Sunspot group AR1890 takes direct aim at earth

May produce a dangerous X-class flare that could directly impact Earth

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Steve Davidson writes:

Right now, today, one of the largest sunspot groups of Cycle 24 – AR1890 – is pointing nearly strait at Earth.

AR1890 has already produced a large X-class Level 3 solar flare Monday. from Spaceweather.com:

X3-CLASS SOLAR FLARE: Earth-orbiting satellites have just detected an X3-class solar flare from big sunspot AR1890 (Nov. 5th @ 2211 UT).

Here is the X-ray event recorded by the satellites: 

X-flare_AR1890

And here is video of the AR1890 group burping out an M-Class 3.8 flare yesterday:

UPDATE: Close up movie of AR1890

Long-term, everyone knows we are inching into an extended quiet period of solar inactivity.

Today, and the next couple days, are a very notable exception.

[Let’s hope AR1890 rotates away from Earth with no indigestion while it has us in it’s sights. Monitor spaceweather at WUWT’s solar reference page – Anthony]

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“… sunspot … is pointing nearly strait at Earth.”
—————————————
We’re in dire straights!

While this group is impressive … have you seen the current iSWACygnetStreamer? A HUGE CME comes off the western limb and moves FAST !!! That sunspot will be here in a few days.
http://iswa.gsfc.nasa.gov/IswaSystemWebApp/iSWACygnetStreamer?timestamp=2038-01-23%2000:44:00&window=-1&cygnetId=261

We have been dodging them of late.

geran

This is exactly why I bought a lead-foil hat. (Available at Walmart-$39.95. The tag says made in China, but that is just to fool the border guards. They are really made in China….)

It is not just a flare that should worry us but the magnetic activity of the sun when the emitted plasma hits Earth’s outer atmosphere. If the magnetic activity is very weak at that time then Earth and Sun’s magnetic field lines may again combine as they did last March 17. Then larger amounts of plasma will be channeled into the upper atmosphere and would heat the stratosphere at the north pole. Fortunately the AO is sitting at around +2 at present. If it suddenly dives to -4 or worse then we will know this has happened with cold consequences for the northern hemisphere.
Another possibility is a very strong X class flare aimed straight at Earth. This could cause a “Carrington” type event, which would be catastrophic for communications, electricity supply and much more.
Keep your fingers crossed that it behaves itself for the next couple of days.

u.k.(us)

Just cus there are almost no sunspots left, during this peak, it doesn’t lead to them being more likely to kill our satellites or electric grid, does it ?
Knocking on wood as I post this 🙂
(does particle board count as wood?).

M.C. Kinville

I live in North Pole, AK, just outside of Fairbanks. My winter hobby is photographing the Northern Lights, so I’m following this pretty closely. My two primary tools for checking aurora activity is the University of Alaska, Fairbanks website http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast and the NOAA Ovation Aurora website http://helios.swpc.noaa.gov/ovation/

geran

M.C. Kinville says:
November 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm
>>>>>>
Okay, First–NOBODY lives at the North Pole, unless you are Santa. Second, NOBODY living in Alaska would be out photographing the Northern Lights in winter. Third, NOBODY would be following “this” pretty closely.
So, either you are joking us, or you are the real Santa.
(Can I have a new Toyota Tundra 4WD pickup for Christmas?)

Gail Combs

Well this explains Super Typhoon Haiyan….
(Two can play the game of spin baby spin especially with the calm mild this fall)

u.k.(us)

geran says:
November 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm
=============
I guess you’ll find out x-mas morning, won’t you 🙂
Don’t get your hopes up, those Toyota’s melt his workshop.

David L. Hagen

If it does burst a Carrington class Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) then before it hits UNPLUG EVERYTHING & Disconnect from the grid.

Yet another Mike from the Carson Valley where we deal with cold a lot and heat
Jquip

Mark: ““… sunspot … is pointing nearly strait at Earth.”
—————————————
We’re in dire straights!”
It’s the eye of Sauron. Weep hobbits, and quiver!

