of many colors back of my house.
I called to my dad to see and he said it was northern lights. That was the only time. Maybe soon, I'll see them again.

Aurora Borealis (2)

screwzloos (1942336) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705084)

Having lived in interior Alaska my entire life, I can say that the northern lights are one of the least interesting large scale natural events out there. Compared to something like a nice sunset, torrential rain, or even a clear starry night, it's really not exciting. The photographs you can find about them are usually rather long exposure times, and even on the "best" nights what you see with your naked eye is no more than a green haze.

Then again, fireworks or flashing lights don't excite me either. Maybe it just takes a certain type of person to like that kind of thing.

Re:Aurora Borealis (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 3 years ago | (#34706710)

Depends on how close to a metro area you are. In most cities the light pollution drowns out most of the northern lights (aside from that green haze), but on a clear night in the countryside the northern lights are stunningly awesome.

Having lived in Canada my entire life (and never within 100mi of the border), the northern lights are one of my favourite natural phenomenon.

Re:Aurora Borealis (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34707210)

I live in Alaska about 30 minutes from Anchorage. Unfortunately I am in a downtown area of a town and have a nice big and bright Fred Myers parking lot 400 yards away. It is my second year in Alaska and have yet to see them. When I go on vacation in the summer it never gets dark enough to see them. When it does it is freezing and winter outside already.

Re:Aurora Borealis (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34715066)

Compared to something like a nice sunset, torrential rain, or even a clear starry night, it's really not exciting.

I hope you realize someone who lives in south Florida would likely hold the exact opposite position.

It's nothing to you, but that doesn't mean it's nothing to everybody else. I find snow to be the least interesting large scale natural event myself, yet people in Mississippi scream for joy when they get snow for Christmas.

You should probably get a little perspective, and think about what people who have never seen such things might think.

What solar activity??? (1)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705100)

The sun had shown a few sunspots last week... but it isn't doing anything this week.

Space Weather [spaceweather.com]

Re:What solar activity??? (1)

Nick Number (447026) | more than 3 years ago | (#34710132)

I have it on good authority [wikimedia.org] that there's a little black spot on the sun today.

Could? (1)

heptapod (243146) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705120)

It could snow tomorrow. It could rain tomorrow. The sun was supposed to enter a period of high activity in the past two years [nasa.gov] and it doesn't appear to be coming around to it anytime soon.
Bogus filler article. One would expect that we would be grazed by a CME and have low latitude aurorae in the near future but this simply states that it could happen.

Aurora Equatis? (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705232)

In the Northern hemisphere it's Aurora Borealis. In the Southern hemisphere it's Aurora Australis. What's it called when it hits the lower latitudes closer to the Equator?

Re:Aurora Equatis? (1)

IceFoot (256699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705368)

Well, I suppose we could call it Aurora Equatorialis.

Re:Aurora Equatis? (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705380)

Aurora Boreaustralis.

Re:Aurora Equatis? (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705428)

In the Northern hemisphere it's Aurora Borealis. In the Southern hemisphere it's Aurora Australis. What's it called when it hits the lower latitudes closer to the Equator?

An acid trip.

Re:Aurora Equatis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34707914)

In the Northern hemisphere it's Aurora Borealis. In the Southern hemisphere it's Aurora Australis. What's it called when it hits the lower latitudes closer to the Equator?

...cancer?

Re:Aurora Equatis? (1)

Kentari (1265084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34708636)

Either still Aurora Borealis or Aurora Australis or just Aurora, as it is called when discussing the phenomenon in general. Even during the record breaking geomagnetic storms of 1859 (observations as far south as Hawaii, Cuba, Mexico) and 1989 (Texas) it did not reach the equator. There is little point in coining a new name for something that has never occured before and hopefully never will. The visual show would be very impressive and I wouldn't want to miss it, but the damage to the electrical grid and other systems would be enormous.

Free aurora alerts and other spacey links (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34705442)

I posted this earlier, figured this was an appropriate thread to post it again with some additions:

If you want a warning when auroras are likely to be occurring (so you can scurry outside and look), check out the NOAA's SWPC mailing lists [noaa.gov] . Go for the K-Index lists, and sign up for all those that apply for your location.

To figure out which minimum k-index results in visible aurora from your location, check out this helpful page [berkeley.edu] ; just enter in your latitude and longitude, and it'll give you your "magnetic latitude"; match that up with a k-index using the table, and you know which mailing lists to sign up for.

If your phone does email, you can get the alerts anywhere; if your phone doesn't but your provider has an email-to-sms gateway, you could just forward emails for the same effect. :)

Additional links:

  • Spaceweather.com [spaceweather.com] has a similar service that they charge money for (and likely gets the data from NOAA list anyways), but that does work if you need alerts on the phone and can't get them through email. They also have news posts and images whenever a large geomagnetic storm rolls around.
  • NOAA's 3-day estimated Kp-index [noaa.gov] has the current Kp index and the last 3 days'
  • CSSDP's real-time aurora oval [cssdp.ca] is one of the most accurate current images of the aurora over Earth, showing roughly where it's visible and how strong (assuming perfect skies); green is weakest
  • NOAA's Aurora Oval [noaa.gov] is similar

UN summit for this (1)

kentsin (225902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705528)

So if enough people talk about this, there shall be one

Why nobody come up with technology to restore the north pole, force the northern light back ?

The north pole is changing! Every things is changing, Climate is changing ????

In related news... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705600)

recently discovered tropical plants, named triffids, are being the new hot trend all across America and Europe.

Re:In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34707366)

Obscurity doesn't make up for general unfunniness.

Redundant (3, Insightful)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705672)

Couldn't this be posted every 11 years as the solar cycle ramps up towards its peak?

