Tag: solar flare (page 1 of 2)

The sun unleashes its biggest flare of the year

Excerpt from dailytimes.com.pk

The sun has unleashed its most powerful flare of the year causing radio blackouts throughout the Pacific region.

The enormous X-class solar flare peaked at 6:11pm ET yesterday from a sunspot called Active Region 2339 (AR2339).

Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation that, when intense enough, can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel - and scientists say they could get more powerful in the future.

This latest flare is classified as an X2.7. X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength.

Despite the recent radio blackouts, scientists say the flare is unlikely to cause any further major issues here on Earth.

‘Given the impulsive nature of this event, as well as the source location on the eastern limb of the sun, we are not expecting a radiation storm at Earth,’ scientists with the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) in Boulder, Colorado.

‘We will be on the lookout for new imagery from the Nasa Soho [Solar and Heliospheric Observatory] mission to determine if there was an associated coronal mass ejection (CME) with this event,’ they added.

‘Given the same logic above, however, we do not expect there to be one that would impact Earth.’

Yesterday Kazunari Shibata, an astrophysicist from Kyoto University in Japan, said the sun has the potential to unleash a flare of such a magnitude that it would be larger than anything humans have ever seen.

At the Space Weather Workshop in Colorado, Shibata said ‘superflares,’ that contain energy 1,000 times larger than what we have seen could be on their way.

He said there is evidence of this happening every 800 to 5,000 years on Earth,

Scientists say such a solar ‘super-storm’ would pose a ‘catastrophic’ and ‘long-lasting’ threat to life on Earth.

A superflare would induce huge surges of electrical currents in the ground and in overhead transmission lines, causing widespread power outages and severely damaging critical electrical components.

The largest ever solar super-storm on record occurred in 1859 and is known as the Carrington Event, named after the English astronomer Richard Carrington who spotted the preceding solar flare.

This massive CME released about 1022 kJ of energy - the equivalent to 10 billion Hiroshima bombs exploding at the same time - and hurled around a trillion kilos of charged particles towards the Earth at speeds of up to 3000 km/s.

However, its impact on the human population was relatively benign as our electronic infrastructure at the time amounted to no more than about 124,000 miles (200,000 km) of telegraph lines.

Nasa has also released incredible footage showing the sun unleashing a huge lick of plasma that increased the star’s visible hemisphere by almost half.

The solar filament, which exploded on April 28 and 29, was suspended above the sun due to strong magnetic fields that pushed outwards.

Solar astronomers around the world had their eyes on this unusually large filament and kept track as it erupted.

Nasa’s animation involves images taken from the orbiting Solar and Heliospheric Observatory using its Large Angle Spectrometric Coronagraph.

The diameter of the animation is about 30 million miles (45 million km) at the distance of the sun, or half of the diameter of the orbit of Mercury.

The white circle in the centre of the round disk represents the size of the sun, which is being blocked by the telescope in order to see the fainter material around it.

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The New American Dream ~ The Case for Colonizing Mars

Excerpt from Ad Astra

by Robert Zubrin

Mars Is The New World

Among extraterrestrial bodies in our solar system, Mars is singular in that it possesses all the raw materials required to support not only life, but a new branch of human civilization. This uniqueness is illustrated most clearly if we contrast Mars with the Earth's Moon, the most frequently cited alternative location for extraterrestrial human colonization.

In contrast to the Moon, Mars is rich in carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen, all in biologically readily accessible forms such as carbon dioxide gas, nitrogen gas, and water ice and permafrost. Carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen are only present on the Moon in parts per million quantities, much like gold in seawater. Oxygen is abundant on the Moon, but only in tightly bound oxides such as silicon dioxide (SiO2), ferrous oxide (Fe2O3), magnesium oxide (MgO), and aluminum oxide (Al2O3), which require very high energy processes to reduce.

The Moon is also deficient in about half the metals of interest to industrial society (copper, for example), as well as many other elements of interest such as sulfur and phosphorus. Mars has every required element in abundance. Moreover, on Mars, as on Earth, hydrologic and volcanic processes have occurred that are likely to have consolidated various elements into local concentrations of high-grade mineral ore. Indeed, the geologic history of Mars has been compared to that of Africa, with very optimistic inferences as to its mineral wealth implied as a corollary. In contrast, the Moon has had virtually no history of water or volcanic action, with the result that it is basically composed of trash rocks with very little differentiation into ores that represent useful concentrations of anything interesting.

