Tag Archives: solar flare

Solar storm activates global aurora on Mars

The strong solar flare that occurred earlier this month was strong enough to activate a global aurora on Mars.

The solar event on Sept. 11, 2017 sparked a global aurora at Mars more than 25 times brighter than any previously seen by the MAVEN orbiter, which has been studying the Martian atmosphere’s interaction with the solar wind since 2014. It produced radiation levels on the surface more than double any previously measured by the Curiosity rover’s Radiation Assessment Detector, or RAD, since that mission’s landing in 2012. The high readings lasted more than two days.

Strangely, it occurred in conjunction with a spate of solar activity during what is usually a quiet period in the Sun’s 11-year sunspot and storm-activity cycle. This event was big enough to be detected at Earth too, even though Earth was on the opposite side of the Sun from Mars.

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The first of two coronal mass ejectors from a solar flare has arrived.

An alert has been issued so that the electrical grids can been properly prepared to avoid damage by the impact of these two coronal mass ejections (CME) against the Earth’s magnetic field.

The first of the two CMEs predicted to arrive today made its appearance right on time. G1 ((Minor) geomagnetic storming is expected to begin within the next few hours with a maximum projected level of G2 (Moderate) storms for September 12th. A G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm Watch is still in effect for September 13th due to the combined influence of this CME and the one projected to arrive late on the 12th. G1 (Minor) storming is likely to continue into September 14th. In addition, the S1 (Minor) solar radiation storm that is in progress as a result of the eruption on September 10th is expected to persist for the next few days with a possible slight increase with the arrival of the CMEs. Keep in mind that the forecast periods listed are in Universal Time so aurora watchers in the northern U.S. should be looking for possible activity tonight through Saturday night.

While there has been a lot of fear-mongering about these two CMEs, I expect that the only consequences we will see from both, the biggest to hit the Earth during this solar maximum, will be the possibility that the northern lights might be visible in places farther south than normal.

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Orbital Sciences has scrubbed today’s launch of Cygnus due to the major solar flare that occurred yesterday.

Orbital Sciences has scrubbed today’s launch of Cygnus due to the major solar flare that occurred yesterday.

“Early this morning the Antares launch team decided to scrub today’s launch attempt due to an unusually high level of space radiation that exceeded by a considerable margin the constraints imposed on the mission to ensure the rocket’s electronic systems are not impacted by a harsh radiation environment,” Orbital Sciences officials said in a statement today.

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The Sun has emitted a big flare, and a coronal mass ejection from this is expected to hit the Earth on Saturday.

Chicken Little report: The Sun has emitted a big flare, and a coronal mass ejection from this is expected to hit the Earth on Saturday.

There will be some gnashing of teeth about this flare, but in truth, this sentence says it all:

The radiation storm, in progress, ranks “S1” on NOAA space weather scales, which means it poses no serious threat to satellites or astronauts.

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The biggest solar storm to be aimed at the Earth in seven years is expected to reach us by Tuesday.

The biggest coronal mass ejection to be aimed at the Earth in seven years is expected to reach us by Tuesday.

No need to panic. Not only is the storm still relatively mild compared to past eruptions, the airline and electrical industries are actually well prepared for this event. However, if you want to see the aurora, this will probably be a good opportunity.

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