OssQss

Gail Combs says:
November 7, 2013 at 6:41 pm
Well this explains Super Typhoon Haiyan….
(Two can play the game of spin baby spin especially with the calm mild this fall)
—————————-
You might be on to something. We have had 4 significant space weather events since the 25th of last month. Energy is energy in the end.
Where is Werner and JTF ?
We must have some model that can handle 93,000,000 mile smoothing on global climate somewhere> sarc
On a more serious note: We have not had the opportunity to literally stare down the barrel of a Sun gun as we do today with the tools we have. We should see some very good data come from SDO and STEREO, SOHO, and others, near term.
http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/
http://stereo.gsfc.nasa.gov/
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/

In case anyone is interested… here is a link to the article Anthony mentioned that I wrote about AR1890:
http://informthepundits.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/right-now-today-fear-the-sun/

Jeremy

Over 2,000 people live in the North Pole.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Pole,_Alaska

Johnny Terawatt

Mega-typhoon, solar flares, and “Thor” opened tonight… hmmm.

John F. Hultquist

David L. Hagen says:
November 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm
If it does burst a Carrington class Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) then before it hits UNPLUG EVERYTHING & Disconnect from the grid.

If I do so, how will I know when it is safe to plug stuff back in and reconnect to the grid? Shall I wait 3 days and do so. Then what will happen?

OssQss

Just got a notification of X ray event. R3

OssQss
James Bull

We are going out to friends to play fireworks to celebrate his birthday this evening so I will try to get a rocket into space to see what is going on, although going on past experience they all explode into stars and noise shortly after take off.
My supplier doesn’t say they are space worthy but they are very good.
http://www.kimboltonfireworks.co.uk/
James Bull

Are we really going to have an alarmist post every time a sunspot approaches the center of the sun? Nobody will ever leave their fallout shelters. With alarmist friends like this, who needs alarmist enemies?

highflight56433

It seems I read (here) that previous low solar cycles have produced some CME events that were surprisingly strong.

Ouch I am going to get hit by a solar flare and a super typhoon at the same time.

You call that puny thing a sunspot? You should have seen the sun back in the 90s, when we had a REAL solar maximum – and Global Warming (probably because of it).
We survived that, and we’ll survive this. Next: will a long-overdue Supernova wipe out all life on Earth?????!!!!

Kelvin Vaughan

Gail Combs says:
November 7, 2013 at 6:41 pm
Well this explains Super Typhoon Haiyan….
(Two can play the game of spin baby spin especially with the calm mild this fall)
And the halt in Arctic sea ice area increase.

Kev-in-Uk

Kelvin Vaughan says:
November 8, 2013 at 1:33 am
>>And the halt in Arctic sea ice area increase.<<
yeah, I am struggling to see why its stopped – as the mean temps are still quite low – unless its just wind/wave action stopping ice formation? (or maybe satellite data correction! LOL!)

Bloke down the pub

geran says:
November 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm
M.C. Kinville says:
November 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm
>>>>>>
Second, NOBODY living in Alaska would be out photographing the Northern Lights in winter.
What else is there to do in Alaska in the winter?

Bloke down the pub

Kev-in-Uk says:
November 8, 2013 at 2:13 am
Kelvin Vaughan says:
November 8, 2013 at 1:33 am
>>And the halt in Arctic sea ice area increase.<<
It's interesting to note in the ice area records how the blips in the graphs often line up year on year, give or take. I'm not sure to what extent this is down to geographical features ( e.g.once a basin is full of ice, excess will flow to warmer regions and be washed away), or climate states due to the angle of the sun and therefore the location of pressure zones. Suggestions on a postcard to….

The biggest group ever observed: http://www.leif.org/research/Biggest-Group-Ever.png

Almah Geddon

The earth scale in the bottom left hand corner makes you feel pretty insignificant!