You can generate power on either the Moon or Mars with solar panels, and here the advantages of the Moon's clearer skies and closer proximity to the Sun than Mars roughly balances the disadvantage of large energy storage requirements created by the Moon's 28-day light-dark cycle. But if you wish to manufacture solar panels, so as to create a self-expanding power base, Mars holds an enormous advantage, as only Mars possesses the large supplies of carbon and hydrogen needed to produce the pure silicon required for producing photovoltaic panels and other electronics. In addition, Mars has the potential for wind-generated power while the Moon clearly does not. But both solar and wind offer relatively modest power potential — tens or at most hundreds of kilowatts here or there. To create a vibrant civilization you need a richer power base, and this Mars has both in the short and medium term in the form of its geothermal power resources, which offer potential for large numbers of locally created electricity generating stations in the 10 MW (10,000 kilowatt) class. In the long-term, Mars will enjoy a power-rich economy based upon exploitation of its large domestic resources of deuterium fuel for fusion reactors. Deuterium is five times more common on Mars than it is on Earth, and tens of thousands of times more common on Mars than on the Moon.

But the biggest problem with the Moon, as with all other airless planetary bodies and proposed artificial free-space colonies, is that sunlight is not available in a form useful for growing crops. A single acre of plants on Earth requires four megawatts of sunlight power, a square kilometer needs 1,000 MW. The entire world put together does not produce enough electrical power to illuminate the farms of the state of Rhode Island, that agricultural giant. Growing crops with electrically generated light is just economically hopeless. But you can't use natural sunlight on the Moon or any other airless body in space unless you put walls on the greenhouse thick enough to shield out solar flares, a requirement that enormously increases the expense of creating cropland. Even if you did that, it wouldn't do you any good on the Moon, because plants won't grow in a light/dark cycle lasting 28 days.

But on Mars there is an atmosphere thick enough to protect crops grown on the surface from solar flare. Therefore, thin-walled inflatable plastic greenhouses protected by unpressurized UV-resistant hard-plastic shield domes can be used to rapidly create cropland on the surface. Even without the problems of solar flares and month-long diurnal cycle, such simple greenhouses would be impractical on the Moon as they would create unbearably high temperatures. On Mars, in contrast, the strong greenhouse effect created by such domes would be precisely what is necessary to produce a temperate climate inside. Such domes up to 50 meters in diameter are light enough to be transported from Earth initially, and later on they can be manufactured on Mars out of indigenous materials. Because all the resources to make plastics exist on Mars, networks of such 50- to 100-meter domes could be rapidly manufactured and deployed, opening up large areas of the surface to both shirtsleeve human habitation and agriculture. That's just the beginning, because it will eventually be possible for humans to substantially thicken Mars' atmosphere by forcing the regolith to outgas its contents through a deliberate program of artificially induced global warming. Once that has been accomplished, the habitation domes could be virtually any size, as they would not have to sustain a pressure differential between their interior and exterior. In fact, once that has been done, it will be possible to raise specially bred crops outside the domes.

The point to be made is that unlike colonists on any known extraterrestrial body, Martian colonists will be able to live on the surface, not in tunnels, and move about freely and grow crops in the light of day. Mars is a place where humans can live and multiply to large numbers, supporting themselves with products of every description made out of indigenous materials. Mars is thus a place where an actual civilization, not just a mining or scientific outpost, can be developed. And significantly for interplanetary commerce, Mars and Earth are the only two locations in the solar system where humans will be able to grow crops for export.

Interplanetary Commerce

Mars is the best target for colonization in the solar system because it has by far the greatest potential for self-sufficiency. Nevertheless, even with optimistic extrapolation of robotic manufacturing techniques, Mars will not have the division of labor required to make it fully self-sufficient until its population numbers in the millions. Thus, for decades and perhaps longer, it will be necessary, and forever desirable, for Mars to be able to import specialized manufactured goods from Earth. These goods can be fairly limited in mass, as only small portions (by weight) of even very high-tech goods are actually complex. Nevertheless, these smaller sophisticated items will have to be paid for, and the high costs of Earth-launch and interplanetary transport will greatly increase their price. What can Mars possibly export back to Earth in return?
It is this question that has caused many to incorrectly deem Mars colonization intractable, or at least inferior in prospect to the Moon.

For example, much has been made of the fact that the Moon has indigenous supplies of helium-3, an isotope not found on Earth and which could be of considerable value as a fuel for second generation thermonuclear fusion reactors. Mars has no known helium-3 resources. On the other hand, because of its complex geologic history, Mars may have concentrated mineral ores, with much greater concentrations of precious metal ores readily available than is currently the case on Earth — because the terrestrial ores have been heavily scavenged by humans for the past 5,000 years. If concentrated supplies of metals of equal or greater value than silver (such as germanium, hafnium, lanthanum, cerium, rhenium, samarium, gallium, gadolinium, gold, palladium, iridium, rubidium, platinum, rhodium, europium, and a host of others) were available on Mars, they could potentially be transported back to Earth for a substantial profit. Reusable Mars-surface based single-stage-to-orbit vehicles would haul cargoes to Mars orbit for transportation to Earth via either cheap expendable chemical stages manufactured on Mars or reusable cycling solar or magnetic sail-powered interplanetary spacecraft. The existence of such Martian precious metal ores, however, is still hypothetical.

