Almost as good as being there: Computer simulations provide video of #Eclipse2017

Can’t make it into the path of totality? Traffic jams got you down, here’s relief. Video follows.

From the UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN, TEXAS ADVANCED COMPUTING CENTER

Researchers use supercomputers to forecast corona of the sun

On August 21, 2017, a total eclipse of the Sun will be visible across the U.S. The eclipse, which will trace out a 70-mile-wide band across 14 states, is generating excitement and motivating pilgrimages among science enthusiasts nationwide.

Beyond their rarity and otherworldly nature, solar eclipses help astronomers better understand the Sun – its structure, inner workings and the space weather it generates.

They also provide an opportunity for researchers who study solar science to forecast in advance how the Sun will look during the eclipse – proving their predictive chops, so to speak.

A team from Predictive Science Inc. (PSI), based in San Diego, is one such research group. Beginning on July 28, 2017, with support from NASA, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Science Foundation, they began a large-scale simulation of the Sun’s surface in preparation for a prediction of what the solar corona — the aura of plasma that surrounds the sun and extends millions of kilometers into space — will look like during this eclipse.

Using massive supercomputers, including Stampede2 at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC)Comet at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), and NASA’s Pleiadessupercomputer, the researchers completed a series highly-detailed solar simulations timed to the moment of the eclipse.

Coronal Prediction for the August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse: The above images show two versions of the predicted brightness of polarized white light in the corona. The left image shows an image processed to simulate what would be seen when using a “Newkirk” radially graded filter. The image on the right is the polarized brightness on a log scale, sharpened using an “Unsharp Mask” filter. These are two different attempts to approximate what the human eye might see during the solar eclipse.Click for larger image.

“Advanced computational resources are crucial to developing detailed physical models of the solar corona and solar wind,” says Jon Linker, president and senior research scientist of PSI. “The growth in the power of these resources in recent years has fueled an increase in not only the resolution of these models, but the sophistication of the way the models treat the underlying physical processes as well.”

The team used data collected by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) aboard NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), as well as a combination of magnetic field maps, solar rotation rates and cutting-edge mathematical models of how magnetohydrodynamics (or the interplay of electrically conducting fluids like plasmas and powerful magnetic field) impact the corona.

Time on Stampede2 and Comet was provided by the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), a collection of integrated advanced digital resources available to U.S. researchers.

The research team completed their initial forecasts on July 31, 2017, and published their final predictions using newer magnetic field data on their website on August 15, 2017. They will present their results at the Solar Physics Division (SPD) meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) from Aug. 22-24.

The magnetohydrodynamic model of the solar corona the researchers used included an improved treatment of energy transport. While previous predictions in 2006 and 2008 incorporated a more simplistic heating formalism, PSI’s researchers this time applied a wave turbulence-driven methodology to heat the corona. This model better reproduces the underlying physical processes in the corona and has the potential to produce a more accurate eclipse prediction.

For the final prediction, they also introduced magnetic shear, a well-known feature of large-scale coronal magnetic fields that has not been accounted for in past predictions. The inclusion of shear qualitatively changes the shape of the streamers and the connectivity of the underlying fields, and increases the free magnetic energy in the corona.

One of the team’s simulations even produced a coronal mass ejection (an unusually large release of plasma and magnetic fields from the solar corona) from an active region that will be near the east limb of the Sun on eclipse day – a tantalizing possibility for eclipse watchers.

A special video visualization of the three-dimensional (3D) magnetic field. By tracing magnetic field lines at extremely high resolution, researchers can calculate a 3D map of the so-called magnetic squashing factor – a scientific measure designed to indicate the presence of complex structuring in the magnetic field. The researchers then integrate the map along the line-of-sight, with special weightings to create a composite that resembles solar eclipse images. This is intended to highlight the inherent complexity of the Sun’s magnetic field and its intimate connection to visible emission from the solar corona.

