What does the Magnetosphere Simulation tell us?

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posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 04:56 PM
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There is a lot of interest in the Real-time Magnetosphere Simulator located here
www2.nict.go.jp...

It provides data from the ACE satellite and pretty pictures of a computer simulation which calculates the effects of the data on our magnetosphere. Unfortunately, it provides very little indication of what any of it means.

It's helpful to look at the actual data used for the simulation. The pressure on the magnetosphere is a function of two things; the speed of the solar wind and the density of the solar wind. These factors can be seen on the graphs below the pressure representation. Right now the speed of the wind is quite low (~350kps), indicating low energy levels. The density, the number of particles in the wind, is reasonably high. Notice that the speed is quite steady but the density fluctuates quite a bit. Those fluctuations are what is causing the simulator to show fluctuations in pressure. Imagine it like someone gently throwing handfuls of sand at a balloon. A small handful of sand doesn't do much to the balloon but a large handful, thrown at the same speed will have a larger effect.

In itself, pressure has little to do with geomagnetic activity. The shape of the bow wave and the pressure on it don't tell us much. A geomagnetic storm is a complicated affair, involving a number of factors one of them being the polarity of the solar wind and its relationship to the polarity of the Earth's magnetic field. To find out more about this we need to look at more of the raw data. The Magnetic Field Vectors tell us about the North-South alignment of the solar wind. These are the Bz and By data streams. Under "normal" conditions these vectors are quite stable, gently fluctuating a bit and occasionally switching polarity. It is when these changes get wild take on a southern orientation and the solar wind increases in both speed and density that it is likely we will experience a geomagnetic storm.

On June 24 of this year, we experienced a minor geomagnetic storm (didn't hear much about it did you?) Here is an animation from the simulator for that day. Notice that when the storm hits at about 15:00GMT the speed and density suddenly increase. Notice also that the Bz and By values go wild. Again, to put things into perspective, this was a minor event. In a major storm all of these data streams are going to be doing a lot more than what we see here.
Movie

Another thing to remember is that this is a real time simulation. It tells us what is happening now, it is not a forecast. As you can see in the movie above, the onset of a solar storm is quite sudden. When it happens, it happens. There really aren't any precursors. In a destructive geomagnetic storm, we'll lose power at the same time the simulator is saying "uh,oh".

[edit on 7/7/2009 by Phage]




posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 05:06 PM
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Thank you Phage for the information here!! I have come to find your one of the few members I really trust on here with this kind of information!
You have not only taught me alot about the effects and how the magnetosphere works, but how it will effect us here on Earth, humans vs machine effects that is.. (As not to be confused with EMP effects ect.)

So I will be watching for your posts and threads on anything that concerns solar storms and the likes!


Phage, Teaching science on ATS since 2008


[edit on 7-7-2009 by zysin5]



posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 05:09 PM
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Phage is one of the few people here whos oppinion i respect.

Look at the spaceweather site They just posted an x-class flare at 7/07 17:00



posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 05:15 PM
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reply to post by Wertdagf
 


No.
There was a class A-9 event, which is a very low level event, not even classified as a flare.
There was just a B-1 flare, as a matter of fact.


[edit on 7/7/2009 by Phage]



posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 05:22 PM
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reply to post by Phage
 


Thanks for keeping us straight Phage - I about fell off my chair when he said X level!

Also, thanks for contributing your knowledge, I am learning more every minute!



posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 05:28 PM
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reply to post by Julie Washington
 


I will second that, I went to the spaceweather site and instead of reading the xray flare for today I just read the title and thought we where all doomed (idiot me.) I came back here to take advice from Phage and realised straight away my error.
So indeed thank you Phage I love the way you make it all so easy, you are a blessing. Peace



posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 12:28 AM
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S & F!! Excellent info, as always Phage.

I do have 2 questions for you though. We certainly saw some activity of some sort with our magnetosphere today:



However we did not see really ANY activity in the actual Kp readings from the Magnetometer:





1) Do these two things even have anything to do with one another?

2) Does this mean that our magnetosphere is working in tip-top order, doing what it's supposed to, and that other claims that there are "hole's in it" or problems there of are false?


Thanks for all of your knowledge and insight, as well as your level-headed and fact driven approach to issues and data, which you share with us here on ATS.

[edit on 8-7-2009 by Paroxysm]

[edit on 8-7-2009 by Paroxysm]



posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 12:58 AM
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reply to post by Paroxysm
 

I have to start with a disclaimer. The interactions of the solar wind and the magnetosphere are very complex. I don't have the tools for a full understanding but I do have a grasp of the fundamentals.

For some reason the 17:37 simulator run doesn't show in the archive but the one from 17:28 is pretty close to the same situation. At that time there was a bump up in solar wind density that accounts for the increase in pressure. You can see in successive runs that as the density again decreases, so does the pressure. Notice also that the velocity has been showing a slow but steady decline. I would expect that we might see a couple more brief bumps over the next day or so due to the sporadic flares we've been seen during the decline of activity of our Group (which seems to have woken up a bit in the past few hours).

The Kp readings are not tied very closely to the solar wind density or speed. As you can see in the data for the Magnetic Field Vectors, the magnetic orientation of the solar wind has been quite stable. This part is tricky but as I understand it, it takes a fairly strong southern orientation of the By component to produce much in the way of geomagnetic effects. In any case the amount of fluctuation in both components has been minimal. It's that fluctuation that seems to get the magnetosphere riled up. That's why the Kp levels have been low.