But there is one commercial resource that is known to exist ubiquitously on Mars in large amount — deuterium. Deuterium, the heavy isotope of hydrogen, occurs as 166 out of every million hydrogen atoms on Earth, but comprises 833 out of every million hydrogen atoms on Mars. Deuterium is the key fuel not only for both first and second generation fusion reactors, but it is also an essential material needed by the nuclear power industry today. Even with cheap power, deuterium is very expensive; its current market value on Earth is about $10,000 per kilogram, roughly fifty times as valuable as silver or 70% as valuable as gold. This is in today's pre-fusion economy. Once fusion reactors go into widespread use deuterium prices will increase. All the in-situ chemical processes required to produce the fuel, oxygen, and plastics necessary to run a Mars settlement require water electrolysis as an intermediate step. As a by product of these operations, millions, perhaps billions, of dollars worth of deuterium will be produced.

Ideas may be another possible export for Martian colonists. Just as the labor shortage prevalent in colonial and nineteenth century America drove the creation of "Yankee ingenuity's" flood of inventions, so the conditions of extreme labor shortage combined with a technological culture that shuns impractical legislative constraints against innovation will tend to drive Martian ingenuity to produce wave after wave of invention in energy production, automation and robotics, biotechnology, and other areas. These inventions, licensed on Earth, could finance Mars even as they revolutionize and advance terrestrial living standards as forcefully as nineteenth century American invention changed Europe and ultimately the rest of the world as well.

Inventions produced as a matter of necessity by a practical intellectual culture stressed by frontier conditions can make Mars rich, but invention and direct export to Earth are not the only ways that Martians will be able to make a fortune. The other route is via trade to the asteroid belt, the band of small, mineral-rich bodies lying between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. There are about 5,000 asteroids known today, of which about 98% are in the "Main Belt" lying between Mars and Jupiter, with an average distance from the Sun of about 2.7 astronomical units, or AU. (The Earth is 1.0 AU from the Sun.) Of the remaining two percent known as the near-Earth asteroids, about 90% orbit closer to Mars than to the Earth. Collectively, these asteroids represent an enormous stockpile of mineral wealth in the form of platinum group and other valuable metals.

Historical Analogies

The primary analogy I wish to draw is that Mars is to the new age of exploration as North America was to the last. The Earth's Moon, close to the metropolitan planet but impoverished in resources, compares to Greenland. Other destinations, such as the Main Belt asteroids, may be rich in potential future exports to Earth but lack the preconditions for the creation of a fully developed indigenous society; these compare to the West Indies. Only Mars has the full set of resources required to develop a native civilization, and only Mars is a viable target for true colonization. Like America in its relationship to Britain and the West Indies, Mars has a positional advantage that will allow it to participate in a useful way to support extractive activities on behalf of Earth in the asteroid belt and elsewhere.

But despite the shortsighted calculations of eighteenth-century European statesmen and financiers, the true value of America never was as a logistical support base for West Indies sugar and spice trade, inland fur trade, or as a potential market for manufactured goods. The true value of America was as the future home for a new branch of human civilization, one that as a combined result of its humanistic antecedents and its frontier conditions was able to develop into the most powerful engine for human progress and economic growth the world had ever seen. The wealth of America was in fact that she could support people, and that the right kind of people chose to go to her. People create wealth. People are wealth and power. Every feature of Frontier American life that acted to create a practical can-do culture of innovating people will apply to Mars a hundred-fold.

Mars is a harsher place than any on Earth. But provided one can survive the regimen, it is the toughest schools that are the best. The Martians shall do well.

Robert Zubrin is former Chairman of the National Space Society, President of the Mars Society, and author of The Case For Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must.

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NASA Swift spots red dwarf star belch superflare: 10,000 times more powerful than largest solar flare ever recorded

A stellar flare over 10,000 times more powerful than the biggest solar flare on record was spotted by NASA's Swift satellite, coming from a binary star system 60 light-years away. techtimes.comThe solar system's sun spewed a powerful X class sol...

