Geomagnetic solar storm in progress

Spaceweather.com reports:
A strong-to-severe geomagnetic storm is in progress following the impact of a coronal mass ejection (CME) at approximately 12:15 UT on Sept. 26th.

The Goddard Space Weather Lab reports a “strong compression of Earth’s magnetosphere. Simulations indicate that solar wind plasma [has penetrated] close to geosynchronous orbit starting at 13:00UT.” Geosynchronous satellites could therefore be directly exposed to solar wind plasma and magnetic fields. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for Northern and Southern Lights after nightfall.

Having already unleashed two X-flares since Sept. 22nd, sunspot AR1302 appears ready for more. The active region has a complex “beta-gamma-delta” magnetic field that harbors energy for strong M- and X-classeruptions. Flares from AR1302 will become increasingly geoeffective as the sunspot turns toward Earth in the days ahead.

On Sunday, Sept. 25th, Dutch astrophotographer Emil Kraaikamp took a magnificent picture of the active region, which is so big only half of it fits on the screen. Click to view the entire sunspot:

The WUWT Solar reference page has more data and imagery.

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61 Responses to Geomagnetic solar storm in progress

  1. J Martin says:

    Would someone like to tell me or speculate as to why aren’t there any sunspots in the Southern hemisphere ?

    Is this part of the L & P effect I’ve heard about ?

  2. John Whitman says:

    Leif,

    I think of you whenever I see these kinds of posts.

    John

  3. Mike Bromley the Canucklehead says:

    Makes my hair stand on end!

  4. j.pickens says:

    How does this translate into the likelihood of seeing auroras?
    Time and location predictions?
    Thanks.

  5. John Whitman says:

    j.pickens says:
    September 26, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    How does this translate into the likelihood of seeing auroras?
    Time and location predictions?
    Thanks

    —————————

    j.pickens,

    There are sites that give aurora times and locations. Just generally Google or Bing.

    I think they include aurora resulting from CMEs.

    John

  6. Alexander Vissers says:

    Cool

  7. kim;) says:

    Amazing Picture!!!!

    What’s inside the dark spot, please?

  8. I heard a deep rumbling that sounded similar to a jet taking off (at a distance) about 10 minutes ago. I wonder if that is related to this magnetic storm?

  9. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    Doug in Seallte says:
    …………………..
    An earthquake sounds like a rambling heavy truck on an unmade road (I heard 2 of those some years ago). Keep an eye on this link:
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Maps/US10/42.52.-130.-120.php

  10. Rhoda Ramirez says:

    Doug in Seallte; no, that rumbling sound was just Trenbreth’s heat arguing about coming out of hiding.

  11. PHager says:

    Is it my imagination, but are those spots closer to the solar equator than would be normal for this stage of the solar cycle?

  12. John Day says:

    This Kp-8 geomagnetic storm has caused a huge radio blackout. NOAA seems to be reporting it as a ‘minor’ blackout (R1) …
    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/
    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/NOAAscales/index.html#RadioBlackouts
    … but looking at the HAARP HF spectrum display it looks like a severe blackout. The whole HF spectrum has been blacked out (literally, on the right side of the chart) for more than 6 hours now:
    http://maestro.haarp.alaska.edu/data/spectrum2/www/hf.html

  13. Jason Calley says:

    I actually saw this spot yesterday, naked eye through some welding glass. This is the first I have ever seen without optical aid. It’s a BIG ‘UN!

  14. kwik says:

    I can step outside and look at the aurora at this very moment. It is in southern Norway.

  15. M.A.Vukcevic says:
    September 26, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    An earthquake sounds like a rambling heavy truck on an unmade road (I heard 2 of those some years ago). Keep an eye on this link:
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Maps/US10/42.52.-130.-120.php

    First place I checked was the USGS and the Cascade Volcano Observatory. Did see that there was a 3.2 quake on the 22nd whose epicenter was 24 km below my house, but nothing happening today.

  16. Richard M says:

    Looks like a good time to study the effects on clouds.

  17. _Jim says:

    Here and gone; as noted by Ercot of Texas:

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Sep 26 2011 12:40:19 CST

    NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Co has issued a Geomagnetic K-Index of (K7) expected from 12:11 to 16:00 EST 09/26/11.