The image above on the left shows a digitally processed version of the polarized brightness using a “Wavelet” filter to bring out the details in the image. The image on the right shows traces of selected magnetic field lines from the model. Click for larger image.

The simulations are among the largest the research group has performed, using 65 million grid points to provide greater accuracy and realism.

Once completed, the researchers converted their computer simulations into scientific visualizations that approximate what the human eye might see during the solar eclipse.

“The Solar eclipse allows us to see levels of the solar corona not possible even with the most powerful telescopes and spacecraft,” says Niall Gaffney, a former Hubble scientist and director of Data Intensive Computing at the Texas Advanced Computing Center. “It also gives high performance computing researchers who model high energy plasmas the unique ability to test our understanding of magnetohydrodynamics at a scale and environment not possible anywhere else.”

From corona predictions to solar weather forecasting

Making predictions about the appearance of the corona during an eclipse is a way to test complex, three-dimensional computational models of the sun against visible reality.

But the endeavor also has a practical purpose beyond the moments of an eclipse. Accurate predictions of space weather can potentially help authorities prevent the worst impacts of a powerful solar storm, like the one in 1859 — known as the Carrington Event — whose auroras were visible as far south as the Caribbean and which caused telegraphs to short and catch fire.

According to a 2008 report by the National Academy of Sciences, if such a storm were to hit the Earth today, it would cause more than $2 trillion in damages. Predicting the arrival of such a solar storm in advance and taking the most critical electronic infrastructure offline could limit its impact. But doing so means understanding how the visible surface of the sun (the corona) relates to the mass ejections of plasma that cause space weather.

Though not an imminent threat, space weather calamities like the Carrington event aren’t a fantasy either, according to scientists. In a widely cited article in Space Weather in 2012, Pete Riley, a senior scientist at PSI, put the odds of such an event occurring by 2020 as 1 in 8. (The US Senate unanimously passed a bill on May 2 intended to support space weather research and planning to protect critical infrastructure from solar storms.)

“The ability to more accurately model solar plasmas, helps reduce the impacts of space weather on key pieces of infrastructure that drive today’s digital world,” Gaffney says.

With each accurate prediction of the corona during a solar eclipse, scientists take a step closer to preparing for that terrible possibility.

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Interested in seeing the solar eclipse? NSF’s National Solar Observatory created an interactive map showing the trajectory of the total eclipse. Find out when it will be visible in your area.

Remember to protect your eyes when viewing the eclipse. LiveScience has a video showing you how to create a DIY solar eclipse viewer.

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69 thoughts on “Almost as good as being there: Computer simulations provide video of #Eclipse2017

    • But it’s not even close to the same as being there. You have to experience it in person. The temperature drop is the thing that most people don’t expect. Or being able to see the stars in the middle of the day.

      • Surely the temperature doesn’t drop during a total eclipse; I thought settled science had discounted the Sun’s influence on the Earth’s temperature !

      • I am hoping to record the temperature drop during the eclipse. I think that could be quite interesting. Not sure what intervals—enough that I get data and not enough to detract from being there.

      • If you’re concerned about the temperature drop, here’s what you do.
        Arrange to have a delivery of dry ice to wherever it is you’ve chosen to watch the eclipse.
        Build an open-topped igloo around yourself creating a personal greenhouse as the solid CO2 returns to a gaseous state trapping the heat where you are standing and prevented the temperature drop.
        (Of course, dry ice is pretty cold so might want to wear a jacket. And maybe have an oxygen tank handy.)

      • Well If you aren’t in the path of totality, there is virtually NO reason to even look at the sun.

        Well there NEVER is a reason to look at the sun with the naked eye or with optical enhancement.

        Why the hell the media think there is something hostile about the sun during an eclipse that isn’t there all the time, I cannot figure.

        Absent totality, there is no reason to either look at or take a picture of the sun, during the eclipse.

        So you will get a very bright orange circle with a very black partially overlapping circle and nothing else will be visible.