Green Sand

>>And the halt in Arctic sea ice area increase.<<

To the north and east of Svalbard it looks as though it has been compacted by the wind/currents? South west you can see the gradual increase in ice concentration 10%, 40%, 70%, 80% – 100%
To the north and east it now goes straight from 0 to 100%, that was not the case a few days ago.
http://polarview.met.no/regs/c_map3.jpg
Similar has happened but to a lesser degree in the Kara:-
http://polarview.met.no/regs/c_map6.jpg
Always worth taking a look at:-
http://www.dwd.de/bvbw/generator/DWDWWW/Content/Oeffentlichkeit/WV/WVFK/English/Dynamisches/Objective/osisafIceConcNH__m00s__en,templateId=poster,property=poster.png
Where the daily changes are somehow more visible.

steveta_uk

We don’t use overhead power lines in the UK except for the main grid. Everything local (power, phone, etc) is underground. Are these safe from induced EMF?

Really impressive video. Did we survive?

wayne

David L. Hagen: “If it does burst a Carrington class Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) then before it hits UNPLUG EVERYTHING & Disconnect from the grid.”
While your imagination is in gear give us your estimate of the voltage and current we can expect at our homes. Alternate or direct current? Are you sure you have thought through this correctly?
The way I understand after reading on this subject is that the problem back in 1859 or the more recent Montreal problem with the huge transformers with CMEs is not induced voltage locally, like in your computer or cell-phone, the magnetic flux is simply too small. It is what is happening to the Earth itself. If you have a generating plant in New York connected many hundreds of miles to another plant it is the difference in the “ground” that is the problem, the Earth itself then has a voltage induced across different latitudes or large distances and since nearly everything uses the Earth (the ground) as one of its returning legs that is where the very large D.C. currents get involved that can literally burn out large grid-scale transformers. Since this is D.C. currents, or very slow varying A.C. (≈1/10 Hertz at best), that is not going to be passed through the grid to your home, but you would then lose power though if the big transformers overload. Modern large transformers are very unforgiving to large D.C. flows or so I have read.
But a local plant a few miles from your home? Shouldn’t have a problem.
So, I think you sounding the alarm is a bit overblown. Danger to the long hauls in the grid if not direct current protected, yes. Danger to satellites if not static protected and shielded, yes. Danger to your personal home equipment, I would doubt it unless your home is so rural that it is a long haul from the nearest connection point, maybe then.
Possibly long telephone lines might be a larger concern.
Got better non-alarmist info about the physics involved with CMEs, let me know. Some estimates of the milli or nano Tesla and Hertz involved would be some great info so some calculations can check this out thoroughly.

@lsvalgaard
“….The biggest group ever observed….”
6 April 1947 ?
http://daltonsminima.altervista.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/6-April-1947.jpg
Again, Jupiter, Venus, Earth and Mercury….

Allencic

With a little luck the magnetic pulse will totally destroy every computer that has anything to do with Obamacare. All traces of the horrible mess will be gone and they’ll have to start over with something sensible that works. It would be nice if Obama’s teleprompters are fried too.

Jeff Alberts

“Sunspot group AR1890 takes direct aim at earth”
“May produce a dangerous X-class flare that could directly impact Earth”
“Right now, today, one of the largest sunspot groups of Cycle 24 – AR1890 – is pointing nearly strait [sic] at Earth.”
Great, more alarmism.
So is it “directly” or “nearly strait [sic]”?

Michele says:
November 8, 2013 at 4:40 am
Again, Jupiter, Venus, Earth and Mercury….
You forgot Ceres

Jcarels

And here’s a picture from the biggest sunspot group:
http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/2006/images/gal_015.jpg

Jcarels

It covered an area of 6132 MH, 11890 has an area of 920 MH today…

Kelvin Vaughan

steveta_uk says:
November 8, 2013 at 3:02 am
We don’t use overhead power lines in the UK except for the main grid. Everything local (power, phone, etc) is underground. Are these safe from induced EMF?
Not true! Most country areas are fed by overhead lines. It’s only in towns where they are underground.

dp

Should the date of this article be added to to first paragraph so it doesn’t look alarming in perpetuity? Just a little editorial niggle of mine regarding articles that become dated but don’t have a date. The “posted on…” doesn’t always show up in Bing and Google.