Re:Redundant (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705898)

Pretty much. I was hoping for a "giant CME sends cosmic solar bukakke towards earth, light show imminent!" instead we got "solar activity increasing, says scientists. Also, water levels near coast rising, falling on some sort of odd interval and schedule..."

Re:Redundant (2)

Sean_Inconsequential (1883900) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705992)

In other news, the recent lunar eclipse happened during a full moon.

Re:Redundant (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34706630)

:)

Science Fiction (3, Informative)

jasnw (1913892) | more than 3 years ago | (#34706018)

This article is just so much fluff and nonsense wrapped around a little factual info. I've been in the business of space weather since the early 1970s, and this kind of sky-is-falling stuff flares up towards the front end of each solar cycle and then dies off as the sky remains stubbornly in place. Yes, we're headed into a time of increased activity, but so slowly that we may be in for a real "dud" solar cycle. Unless things start picking up soon, we may be lucky to see aurora as far south as Oregon. That said, everything could change completely in a few months. The point is that the kind of prediction made in TFA is impossible to make at this point in the cycle, and to make a big deal out of a completely unfounded prediction is both bad science and very unprofessional. This is not the fault of the poor fellow mentioned in TFA (Joe Kunches, whom I know), but of the flack who wrote this thing.

Re:Science Fiction - Mod UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34706282)

Why in the hell is the parent not a score 5?
Mod UP! jasnw hit the nail on the head.
Slashdot's mod system really sucks.

CQ CQ CQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34706034)

CQ DX CQ DX CQ DX

Re:CQ CQ CQ (1)

sv_libertarian (1317837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34706272)

Now there you go posting that without your call. KF7MJF

Re:CQ CQ CQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34707076)

Some callsigns (maybe many) along with the owner's name and address are freely available on online databases, which is why I don't post mine.

Re:CQ CQ CQ (1)

sv_libertarian (1317837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34707558)

Fair enough. Actually all US calls are available via the FCC, and then through several other databases that just regurgitate the FCC. It's annoying to be sure. But I hope band conditions keep improving. I got a bit obsessed with 10m before I got my General ticket, and I'm still annoyed at how closed it is. Of course now I have more stuff to work, but damnit I want ten to open up on sheer principle.

Alternatively (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#34706148)

So could also a catastrophic geomagnetic reversal(*).

(*) The Australian Tourist Board is currently funding feasibility studies in order to increase the number of visitors to the southern (soon to be renamed "northern") hemisphere.

Hmm, isn't this how... (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 3 years ago | (#34707026)

The Day of The Triffids started?

1985 Solar Flares (1)

protektor (63514) | more than 3 years ago | (#34707610)

I thought NASA was at one point worried that two different cycles of the sun were going to hit at the same time. I also thought they had been saying that the low cycle was unusually long. Which made them worry about how far it could snap back in the other direction. Kind of like a rubber band or how no tremors for long periods make earthquakes worse because they don't let off that energy and instead store it and suddenly release it.

As long as we don't have a repeat of 1859 then I am ok with whatever happens.
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/090902-1859-solar-storm.html [space.com]
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/06may_carringtonflare/ [nasa.gov]

Another storm like that in this modern electronic age would be a nightmare.

Light Pollution Overrated-- Auroras Unpredictable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34707870)

In the early 1990s I clearly saw auroras from the middle of the Michigan State University campus, in a small US metro area of a few hundred thousand people at 42 degrees latitude (although the north magnetic pole is in North America, making the magnetic latitude higher). They aren't particularly faint. And you can see the Milky Way faintly from there too if you're not standing under a light. The astronomy people are always bitching about minor amounts of light pollution-- so much so that they risk turning off all the potential viewers. It's quite common to see the Milky Way from urban areas, as long as you aren't in the middle of Manhattan. The most important thing is to minimize glare from lights in the immediate neighborhood-- look for someplace dark and stand there for several minutes to let your eyes adjust to the low light. Bring a blanket if you live in a colder climate like I do. You can easily see a thousand or more stars in the sky, down to 4.5 or 5.0 magnitude, in places where I've seen professional astronomers claim are too light polluted. A limit of 5.5 or better is common in rural areas in populated parts of the country.

Geomagnetic storms and the power grid (1)

grandpa-geek (981017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34711724)

Geomagnetic storms cause DC ground currents in power grid transformers. The currents magnetically saturate the transformer cores and result in both overheating of the power system equipment and power quality problems that affect end user equipment. In the last round of geomagnetic storms (late 1980's to early 1990's) power grid transformers were damaged as far south as New Jersey. One fix discussed at that time was to switch nonlinear resistors into the transformer ground connections to limit the DC currents.

Another problem that accompanies the geomagnetic storms is disruption of wireline communications that is used for SCADA connections between field devices and control centers. Thus, just as the control centers most need to know what is happening in substations, they are blinded by the same conditions that are causing damage to the substation equipment. Transition from wireline to fiber optics can mitigate that issue.

Geomagnetic storms are a serious threat to grid reliability. Early warning is important (e.g., through satellite monitoring of solar activity), as are steps to mitigate the effects and prevent damage to equipment.

Yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34711788)

I saw some really beautiful and bright northern lights driving home from work in north swe, haven't really seen them lately that much. I remember many years ago they were quite common place, glad they are back!

2012 could be "2012" then (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 3 years ago | (#34712502)

If the storms are strong enough to fry a few com-sats and electric grids. The 1859 super-storm would have seriously tested our technology. The only significant use of electric grids was the early telegraphs then.

Simpsons anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34716260)

Awesome, maybe now I can blame a kitchen fire on really being Aurora Borealis.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...