        I’m going to make a supreme effort, and punch a nail hole about 3/32-1/8 inch in diameter in a piece of cardboard, and then hold that in front of a sheet of white paper (computer paper) that is in the shadow of the cardboard, and make myself an image of the eclipsing sun that is almost as good as looking at it with those expensive super sun glasses that everyone is being conned into buying.

        Now before I punctuate my cardboard, if am going to use my backyard pin hole camera array to view hundreds of images of the eclipsing sun (and moon).

        My pin hole camera array, in the back yard is actually called …. A Tree ….

        And in the shadow of that tree I will get hundreds of sun images formed by the small gaps between the leaves of the tree, and since it’s a fairly big tall tree my pin hole cameras will have quite a large focal length so I get quite big sun images.

        Now yes it would be very cool (literally and figuratively)to be in the path of totality, and then I would have all of the fancy photographic paraphernalia I can muster to take pictures and see the view. My Questar has a small sun filter (chromium mirror) that I could use, but if I did, some idiot would flip the prism out of the way, and get a blasting eyeful through the finder telescope, so I won’t risk that happening.

        Speaking of cool, and getting cool during an eclipse.

        Baloney ! When the sun goes behind a thick cloud, and its direct radiation gets cut off by the cloud, it gets instantaneously cool; exactly the same coolishness that one gets in a total eclipse of the sun.

        Why do the media spread all this fake news about solar eclipses.

        There are at least five and up to seven eclipses EVERY YEAR !

        They alternate, – solar eclipse-lunar eclipse-solar eclipse-

        No most of them aren’t total ; either kind; but they really aren’t rare.

        And astronomers can eclipse the sun any time they want to, without calling on the moon.

        G

      • george e. smith: I agree. Why would anyone look at the sun directly anytime? The totality is the only unique part and you don’t need special lenses for that.
        I passed on eclipse glasses when too many fakes hit the market. I value my eyesight. A pinhole projector is fine. I’m also not taking pictures, except at totality. I take pictures all the time and it tends to take away from the actual experience.
        Total eclipses occur about every 18 months. There are annular eclipses that are very similar, except the moon doesn’t completely cover the sun so you still see a bright ring, rather than the corona.
        I’m hiding out for the eclipse—already there are people packing in an causing chaos and we’re only on Friday. It’s crazy.
        I have seen the temperature drop 20 degrees in a few minutes when storms come in so it will interesting to see the difference. I’m at 5500 ft so temperature changes quickly on a regular basis.

      • George, maybe for once you might become appreciative of others’ awe. As others say, note the effects… Maybe this simple recurrent phenomenon’ll be seen ten or a ten hundred thou years hence expressed within estuarial mud deposits – once we get to better figuring out the better intricacies of deciphering sediment deposition ages. Oh, wait… Forth, Kincardine, etc… Mmm… It’s up to us to go find the resolution. At least 2017/08/21’s a datum line but whether just passively or actively involved hopefully it’ll be a good ‘un. At 56 N 3E, it’ll be a no-show here so we’re reliant on you good American folks for all the cool stuff…

  1. Some other modeling groups could observe and learn. Hypothesis, model, observation, comparison, correction, repeat. CAGW seems to think step 2 is the only one needed. Oh yeah, and they add “hype” to that mix as well.

    • Huh?

      Hypothesis 1896.

      Increasing C02 will warm the planet.
      First model in 1896 was basically pen and paper. 1D
      Second model was 1930s, still 1D
      3D models in the 80s.. getting many things wrong, observe and fix.

      Then you have 5 major trials… yup IPPC.

      each time they do these exercises the compare with observations, correct and repeat.

      Nobody believe in AGW because of climate models.

      We Knew in 1896 that c02 warms the planet. The question has been “how much”

      The first estimate was 5C per doubling… the estimate has since narrowing.

      That science isnt settled. EVERY IPCC REPORT SAYS IT ISNT SETTLED.

