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SCI/TECH: Solar Fireworks Signal New Space Weather Mystery

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posted on May, 27 2005 @ 10:54 AM
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Anyone who has taken a class in basic Astronomy will remember that the Sun is believed to have an 11-year cycle of activity. In the peak years solar flares and the accompanying violent burst of radiation of several types, and hence geo-magnetic storms, are more frequent and more violent. In "off years," scientists expect far fewer and much milder flares. No mechanism has been theorized to actually preclude violent flares in off years, but statistically it has long been observed as highly unlikely. In the last couple years, however, the "unlikely" has been uncommonly frequent! The latest came early this year when the cycle "ought to be" winding down to a minimum.
 



www.spacedaily.com
The most intense burst of solar radiation in five decades accompanied a large solar flare on January 20. It shook space weather theory and highlighted the need for new forecasting techniques, according to several presentations at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting this week in New Orleans.

The solar flare, which occurred at 2 a.m. EST, tripped radiation monitors all over the planet and scrambled detectors on spacecraft. The shower of energetic protons came minutes after the first sign of the flare.

"This flare produced the largest solar radiation signal on the ground in nearly 50 years," said Dr. Richard Mewaldt of the California Institute of Technology. He is a co-investigator on NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


We "should be" experencing few solar particle storms now, as the last "solar maximum" years were 2001-2002. See the included URL to the National Oceanic & Oceanographic Administration graph of the current "Solar Cycle 23." Instead, we have just gotten the "mother of solar storms!"

While terrestrial damage due to this one was slight, previous solar flares have been responsible for problems ranging from damaged satellites to power-grid outages. But the danger posed to human space activity is perhaps the most serious. In literally breaking the record for the speed in which the nuclear particle storm reached earth, scientists say any attempts to warn astronauts to "take cover" were impossible.

The normal time it takes a proton storm to hit earth is about 2 hours after the flare is first observed. The 20th January, 2005 flare sent it's potentially deadly blast to earth in just 15 minutes. But the unusual speed is not the only observation about this one that has solar physicists questioning a number of their currently-held beliefs about how solar storms work.

Related News Links:
www.sec.noaa.gov
en.wikipedia.org




posted on May, 27 2005 @ 01:53 PM
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I wonder if there is a second, longer solar cycle that is
just now coming to light.

I don't think we're even sure of the underlying mechanics of the 11 year cycle. Lots to understand..



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 02:18 PM
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Well, we do have the technology to entangle some protons, I believe, which would be instantaneous communication, so that problem is easy to solve

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'Spooky action at a distance'
By Peter N. Spotts | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

"His team advanced that prospect by using a laser to entangle atoms in two containers a few millimeters apart. His team gathered cesium atoms and confined them in a pair of glass containers. Each held a trillion atoms"

www.csmonitor.com...
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Now about the cycle, maybe something happens where it keeps going every 10,000 years and those are like little waves in an interval of something larger that happens from end-to-end of the 10,000 year little waves.

? hmmm



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 07:31 PM
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I don't think we know enough about the Sun to know whether it can be charterized as a linear system--and thus be predictable, or whether it is basically non-linear (chaotic) and thus unpredictable.

In all the years I've been reading about the Sun's activity it has always seemed to me to be both.

[edit on 27-5-2005 by Astronomer68]



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