    Operational Information: Cancelled

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Sep 26 2011 15:12:37 CST

    ERCOT has cancelled the following notice: NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Co has issued a Geomagnetic K-Index of (K7) expected from 12:11 to 16:00 EST 09/26/11.

    Operational Information: Cancelled

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    And 40 Meters is alive and well in Texas, too.

  18. The Midland, TX, El Paso, TX, Lubbock, TX, and the Albuquerque, NM National Weather Service Offices have all posted this link onto their web pages. Looks like the NWS thinks this CME event could potentially become serious.

    http://www.srh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=maf&storyid=73342&source=0

  19. I think its time for an updated story on sunspot numbers, Anthony. Looking back at the previous post http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/18/suns-magnetics-remain-in-a-funk-sunspots-may-be-on-their-way-out/ The prediction shows we should be around the 65-70 range but as of right now its 108. Way ahead of predictions. so it seems to me its mirroring cycle 23 to the day.

  20. Not to mention the 10.7 cm flux: 190 sfu. when the predictions are saying 120sfu. just something I noticed.

  21. Doug Allen says:

    As of 2315 UTC the medium wave and short wave bands show only minor disturbance here at 35 degrees north and 82 degrees west. No aurora on six meters and two meters here. Darn!
    K4LY

  22. John Day says:

    Daniel Vogler says:
    September 26, 2011 at 4:16 pm
    I think its time for an updated story on sunspot numbers, Anthony. Looking back at the previous post http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/18/suns-magnetics-remain-in-a-funk-sunspots-may-be-on-their-way-out/ The prediction shows we should be around the 65-70 range but as of right now its 108. Way ahead of predictions. so it seems to me its mirroring cycle 23 to the day.

    Daniel Vogler says:
    September 26, 2011 at 4:21 pm
    Not to mention the 10.7 cm flux: 190 sfu. when the predictions are saying 120sfu. just something I noticed.

    Don’t panic and get carried away by these instantaneous high flux values. That 190 reading only lasted a few hours and then went down. The predictions are based on smoothed values, averaged over over a month. You shouldn’t compare averages with instantaneous peaks.

    The latest smoothed rotational averages from Penticton (the folks who officially measure the flux) are right in line with the predictions:
    http://www.spaceweather.ca/sx-7-eng.php

    SC24 is still going to be one of the smallest cycles in the last 100 years. Just like Leif predicted back in 2005.
    http://www.leif.org/research/Cycle%2024%20Smallest%20100%20years.pdf

  23. jack morrow says:

    I saw sunspots around 1955 with my naked eyes through a thin cloud layer and my parents said I was crazy. But, my friend “Wierd Larry” saw them too! Of course no one believed him either. I’ve seen lots since so no big deal. Now that I’ve got older I don’t look at the sun to see spots-I’ve got my own eye “floaters” that look like sunspots.

  24. Thanks for the reply, i forgot those darn averages! Found a graph thats puts it in to better perspective. http://www.solen.info/solar/cyclcomp.html

  25. Ric Werme says:

    jack morrow says:
    September 26, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I’ve seen lots [naked eye sunspots] since so no big deal. Now that I’ve got older I don’t look at the sun to see spots-I’ve got my own eye “floaters” that look like sunspots.

    I tried getting a photo with my new camera – 24X optical zoom to 600 mm 35mm equivalent or something like that. Some Moon photos turned out fairly well. I used the solar filter from my telescope. I managed to get some photos, but the extra reflections and whatnot certainly didn’t help.

    Then I set up the telescope. I haven’t used it in a while, a pity. With the short eyepiece and Barlow lens in, every dust speck on the lens and floater in my eye were remarkably distracting. So I’m remarking. “It is an ancient programmer, and he stoppeth one of three.” (I do need to finish that poem someday.) Boy, a lot more floaters than I expected, because I’m not seeing them in real life.

    Oh – the main sunspot was impressive too!

