Earth's magnetic field.
What does this switch do..
"Earth's Magnetic Field Offline"
- Tinfoil hat and shades in the pocket.
Astroboffins are warning that a mighty "eruption" of superhot plasma has been blasted out of the Sun directly at the Earth. The plasma cloud is expected to reach Earth beginning tomorrow today, possibly causing strange phenomena - including a mighty geomagnetic storm which could see the Northern Lights aurorae extend as far …
"a huge solar pimple so large as to be visible without the aid of a telescope."
Well, I tried to look, but couldn't see anything that looked like a pimple. So I used my binoculars. Now I can't see anything at all. Bloody great bit of advice, that.
Mine's the one with the Braille keyboard in the pocket....
You are too generous, sir. I was rather fed up with the human race getting wiped out every time this happened, and it's well past time the government did something about it.
Why, I have letters written by my grandfather to The Times over 70 years ago on this very matter, and it's taken until now to remedy the matter? It doesn't bear thinking about the number of times life on Earth has been eradicated, whilst the fat cats in government have been sitting on their fat behinds doing nothing. For shame!
this'll end up being start of world war Z once that there solanum causes the dead to rise
i'm off home to sharpen my machete and make sure my 'bug out bag' is fully packed,
then chuck some diesel in the car and drive off to castel caerfilthy
oh and cwtch the kids before we're all eaten alive
Where to start with what's wrong in that film, from a technical and/or scientific point of view.
The geomagnetic field has been known to periodically invert itself; the record of this in the orientation of magnetic fields in igneous rocks provided evidence for plate tectonics. It is thought to be a fairly slow process (taking perhaps thousands of years), the lack of mass extinctions corresponding to magetic field inversions would seem to suggest that it isn't ever actually zero at all over this time. More likely, it changes direction, or becomes chaotic beofre stabilising again with the opposite orientation.
Note also, that the sun itself flips its magnetic field much more often, giving rise to the approximately 13 year solar cycle; this leads to the 'termination shock' where the sun's magnetic field meets the interstellar magnetic field at a distance varying somewhat between around 75 to 90 AU. This is known as the heliopause, is analogous the the Earth's magnetopause and protects the solar system to a certain extent from cosmic radiation in the same way as the manetopause protects us from solar radiation. Therefore, in the event of an inversion of the Earth's magnetic field, we would expect the magnetic bubble around the Earth to shrink somewhat but to carry on protecting us.
The keys to watching The Core are 1) alcohol 2) not taking
it seriously and 3) predicting what will obviously happen.
Yes, it's completely unscientific and predictable, but thats
the point. It's very clear from watching it that the writers
know that it's completely un-scientific and decided to ham
it up to annoy pedants anyway.
At least, that's the opinion of quite a few geomagneticians (if there isn't such a word, there is now!) Certainly the magnetic poles are wandering rather drunkenly around the polar regions, which may or may not be typical behaviour.
But, as LC points out, nothing to lie awake at night worrying about. BTW the solar cycle is just under 11 years - 21 years if you allow for the need to go from N/S to S/N orientation and then back again. But, as the latest cycle demonstrates, it's not quite as regular as it might be.
"Certainly the magnetic poles are wandering rather drunkenly around the polar regions, which may or may not be typical behaviour."
Are we sure that this isn't something to do with human activity? Too many Hummers in the Northern Hemisphere perhaps?
Come to think of it, maybe there is a research grant or two on offer. People have a right to know!
He might not have been just north of Aberystwyth at the time, but I certainly was - was during either the second or third year of my first degree (studying planetary physics, no less)
It's *very* rare to see aurora that far south, and fairly rare in the UK as a whole, although I've often seen 'airglow' (aurora's little brother) in the far North of Scotland.
I took some long-exposure photographs which, if I recall, came out quite well. Wonder if I've still got them ...
but (@lawndart) in the midlands. Wouildn't call it spectacular as such. More odd. Started as a glowing cloud low on the horizon which slowly spread to be a soft glowing cloud-ribbon all round and just above the horizon. Later streaks from this developed up towards the centre of the sky above where a sharp-edged 'break' shape developed.