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Solar Storm Heading for Earth May Spark Auroras This Weekend

An X1.6 class solar flare flashes in the middle of the sun on Sept. 10, 2014. This image was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows light in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, which is typically colorized in teal.  Credit:  NASA/SDO
An x1.6-class solar flare flashes in the middle of the sun on September 10, 2014. This image was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows light in the 131-angstrom wavelength, which is typically colorized in teal.
Credit: NASA/SDO


Two powerful solar storm clouds are heading straight for Earth, triggering an aurora alert across northern Europe, Asia, Canada, and the northern United States.
Two giant flares—the second of which was an X-class, the most powerful of solar blasts—erupted on the sun’s fiery surface on September 9 and 10, shooting two outbursts of charged particles known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) into space. Space weather officials predict that these plasma clouds will produce strong geomagnetic storms and hit Earth on September 12 and 13.
The flares themselves were observed by NASA, which posted stunning photos and videos of the events on its website.
Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation that erupt from regions of the solar surface many times the size of our planet. They can cause disturbances in Earth’s atmosphere while disrupting GPS and radio signals. The disruptions can last as long as the flares do, anywhere from minutes to hours.
That is exactly what happened on Wednesday afternoon when the second, stronger, of the two flares occurred, producing a short blackout period in high-frequency communications that lasted for a few hours.
Howling Radiation
Since the radiation from the flares travels at the speed of light, 11.2 million miles (18 million kilometers) per minute, and the sun is about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) distant, the radiation hits Earth within 8.5 minutes of the solar explosion occurring.
Ham radio operators who happened to be located on the sun-facing side of Earth at the time of the event on Wednesday actually detected the loud solar explosion, reporting a blast of radio noise on their shortwave receivers.
“It was absolutely howling,” Thomas Ashcraft, an amateur radio observatory owner in New Mexico, told spaceweather.com.
“By the time the flare peaked, it became almost too intense for my ears.”
Sky Glow
Now attention has turned to the two CMEs that have Earth in their crosshairs. NOAA space weather forecasters report that when CMEs slam into Earth’s magnetic field, the results may include induced electrical currents that could trigger residential and commercial alarm systems, intermittent satellite navigation (GPS) problems, high-frequency radio outages, and potentially, northern lights.
So, the big question is whether we will get to see any sky fireworks from this solar storm. That will depend on the strength of the storm and the orientation of Earth’s dynamic magnetic field when it hits. Sky-watchers, particularly those in northern-latitude regions, should be on the lookout for possible auroras visible in the northern skies. Forecasters say that these sky glows may extend as far south as Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Oregon. (See “Pictures: Auroras of February and March.”)
The best time to try and capture pictures of auroras, in general, is between midnight and the pre-dawn hours. Face the northern sky and look for green or red glows that start near the horizon. In terms of equipment and technique, all you need to have is a tripod-mounted DSLR camera with a wide-angle lens, capable of taking exposures of up to 20 seconds with a remote timer. (Related: “Did You Hear the Northern Lights?”)
It’s important to remember that we are still in the very early stages of being able to predict when auroral displays will happen, and their potential intensity.  But with some patience and luck we might be in for a decent cosmic light show this week.

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Keeping Pace With The Shift (Solar Flare Information)

Keeping Pace With The Shift

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New Earth Rising : The Equinox Report for March 2012!

a message from Celia Fenn Tuesday, 20 March, 2012 As we approach the first Equinox of 2012, the energies on Planet Earth are becoming very active and intense and a little unstable. Many people have noticed this, especially in the wake of a series of S...

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Poofness 3-11-12…”The Silly Season”… “We got bombarded with pure freedom particles”


I really hope this is true!!! We will see the proof of it in the coming days (or not)...


Greetings and Salutations:

The above lyrics are my comment on the political season in the us, ‘Vote for me...

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2012 Time Fields


a message from Gillian MacBeth-Louthan

Friday, 27 January, 2012  

What was taken for granted is challenged non-stop, what you know to be truth is challenged, what you believe in your heart is challenged.  The body h...

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The Promise


a message from Gillian MacBeth-Louthan

Friday, 1 July, 2011  (posted 23 August, 2011)  

With time speeding up and life not slowing down we find that we are not able to keep all of our promises to ourselves our soul ...

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The Central Spiritual Sun & Solar Flares


a message from Goddess of Creation channeled by Shelly Dressel

Sunday, 7 August, 2011  (posted 17 August, 2011)

This channel was given to us specifically to assist with the infusions of energy during August 2011. There a...

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Expect Wonderful Digest: Re-booting


12 August 2011 

By Meredith Murphy

Hello you beautiful being ♥

The energy of the last couple of days has been VERY difficult.  Early this week began with solar flares/solar winds, and of a magnitude quite ...

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Denise Le Fay…8-11-11


Denise Le Fay…8-11-11

We’ve reached the dramatic 8-11-11 portal of August 2011 and I sense it’s going to be a reality changing doozy; an externally messy, intense, frightening to many people, further money and p...

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Dana Mrkich – August Monthly Visions: Emotional Bursts of Highs and Lows


4 August 2011

By Dana Mrkich

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The recent couple of weeks have been filled with an incredibly difficult energy for many, coming to a crescendo this past weekend with an almost X class Solar Fl...

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