  26. DesertYote says:

    Hmm, this must be why I was picking up the OSU radio station in Corvallis all the way up were I am in Portland OR. Pretty cool, what ever they were playing was awesome. The kids might all be a bunch of Marxist brainwashed moonbats, but they know good music :)

  27. John Day says:

    Daniel Vogler says:
    September 26, 2011 at 6:09 pm
    Thanks for the reply, i forgot those darn averages! Found a graph thats puts it in to better perspective. http://www.solen.info/solar/cyclcomp.html

    I think these graphs present a better perspective, showing how SC24 resembles another small cycle, SC14 (1902-1913). Also shows how noisy the unsmoothed data can be.
    http://www.leif.org/research/SC14-and-24.png

  28. AJB says:

    Uranus is bowling, Mercury’s in the slips and Earth’s in bat waving the moon around. HOWZAT! must be LBW. Nope, a couple more dots in the score book :-)

  29. John Day says:

    DesertYote says:
    September 26, 2011 at 6:31 pm
    Hmm, this must be why I was picking up the OSU radio station in Corvallis all the way up were I am in Portland OR. Pretty cool, what ever they were playing was awesome. The kids might all be a bunch of Marxist brainwashed moonbats, but they know good music :)

    Might be mid-latitude auroral skip, which can reflect VHF (30Mhz-300Mhz) signals.
    The HF bands (3Mhz-30Mhz) were whacked due to the storm, which is showing signs of easing up.

    Current solar conditions have suddenly turned quite. X-ray flux now down to B-level.
    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/plots/xray/20110927_xray.gif

  30. _Jim says:

    John Day says on September 26, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Might be mid-latitude auroral skip, which can reflect VHF (30Mhz-300Mhz) signals.
    The HF bands (3Mhz-30Mhz) were whacked due to the storm, which is showing signs of easing up.

    John, don’t know the veracity of (or validity of the inferences derived from) your information (whether by actual observation or inference from various indices) about the HF spectrum, but, 7 MHz (40 Meters) has been ‘recovered’ for several hours now in N. America.

    WWV on 10 and 15 MHZ were noted to be weak during the early hour of the storm about mid-day though, with 15 MHz WWV being observed stronger than 10 MHz at about the 1:00 PM EDT point …

    Futher up-thread an individual noted no activity re: auroral skip on 6 or 2 Meters (see Doug Allen at September 26, 2011 at 4:26 pm) for instance. The other posters anomalous propagation might have been a product of tropospheric ducting (if on the FM broadcast band). Of late, past dusk, conditions have been VERY good on 80 Meters … suggesting the D-layer is receding a little earlier as we are headed into fall and enhancing AM broadcast band propagation conditions (the poster was not specific as to which broadcast band).

    A quick check (10:18 PM EDT) of WWV 10 MHz shows 20 dB over S9 SSI meter reading on a reasonably accurate-reading Icom IC-756PROII receiver signal strength meter connected to an outside wire dipole antenna.

    One must go with field observations by qualified observers, of course, over hypothesis or a ‘light reading of the tea leaves’ any day …

    .

  31. J says:

    Hey Doug in Seattle!
    We were in Puyallup this afternoon and heard a deep rumble too. Thought maybe it was a C-17 but then it was too sustained for a bit too long and then it died off too abruptly too, it seemed. Heard it two or three times around 3pm.

  32. Daniel Vogler says:
    September 26, 2011 at 4:16 pm
    The prediction shows we should be around the 65-70 range but as of right now its 108.
    The NOAA sunspot number you refer to must be multiplied by 0.6 to get the ‘official’ number.

  33. David Farris says:

    Am I missing something? Comet Elenin appears to have done a Shoemaker-Levy 9 (from what I gather) and now we have a CME? I know correlation does not equal causation, but isn’t it curious that, yet again, the comet-CME coincidence appeared?

  34. Legatus says:

    A temporary increase in the local solar wind would seem to be a great time to see if this results in lesser cloudyness due to a corresponding decrease in cosmic rays. Think of this as an opportunity.

  35. Brian H says:

    J & Doug;
    Heard it here in Vancouver, BC, too. Thought it was prolonged thunder at a distance at first, but concluded that was exceedingly unlikely, as we get very few electric storms here.