No fast movement, took hours, all very slow, no particular colours, just glows, clouds, streaks. It was confirmed next day on the news as an aurora.
Driving north up the new M24 about 30 miles past the border, circa 1990ish. About the middle of June at about 3ish in the morning. Huge, amazing, colossal green curtains in the sky, shimmering and flickering. Utterly awesome. I dug my ex-wife, who was asleep in the passenger seat, in the ribs, and mentioned the fact.
"Oooh, what's that?". Bloody network specialists!!
I also saw them around 20 years ago, somewhere between '88 and '90 at a guess. Down south, in Hampshire. Probably around 9-10pm and it was dark so not in the summer. Big curtains and rays of purest green. Very impressive. Have been planning to make a trip somewhere likely to see them again, but am now hoping if I procrastinate long enough they'll come to me instead!
Solar storms can affect electronic systems and might knock-out mobile phone networks. If this turns out to be a really big storm (like the one in 1859) then anyone lucky enough to own an iPhone 4 should be able to watch lightning dance around its antennas (unless you've fitted one of those rubber bumpers).
...........the iPhone 4 owner may discover that term "death grip" has a reality he has so far been unwilling to concede and that he has indeed purchased a "jesusphone" inasmuch our lucky fanboy is now a lot closer to Him than he was expecting to be.
Doomed I tell ya! Doooooooooooooooooooooomed!
Oh wait - shit like this happens all the time.
"...a huge solar pimple so large as to be visible without the aid of a telescope."
Yeah, lets all stare and squint at the sun to see if we can spot it. You go first.
Don't think the reference comes from there but obviously it's a more relevant story at the moment. If anyone sees any bright moons they should expect a hurricane. They might also want to smirk and say 'ha HA' in a Nelson Muntz kind of way :)
Ah, Lucifer's Hammer. A surprisingly good read although showing it's age a bit. Isn't there a quote early in the novel where the main protagonist threatens an 'eco-journalist' by telling them that if they mention ozone depletion he'll throw up in their lap?
LN didn't quite get the science right there :)
Paris:Because she's probably seen a few bright moons in her time.
pretty lights in the sky, another benefit could be the destruction of several spy satellites and hopefully all of Sky TV's satellites. The downside to this being the taxpayer will foot the bill for the spy satellites. I see no downside to the destruction of Sky TV satellite infrastructure.
"Normally a blast of radiation like this could be expected to wipe out much of the human race, but fortunately we are protected by the Earth's magnetic field" - what, and "Normally" the Earth's magnetic field would be switched off or something?!
I daydream with the idea on occasion, wondering who will win - whether the Scots will take over our morris-dancing neighbours by stealth & occupy all positions of power before the English kill them first with fish and chips, cider & full english breakfasts.
It's a close run thing to be honest.
I remember the last one about 10 years ago. A friend who was living in rural Cambridgeshire rang saying that the sky to the North was aglow. Living in London I couldn’t even see the waxing moon, let alone any strange sky glow, so I drove Northwards reaching a very rurally bit of Hertfordshire, on a rise looking Northward. The sky was aglow with a white light as if a string of floodlights lay just below the horizon, and within the glow there was what appeared to be dancing crimson fireflys!
For the following few days there were power brownouts, lots of complaints of poor network communications and periodic comms drop outs. The most interesting aspect was the wide range of UFO stories, large number of conspiracy theorists with mind control and secret experiments, and the fact that most people didn’t know or care what was happening.
...disruptions to electrical transmission as well as both wired and wireless communications.
Although the majority of the particles will follow the lines of magnetic force to the poles, the electromagnetic fields will propagate everywhere. IT and power people should be sure staff is at hand to deal with EMP-like events.
