Space Weather Update

For those interested. A massive sunspot group (currently 18 earth
diameters) will cross the earth-directed central meridian of the sun
in the next day or so. It has produced a series of major flares in the
last 24 to 36 hours. The strongest such flare is in progress attm. The
likelihood of very strong flares will be highest with this group in
the timeframe around... Today...Monday (1/17).

The Space Environment Center has issued an advisory noting the
potential for this group to produce intense flares and associated
radio/communications blackouts, possible electrical outages, and
slightly increased solar radiation through mid week.

No specific event thus far has been confirmed to release conditions
favorable for the above geomagnetic storming and/or mid/low latitude
aurora, but the odds are increasing!


"Numerous studies have shown that solar storms affect our mood, which can in turn affect our behavior. One 1994 report in the British Journal of Psychiatry cited by Krivelyova and Robotti shows a 36.2 percent increase in hospital admissions for depression during the storms. A 1992 paper published in the Russian Aviakosm Ekolog Med shows that during solar storms, pilots experience increased stress and a sharp decline in flying skills. A Russian study from 1998, based on data from Moscow's ambulance corps, found that suicides and mental disorders, along with cardiovascular incidents—which are often stress related—spike during periods of increased geomagnetic activity."

See, Anya's normally normal. It's just the sun. :D
awol...folks must be really crazy with this solar activity occurring in phase with the full moon...


( -- A large sunspot has been the site of several major eruptions in recent days, including one Thursday that was the largest of the series.

The storms caused minor glitches on the Sun-watching SOHO spacecraft and forced scientists to put two of its instruments into "safe mode," not unlike an electronic nap.

The sunspot group is "one of the most flaring regions of the last few years," said Bernhard Fleck, SOHO Project Scientist with the European Space Agency (ESA).

Sunspots are regions of intense magnetic energy, cooler than the surrounding solar surface. They're a bit like corks in a shaken bottle of champagne, and when they cut loose, radiation and matter are flung into space. Flares of visible light and X-rays are rated M for medium and X for strong, with an accompanying number that signifies further intensity.

The sunspot group, numbered 720, has delivered 15 M-class flares and five X-class flares. At around 2 a.m. ET Thursday, it unleashed an X7, one of the most intense measured in recent years.

"This activity is significant," said NOAA space weather forecaster Bill Murtagh. "However, it is considerably less intense than the activity observed during the 'Halloween Storms' of 2003."

The 2003 rampage, which included 10 X-class flares, knocked out two Earth-orbiting satellites and even crippled an instrument aboard a Mars orbiter.

Some flares are accompanied by coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are clouds of charged subatomic particles that race outward at millions of miles per hour. They can damage satellites and occasionally trip power grids on Earth. No serious effects have been attributed to this month's storms. But scientists are on watch.

"Even before the peak of the flare, energetic protons were pummeling SOHO as well as geostationary spacecraft around Earth," Fleck said.

SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) is run by ESA and NASA. It and the geostationary satellites orbit much higher than many other satellite and are more directly exposed to storms.

SOHO uses stars to guide it and maintain its attitude. In the past, loss of a guide star could throw the probe into an emergency. A software upgrade was done in 1999 after such a problem.

"With the improved software, several stars are tracked at the same time, and losing the primary one is no big deal as long as there are more stars left to track," Fleck said. Good thing, because these latest tempests have proved challenging.

"During the first few hours of the storm, four stars were lost," Fleck said. Two of SOHO's instruments were manually put in safe mode by turning down high voltages, he added.

Residents of the far north have enjoyed fantastic displays of the Northern Lights during the storm series. The aurora, as they are also known, are triggered when the solar storms hit Earth's protective magnetosphere, causing charged particles to stream into the upper atmosphere, where they excite molecules into glowing.

The residents of the International Space Station are relatively safe from most solar storms, because they orbit inside the planet's protective magnetosphere.

In general, the Sun is near a minimum of activity in a roughly 11-year cycle. But sunspots, flares and eruptions can occur anytime during the cycle. The storminess is likely to subside in coming days as the sunspot rotates to the back side of the Sun.

They're a bit like corks in a shaken bottle of champagne, and when they cut loose, radiation and matter are flung into space
Good to see CNN cutting right to the hub of the matter! :D
will it affect Camberley?
Let's wait to see if it does something underhand and sneaky, like annoy the Bush family, then invent a load of rubbish 'facts' in order to launch an invasion!! :D
Telecom Vanuatu caught with pants down
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2005

A sudden power surge to the Pacific Intelsat satellite communication system has caused a major problem in Pacific communication.

Several Pacific countries that rely on the satellite for their international telephone links and Internet have had to put in place several contingency plans.

These include Fiji, Cook Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, Northern Marianas and further North in Southeast Asia, East Timor, Vietnam, and Korea.

Intelsat says the incident caused the satellite system to stop functioning.

Pacnews reports the power surge caused the seven year old satellite system to drift off its geostationary orbit.

Intelsat and Lockheed Martin Corporation, the manufacturer of the satellite, are working together to investigate the problem.

The most affected country seemed to be Vanuatu, where Telecom Vanuatu Limited relied on Intelsat 804 for both their international phone and Internet telecommunications. In effect to satellite outage cut Vanuatu off from the rest of the world seriously effecting business and administration.

Questions are now being asked as to why TVL had no redundancy for the international links when in the past TVL have publicly stated they have leased bandwidth on 2 different satellites. Sources wishing to remain anonymous have stated that the management of the National Communications link seems to have been 'amateurish' at best if the country can simply disappear from the international network.

Fcuk You solar flares :twisted: :twisted:
Ahhh I can feel my lads preparing already.... Sorry boss you've got hehaw chance of getting in any HF comms today\this week\this cycle. Yer lads I know about the sun spots but we are pusing out 250W on ground wave and we are only trying to send 50KM so sort your life out Cpl. Was on ex during the great storm of 2003 got bugger all comms that week but we where shooting skywave then so I let the Cpl thell the CO why he had no comms. Though he would tell the truth i.e. Sorry sir it's sun spots but NO. Cpl x to CO "aye sir we've nae comms cause your kit is sh1te" Great carear enhancing statement!

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