      Its the most important question. Good scientists ( say Nic Lewis ) try to reduce the uncertainty.

      Models can help, But only by ruling out certain values.

      • “Steven Mosher August 18, 2017 at 2:36 pm

        Models can help, But only by ruling out certain values.”

        What rot! Say that to an engineer designing/modelling an aircraft and they’ll laugh at you. Only in climate science can one “rule out certain values” when modelling climate. What a hoot!

      • Walter, somehow the quote, “Do I dare eat a peach” from the same poem seems appropriate to the AGW thingy.

      • Well Walter, since you did not come back yet on the peach quote, it follows with “do I dare disturb the universe”….

      • Walter there will this: “And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
        And for a hundred visions and revisions,:” Does it not speak to climate modelling?

  2. Models are expressions of our knowledge of the physics of the phenomenon. When the models match reality we gain confidence that we are on the right track. So models are not ‘bad’ per se, but rather ‘good’ in the sense that they quantify what we think we know. Without such quantification we can’t say that we know something.

    • Good point. ‘All models are wrong, but some are useful.’ I suspect modeling corona magnetohydrodynamics is much more straightforward than modeling Earth’s climate. The physics is fairly well known (Maxwells equation, Navier-Stokes, and so on) and we have lots of direct observational data. So it will be interesting to see whether what is observed Monday matches well to these model predictions.

    • And if I may say so, Astronomers are particularly good at making models.

      How the hell one can work in a laboratory where all of the knobs one might want to twiddle, are way the hell out there in space, or may not even exist any more, is almost not fathomable.

      How so much information has been gleaned from the electro-magnetic spectrum, to tell us so much about where we have come from and where we are going, is totally wondrous.

      My hat is off to you Dr. S, and I wish you a Merry Eclipsness !

      G (g too)

    • And all of our fictional mathematics describes the behavior of our models exactly; so if the math doesn’t fit the observed reality, we know it must be our models that aren’t quite good enough yet.

      G

  3. The surprise to me seeing a total eclipse in Baie-Comeau in 1972 was how bright the horizon was. It got dark, but looked like sunrise on the entire horizon. It was pretty cloudy so it enhanced the effect.

      • Sheri, computer simulations and models can be useful tools. The better the data, the fewer the variables, the closer they come to reality and so the more useful they are.
        In this case, if the eclipse doesn’t happen then it is as useful as just about all of the climate models.

      • Sheri, see my comment to Lief. Its not so much modeling skills as how closely our understanding of corona magnetohydrodynamics physics reflected in these models matches what will be observed. The better the match, the better will be our ability to predict spaceweath using those models. Predicting a Carrington event before it happens when we have only ~24hours to prepare is a big deal.

      • In the past I designed some electronic devices, none would be possible without ‘modelling’ electronic circuitry starting with a ‘flow chart’ and ending with the circuit diagram.

      • I’m not knocking modeling, just asking if that is what is going on. Modeling in and of itself is not a bad thing.

        ristvan: I guess to me it followed that if the modeling skills were good, that meant we probably understood the phenomena. I had not heard of a Carrington event. I shall have to read more on this. It’s interesting.

  4. Lucky to have seen two total eclipses, first one just under 104% (feb 1961, Monte Negro) and the second 100% (aug 1999, London).
    Unforgettable experience especially the first one, viewed through a candle smoke darkened peace of glass taken out of a small picture frame (got told off for it by my mother), for the second one I had proper set of specs.

    • typo: piece (keyboard misbehaving, some keys don’t make it, then the auto spell checker takes over)

    • Well I have designed combined Analog / Digital silicon integrated circuits containing hundreds of thousands of transistors, from the logic gate level all the way down to the bare metal, and the doping profiles of the semi-conductor layers, and all of that is modeled in terms of the semi-conductor physics of the actual electronic structures, which includes calculations of parasitic capacitances, inductances, and resistances, along with leakage currents and the like; and on the basis of those computer models, hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent making mask sets to process the silicon wafers.