  36. Brian H says:

    This solen page is even better, IMO:
    http://www.solen.info/solar/solcycle.html
    “Cycle 24 is expected to peak sometime in 2013. The current prediction is for a smoothed sunspot number maximum somewhere in the range 50-70.”

    http://www.solen.info/solar/cycl23_24.gif

  37. Ed Mertin says:

    I can see a glow from the northern lights from my place at 2200 ft altitude in the Ozarks in northern Arkansas. Clear as a bell and a pretty cool night, CO2 didn’t trap any of the warming today from the whomperjawwed sun that’s mysteriously blank on the SH.

    mkurbo says: September 26, 2011 at 8:41 pm “I just saw this post on the EPA –it’s really nuts !!!”
    During the Repub debate in Orlando, FL I got a kick out of how quickly Herman Cain replied to the question of which government agency he would eliminate. “The EPA” he says, “they’re nuts” or something to that effect. He walked away handsomely with the FL straw pole. I wonder how many folks wish he was the POTUS instead, I know I do. I like his focus on the important stuff. Instead of lavi$h partie$ with the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire almost every evening and crooked political schemes.

  38. DesertYote says:

    _Jim
    September 26, 2011 at 7:22 pm
    ###
    96.3 :) I should have thought to mention this.

  39. Richard111 says:

    The present state of this layman’s understanding of solar cycles is that large sunspots close to the equator indicate the approaching end of the cycle. A bit early isn’t it? Also curious at the lack of sunspots in the southern hemisphere. Hope one of the gurus on this site will offer words of wisdom and comfort. :-)

  40. Doug in Seattle says:

    J, I heard it about 2:30 PM in Bellevue. Thought at first it was the sound of something on I-90, or maybe a jet from SeaTac with odd cloud conditions focusing the sound, but it died out and I-90 sounded its normal higher pitched sound. Then I was thinking it just the spot I was in. About 5 minutes later though it came back and lasted for about 2 minutes then was gone again, but I was in a different place.

    I heard once about someone up in Alaska attributing a similar sound to HAARP, but dismissed it (too many conspiracies there and my skeptical nature – you know). Perhaps they were actually hearing an aurora in the daytime.

    I saw the aurora when I worked in the far north, but didn’t hear anything then. But who knows, perhaps it’s possible for one to make a sound.

    Anyway, it makes for an interesting mystery.

  41. Doug in Seattle says:

    Interesting that 3 of us heard this sound in the PNW. Did anyone elsewhere hear the deep base rumbling at about 2:40 to 3:00 PM PDT (where PDT=UTC 0800).

  42. Doug in Seattle says:
    September 26, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Perhaps they were actually hearing an aurora in the daytime.

    I saw the aurora when I worked in the far north, but didn’t hear anything then. But who knows, perhaps it’s possible for one to make a sound.
    ======================================================

    From what i googled, the only sound that you could possibly hear from auroras are crackling or a hissing type sound. http://www.astronomycafe.net/qadir/q1852.html

  43. John Marshall says:

    Wow, and that big spot is larger than the Earth.

  44. bushbunnyy says:

    Jack Morrow, never look at the sun unless through smoked glass didn’t your parents tell you.
    LOL

  45. Edim says:

    “The present state of this layman’s understanding of solar cycles is that large sunspots close to the equator indicate the approaching end of the cycle. A bit early isn’t it? Also curious at the lack of sunspots in the southern hemisphere. Hope one of the gurus on this site will offer words of wisdom and comfort. :-)”

    I don’t think that sunspots approaching the equator indicate the end of the cycle, rather maximum of the cycle. Actually, maximum can happen a year or so after sunspots have approached the equator. Maximums are kinda fuzzy, minimums not so much.
    http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/bfly.gif
    http://www.leif.org/research/SC14-and-24.png

    So, IMO the maximum is to be expected ~2013-2015. If the SC 24 is longer than average, which I expect, the end of the SC 24 (start of SC 25) will be not before 2020.

    I am also interested in NH/SH difference. It seems to oscillate.

  46. _Jim says:

    DesertYote says on September 26, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    96.3 :) I should have thought to mention this.

    Thanks Yote; I should have mentioned, if the enhanced propagation were Auroral in nature, there would have been a noticeable hiss or noise-like signal modulating the signal you received, per wiki: “Random motions of electrons spiraling around the field lines create a Doppler-spread that broadens the spectra of the emission to more or less noise-like ..”

    Example of CW traffic experiencing auroral modulation can be found here:
    http://www.dxzone.com/cgi-bin/dir/jump2.cgi?ID=8861

    Example of Voice traffic experiencing auroral modulation can be found here:
    http://www.vhfdx.info/propsounds.html

    Note: The voice becomes almost completely obscured due to Doppler-induced phase distortion!