Vince Causey

“We don’t use overhead power lines in the UK except for the main grid. Everything local (power, phone, etc) is underground. Are these safe from induced EMF?”
Power surges are a result of the Earth’s magnetic field suddenly moving which induces a current to flow in conductors. The amount of surge depends on the length of the conductor, so I would conclude that the UK, being a small island with comparatively short power lines would fare better than continental power carriers such as Canada and the US.

Does no one know the electromagnetic field strength expected, Ya know volts per meter?

steveta_uk

There was a problem with the railways in the early days when signal men were getting electric shocks. This was found to be due to long sections of track isolated from the ground on wooden sleepers, and since significant voltage differences could occur over long distances the track could be at quite a different potential than the ground. Since then, tracks have earthed regularly to prevent the build up.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2f/Rail_earthing_02.jpg

agfosterjr

2013 marks the 50th anniversary of OED’s first noted instance of the use of “impact” in the sense of “affect.” It seems that people who couldn’t keep “affect” and “effect” straight avoided the problem by resorting to this sloppy use of “impact.” Now the sloppiness–accepted and encased in concrete–comes back to bite us old fuddy-duddies as what is for us the correct meaning of “impact” makes for a rather alarming headline: “May produce a dangerous X-class flare that could directly impact Earth.”
Then again, it takes more than metaphor to wipe out our short wave communication. I’ll stay inside and read the dictionary. –AGF

EO Peter

@wayne
Kudo for the injection of common sense.
I’m no expert in the field but AFAIK the problem is that distribution network does not or sparsely implement serial compensation (capacitor). Also big distribution transformer are masterpiece of optimization, they operate at near “perfect” efficiency & the slightest amount of DC make them saturate & destroy.
Sun induced magnetic variation are (the best we know) only of very long wavelength (low frequency), then are significant ONLY to loop of considerable internal area (km). Nothing similar with EMP that have very fast changing rate, thus capable of inducing large current in small loop.
Take an airplane, make it do a U-turn in flight, does the complete reversal of magnetic earth field in a couples of seconds make it suffer electric problem? Of course not even if its still lot more dphi/dt than a Carrington style event…
Those very long wavelength have no problem penetrating conductive (non-ferrous) soil at a great depth, so burried transmission line won’t offer more protection than overhead line.
Aa a funny side note: I’ve heard from people working for Hydro-Quebec that the 1989 blackout event had the result that major electricity client(s) (USA) put pressure on Quebec to implement stabilization measure & isolate its “shoddy” network from client using gigantic DC-DC converter (DC ties) (I visited one that was offline for maintenance and its look like the reactor of a space ship but much bigger). The result was that during subsequent unstability catastrophy like blackout of 2003 when region of northeast US & Ontario all had fallen to darkness, those measures protected Quebec’s network from their “shoddy” network.

TRM

M class? We don’t care about no stinkin M class.
Call me when we get some decent X20+ action happening.
u.k.(us) says:November 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm
Just cus there are almost no sunspots left, during this peak, it doesn’t lead to them being more likely to kill our satellites or electric grid, does it ?
Knocking on wood as I post this 🙂
(does particle board count as wood?).
The Carrington event happened in a relatively quiet period. Think earthquake. A lot of stress built up and released at once or a little at a time. Which has the bigger impact? The sun may or may not operate in this fashion (over to you Leif).

Mac the Knife

Jeff Alberts says:
November 8, 2013 at 7:51 am
“Sunspot group AR1890 takes direct aim at earth”
“May produce a dangerous X-class flare that could directly impact Earth”
“Right now, today, one of the largest sunspot groups of Cycle 24 – AR1890 – is pointing nearly strait [sic] at Earth.”
Great, more alarmism.
Jeff,
When you’re staring down the bore of a loaded cannon that is aimed directly at you and may fire at any moment, it is not ‘alarmist’ to express concern for your continued health.
MtK
PS: Given the Dire Straits we’re in, it may be time to go Down To The Water Line
Enjoy!
http://youtu.be/50Vp1I3CJ74