      And after all of that, the final finished packaged hardware ends up working pretty much like all the fiction said it was going to.

      And every fourth person on this planet probably has some lenses and other optics that either I designed, or some HK phooey outfit knocked off my patents to make; because I know that “we” sold well over two billion set of the ones I designed, ourselves.

      You might even have one in your hand right now; I know I do.

      G

      • I should clarify; NO I did not design any of the digital interconnection of gates and the like to form the logic, but I did layout the physical implementation of those transistors and logic gates. I DO NOT do software; only hardware.

        G

      • And also NO I have no idea what is in the modern structures of say and Intel microprocessor chip with its billions of transistors. I stopped designing back when half a micron was a small element, so I don’t have any idea what a seven nanometer element looks like.

        G

      • Hi big G
        Ah yes, you are indeed personally responsible for extinction of the true ‘warm-blooded’ dinosaurs: orticons, vidicons, plumbicons, saticons; did I miss any?

    • It wasn’t during an eclipse but I remember when I was a kid squinting and looking directly at the sun.
      Good thing nobody knew I desperately needed glasses. (It didn’t focus enough to cause damage that I know of.)
      If I’d had glasses back then I guess I might not need them now.
      Glad I didn’t have them.

      PS What I remember seeing was a bright spot with a black crescent repeatedly circling it.

      • Seen already two partials>50% plus one near total. Done already both the candle soot glass and white cardboard pinhole camera things. Dad taught me both. MS physics ( microwaves) and MS meteorology (‘both same school, same year, Air Force sponsored full ride). We were a science oriented military family then. He lies at Arlington with the other neck,order.I have 13 issued US patents.
        This total eclipse is overhyped, only because its path traverses the entire US, a centennial first. In all other ways, it is ordinary.

    • I prefer the old type (non reactive) welding helmet lens. #14 shade or better. I watched my only total wearing a welding helmet.

  5. Sunday I’m headed to South Carolina with my cameras, telescope, & solar filters. Been rehearsing for a month. I don’t have $10,000 worth of equipment, but if the corona is really going to look like that I can’t wait to try to get some shots of it.

    please, please, I hope the weather holds out.

  6. However grand the forthcoming total solar eclipse is, it is unlikely to eclipse the USA’s political events.

  7. However grand the forthcoming total solar eclipse is, it is unlikely to eclipse the USA’s political events.

  8. The simulation looks cool, and I hope it matches what we see. The usefulness of theories is how good they are at predicting the behavior of the system they are trying to understand. The closer the match, the better the model and theory hold up.

    That said, watching a simulation isn’t quite the same as seeing it first hand. The simulation doesn’t let you see the stars and planets that become visible while the sun is covered. It doesn’t give you the opportunity to see what looks like a sunset in 360 degrees. The overall feeling is surreal. That was my experience from the 1991 eclipse in Baja California.

    As for looking at the sun, I agree with those who will punch a hole in cardboard and project it on paper or the ground. During the annular eclipse in Utah, I was using the welder’s glass and it was too blocked out to see it very well. Luckily there were people who had projection equipment to put it on a white screen. That worked really well, and we could even see sunspots. You don’t get that detail from a cardboard hole arrangement, but if the better equipment isn’t there, I’d use the cardboard rather than the glass.

    • You can get a nice, clean hole with good edges by poking a slim needle through a piece of tinfoil.

    • You were using too dark of lens it sound like. A #14 welders lens is the lightest recommended for viewing the eclipse. Try that. It worked great for me years ago.

      The old type nonreactive lens is what you want. They aren’t expensive.

  9. This is just a bit off topic, but not too far I hope, since the observations discussed in the article deal with prediction of solar storm events. There’s a question at the end of my remark.

    I am a cochlear implant recipient. I have concerns about the effect on my device from an EMP induced by solar storm activity, a la Carrington Event.