    .

  47. Daniel Vogler says:
    September 27, 2011 at 12:32 am
    Doug in Seattle says:
    September 26, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    From what i googled, the only sound that you could possibly hear from auroras are crackling or a hissing type sound.

    I also did a google search but included “rumble” as a key word. It found several links to descriptions that conform to my experience.

  48. Nice solar max we got going on.
    Can’t wait till we reach min soon.

  49. TomB says:

    John Day says:
    September 26, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    This Kp-8 geomagnetic storm has caused a huge radio blackout. NOAA seems to be reporting it as a ‘minor’ blackout (R1) …
    … but looking at the HAARP HF spectrum display it looks like a severe blackout. The whole HF spectrum has been blacked out (literally, on the right side of the chart) for more than 6 hours now:
    http://maestro.haarp.alaska.edu/data/spectrum2/www/hf.html

    Where do you guys find this stuff. 24 hours later that is still a very interesting graph. Thanks for posting the link.

  50. Mark says:

    Space weather is just another excuse the government uses to scare people into surrendering more money to it. Wake me if my power goes out.

  51. aaron says:

    I heard something similar in Michigan Sunday afternoon. I figured military moving some heavy equiment. I figured maybe C-5.

  52. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    Solar storm delivers ‘glancing blow’ to Earth
    Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:49pm GMT
    http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFS1E78Q0RW20110927

  53. Pixel Idiots says:

    The northern lights were seen last night as far south as Michigan, New York, South Dakota and Maine in the United States, and also from Europe and New Zealand. It was the strongest geomagnetic storm since October 2003.
    A HD video of what the northern lights look like during a strong geomagnetic storm as we had yesterday can be seen at http://www.vimeo.com/27315234

  54. SteveSadlov says:

    Could not see them in the 38 / 39 N latitude range here out West. Too far away from the tighter magnetic flux zone nearer the magnetic pole.

  55. rbateman says:

    I cannot say why the Southern Sunspot belt is weaker/more diffuse, but it is there:
    http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/TempGr/uvp2324a.PNG
    I’m sure Leif knows why, as this is not the only cycle to display this behavior, nor is it uncommon.

  56. yitro says:

    Doug in Seattle says:
    September 26, 2011 at 11:40 pm
    Interesting that 3 of us heard this sound in the PNW. Did anyone elsewhere hear the deep base rumbling at about 2:40 to 3:00 PM PDT (where PDT=UTC 0800).

    I heard it too. Near Leavenworth WA…very strange. I thought it might have been thunder but there was no thunder activity around.

  57. Edim says:

    That sunspot can be seen without a telescope:
    http://spaceweather.com/swpod2011/27sep11/sunset.jpg

  58. Carla says:

    M.A.Vukcevic says:
    September 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm
    Solar storm delivers ‘glancing blow’ to Earth
    Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:49pm GMT
    http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFS1E78Q0RW20110927

    ~
    And today http://www.spaceweather.com is reporting that aurora in Norway (spectaculor) are still being produced through magnetic reverb two days later.
    ~
    “”REVERBERATIONS: A CME hit Earth’s magnetic field on Sept. 26th, sparking one of the strongest magnetic storms in years. At the peak of the Kp=8 disturbance, auroras were sighted around both poles and more than half a dozen US states. Magnetic reverberations continued for more than 48 hours. Here is the view from forests of Skibotn, Norway, two days after the CME impact
    http://www.spaceweather.com/images2011/29sep11/reverberations.jpg
    “The auroras were some of the most spectacular I have ever witnessed,” says photographer Ole C. Salomonsen. “Actually it was the sickest thing I have ever seen in the sky!!” “”
    ~
    Magnetic reverberation two days later..Did Ole really mean “sickest” or thickest thing he has ever seen in the sky??
    Vuks back to that surface field in the Atlantic.. its like a cogs on the wheel those currents, and the SAA and the Van Allen belt rite below it or above howeever you chose rto look at it.. But souce surface fields are big in the planetary system at present just ask Sol, his polar fields are sqaushed almost seemingly by another magnetic force pressing against it Might even be dented on one side of the field, sorta like the Van Allen Raditation Belts have a dent in the SAA.

  59. Brian H says:

    I suspect Ole typo’d “slickest”.

    ;D

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