Our magnetosphere is doing what it does, deflecting the solar wind. The harder the wind pushes, the harder the magnetosphere pushes back. That's why the pressure increases and the magnetosphere will always win. A huge solar event does not "strike" Earth, it strikes the magnetosphere. In defense (to be poetic) the magnetosphere creates the disturbances which can cause huge problems for us.

The "holes" which occur are not really holes through the magnetosphere. They are more like tunnels into the magnetosphere which allow the charged particles of the solar wind to penetrate to areas that they can't normally reach. These areas are thousands of miles above the surface of the Earth and the "holes" pose no direct danger. But...if one of them happens to form at the same time as a good sized event on the Sun, the additional charged particles could enhance the processes which lead to geomagnetic storms and kick it up a notch or two.

This climb up to Solar Maximum is going to be really interesting. We've got tools up there that we've never had before. We're going to be learning a lot.


[edit on 7/8/2009 by Phage]



posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 01:11 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 


Interesting stuff. Can you expand on the "tools" that we have up there now that we never had a few years ago?

My knowledge on whats up there and its purpose is limited.

cheers. G.



posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 01:21 AM
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reply to post by grantbeed
 

The THEMIS satellites, the very ones that revealed the existence of the "holes".


There is also ACE. It was launched in 1997 just after the last solar minimum.

[edit on 7/8/2009 by Phage]



posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 01:54 AM
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Phage, can you explain what this chart tells us?

www.swpc.noaa.gov...

Thanks for sharing your knowledge.



posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 02:21 AM
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reply to post by Julie Washington
 

Sure.
A solar flare emits x-rays in all directions. This chart tells us the level of x-ray radiation coming from the Sun. Since sunspot 1024 is really the only likely source of these x-rays, it is apparent that it has become a bit more active in the past few hours (as I pointed out in the post above). We've been seeing very sporadic activity over the past 5 or 6 hours. But a B-2 flare is nothing to write home (or worry) about. There actually seems to have been a bit of physical growth of the group as well.



posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 02:30 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 

Thank you for the real-time Magnetosphere Simulation page Phage.
Hey that rhymed lmao.



posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 02:56 AM
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Originally posted by Phage
reply to post by Paroxysm
 

I have to start with a disclaimer. The interactions of the solar wind and the magnetosphere are very complex. I don't have the tools for a full understanding but I do have a grasp of the fundamentals.


Thank you for your insight. Your "grasp of the fundamentals" seems to be much greater than mine, as well as most of the other members of ATS.

I have another question/thought.
In the event of a true "extreme solar storm", be it geomagnetic, or Radio Blackouts; what biological harm might be expected to human, animal, and plant life if left exposed during such conditions??
Is there any recorded evidence of this from history?

Here is what NOAA states the effects of/during an Extreme event will be (but no mention of any possible biological harm):
www.swpc.noaa.gov...


Geomagnetic Storms

G 5

Extreme

Power systems: : widespread voltage control problems and protective system problems can occur, some grid systems may experience complete collapse or blackouts. Transformers may experience damage. Spacecraft operations: may experience extensive surface charging, problems with orientation, uplink/downlink and tracking satellites. Other systems: pipeline currents can reach hundreds of amps, HF (high frequency) radio propagation may be impossible in many areas for one to two days, satellite navigation may be degraded for days, low-frequency radio navigation can be out for hours, and aurora has been seen as low as Florida and southern Texas (typically 40° geomagnetic lat.).

Kp = 9




Radio Blackouts

R 5

Extreme

HF Radio:Complete HF (high frequency**) radio blackout on the entire sunlit side of the Earth lasting for a number of hours. This results in no HF radio contact with mariners and en route aviators in this sector. Navigation: Low-frequency navigation signals used by maritime and general aviation systems experience outages on the sunlit side of the Earth for many hours, causing loss in positioning. Increased satellite navigation errors in positioning for several hours on the sunlit side of Earth, which may spread into the night side.

X20 (2 x 10-3)



posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 03:04 AM
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reply to post by Paroxysm
 

Oh boy. This is a can of worms I'm not too interested in opening and it's not really on topic but I'll say this. There is research which indicates some correlation with geomagnetic activity and biological processes. So far, no one has come up with a mechanism to account for the correlation. No one can say how it happens. And it should be remembered that "correlation does not imply causation".



posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 03:16 AM
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Fair enough.

That one did take a bit of a left turn off course.

So let us return to our discussion of the magnetosphere.



posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 03:17 AM
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thanks Phage! Always wondered what the heck I'm I looking at?!...


My only question would be .. why do we see the trails in the sim drop off so quickly and are very elongated while other are not??



posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 03:33 AM
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reply to post by Komodo
 

Are you talking about the magnetic field simulation? That's more complicated and there's quite a bit I don't really understand about it (because they don't tell us a damn thing about it). But I really have to get to sleep. I'll see if I can put some of it together tomorrow.



posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 04:18 AM
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Cool topic Phage.

I just dropped in to provide this link I have on favorites now:

www2.nict.go.jp...

These are actually movies of the data, and they give you a better impression of how all the data changes. I think single screen shots don't show the complete picture.

The data for 7/7/09 is now up Click Here To Load. Just another normal day.


[edit on 8-7-2009 by 0nce 0nce]



posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 07:00 AM
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reply to post by Paroxysm
 


magnetosphere activity on 7/7...

CC of 7/7 magnetosphere...

no correlation at all is there as you so adamantly stated on the other thread..





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