There are several excellent photos of the sunspot at: http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/data/
And a movie at: http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/data/dailymov.php
Choose Sunday's date, and download the last one on the list. At about 06:00UTC in the playback you will see the explosion begin.
The Earth rotates around the sun at a rate of 360 degrees per year. The ejection happened on Sunday, if it is due to hit the Earth on Wednesday, that means it would have to have been ejected at approximately 3 degrees off a direct line drawn through the Earth, SOHO and the Sun.
Aurorae are genuinely frequent in Orkney and Shetland and certainly not uncommon on the northern mainland given a decent dark sky. Are these places not part of the UK any more?
Nitpicking I know, but it's essentially identical to saying Eurostar doesn't normally get as far as the UK.
Ok, bad example.
This is the kind of thing that fascinates me. A once in 11 years event occurs that can be analysed by "new" technology and ergo a new understanding of our (universe so big even if you lived for a million years you still wouldn't understand the grand scheme of it)
Did I mention that this stuff facinates me. Only a couple more events and I'll be dead
How does this outburst relate to others in recent decades. E.g. in Canada in 1989 there was widespread disruption...
"However, it wasn’t until the HydroQuebec Power Grid blackout in Quebec, Canada, in March of 1989 that the world truly realized the extent to which solar storms can impact the economy. The solar storm induced a nine-hour blackout which affected 6 million customers and ultimately cost this power company more than $10 million — putting the cost of this disaster in the same category as hurricanes and earthquakes (and this does not include the estimated cost to its customers, which was in the tens — if not hundreds — of millions of dollars) (Windows to the Universe Team, 2000). Additionally, Public Service Electric and Gas in New Jersey suffered serious damage to two of its transformers. It cost PSE&G eight million to replace the transformers and the cost of replacement energy during the time the transformers were taken out of service was approximately $16.8 million, so the net cost for PSE&G was over $24 million. Together, this single space weather storm cost Hydro Quebec and PSE&G more than $30 million. "
There's still plenty of time for the reanimation of the deceased, mass blinding and carniverous plant attacks (and possibly the formation of some new breed of superhero). Maybe you won't be out until lunch but at least that means you've got enough time to use the old "solar flares" excuse with the next customer/luser!
Living in North Wales we have no need of the Magnetosphere as we're protected by things such as the sun catching fire by banks of rain clouds.
So, whilst the rest of the Northern Hemisphere is being overrun by large shuffling plants we're all safe and sound in our wellingtons and sou'westers.
Is anyone out there? Perhaps we're the only ones left alive...
There was a weak aurora around 1-2AM local time this morning that didn't amount to much.... few ham radio signals from Scandinavia were copyable here in Blighty.
has a useful "Aurora Activity" diagram approx half way down the page which is built up from statistical information gathered from satellites by NOAA.
Bottom of the page has a colour world map that shows the extent of the auroral oval - two bright green lines at the stop of the map.
K1SIX 70005.0 WE9XFT/B Full AURORA solid in FN43 2310 03 Aug
been building all day on 6, 4 and 2m over North America and Europe. Keep beaming north OM :-)
G0KSC 70029.0 S55ZMB 529 4m OPEN! 0758 04 Aug
GM4JYB 70035.0 OY6BEC IO88HP<AUR>IP62 55a 1428 04 Aug
G8HGN 144041.0 GM4VVX JO01FO<AU>IO78TA 1457 04 Aug
1st 2m transatlantic copy heard around an hour ago
G8HGN 144033.0 WHO JO01FO<AU> CQ 31A hrd 1524 04 Aug United States
also open on 6m
GD0TEP 50090.0 GM4DZX IO89lb 55a 1539 04 Aug
Still building - should be fun later on tonight when more operators are on.
Rainy cloudy crappy for at least the next 72 hours according to the met orifice.*
On a less whingy note it is often possible to see the northern lights from the mainland UK. We are talking northern Scotland, but it's still the UK.
* What do they know? The sun came out as I was typing.
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