    The electrode array is threaded into the cochlea and extends up the snail shell to tickle the auditory receptors at various frequency locations along the helix, lowest tones being farthest in. The other end of that cable terminates in a processor located under my scalp after passing through a tunnel the surgeon bored in my mastoid. Digital signals from the external device behind my ear are transmitted by induction through my scalp between internal and external coils with magnets used on both coils to center the devices.

    My question is whether that wiring and circuitry embedded in my head is vulnerable to a Carrington Event? I could fabricate a Faraday Cage and crawl into it, given sufficient warning. This is a nontrivial question for me, naturally. I have an unfinished rat proofed garbage dumpster covered with wire mesh screening that would seem to be a good start for a protective cage. All thoughts appreciated.

    • My question is whether that wiring and circuitry embedded in my head is vulnerable to a Carrington Event
      The answer is most likely NO, as the damage is done by induced electric current in long linear conductors which you probably do not have in your ears.

    • Short simple answer. Yes it is vulnerable. And a Faraday cage would save the day.
      Hint, use the finest preferrably copper mesh for open parts of the cage that you can find. Solid magnetic steel doesmfine for the rest. Radiation >0.5 mesh leaks in. I once managed a production Faraday cage for tuning RFID receivers, and got taught this by my engineers. Why copper? Because is much less expensive than but only a bit less conductive than silver or gold. Maxwell’s equations rule. So, fine copper wire screen is the standard for testing Faraday cages for spurious cell phone transmissions and such. You can purchase such mesh on line.

    • Leif and Ristvan, my thanks to both of you. I’ve heard both variations, i.e., length of conductor matters vs. simply use a non-leaking cage.

      The dumpster (never used) is shrouded in 1/4″ galv steel mesh, but continuity could vary since it was only intended to keep rodents out of the garbage. When I get serious about this, or Kimmy in NK gets more threatening, I will rebuild it and use copper mesh with all joins overlapped and electrically continuous.

      Not to challenge your advice, Leif, but why, if long conductor exposure is critical, are we subjected to all the doom and gloom predictions of failing vehicles littering the highways and all electronic devices going dead in the event of an EMP?

      Thanks again to both of you.

      • all electronic devices going dead in the event of an EMP
        Solar storms do not produce the sharp EMP that for instance a nuclear blast does, for the simple reason that the solar effect takes place over much longer times [minutes instead of seconds].

  10. Leif, the EMG impulse problem is not only long linear conductors. It is short very skinny conductors between very small transistors on modern chips. The Carrington telegraph event has little to do with EMP disruption of fine scale modern semiconductor electronics. It is not as if the US military had not already tested EMP pulses. You have a cochlear implant, get a Faraday cage.

  11. I have to wonder how many enclaves are being told that if they don’t conform to whatever, the leader will
    make the sun go away. Well, it used to work!!!!

  12. Why not just watch video of past full occlusion eclipse, instead of some climate liar computer model shiite? They are free on youtube.

  13. Better yet!!!! Use your HDMI Big Screen TV and watch it live. Still free and you will not be giving any credence or support to climate liar computer model shiite. Win-win.

  14. I wonder if any of the climate models have been exercised to determine their response to the eclipse. It wouldn’t be difficult, and we would have a genuine experimental situation on our hands. Have the models predict what they will, and then see if reality matches.

    Rough predictions show that temperatures within the 90% occultation path may drop as much as 20 degrees F. I asked one lecturer on the eclipse whether there are historical records showing increased cloud formation in humid lands exposed to a total eclipse. He was unaware of any. But that big – and sudden – a drop in insolation should produce some response in the models, which can then be tested in reality.

    Ham radio operators are doing massive propagation experiments. No one is paying them. I hope climate scientists are doing the same thing.

    • “I wonder if any of the climate models have been exercised to determine their response to the eclipse.”

      Such testing of the climate models brings to mind a quiz question from freshman physics about 60 years ago: Calculate the de Broglie wavelength of a 10 ton dump truck.

      Funny how some of us can remember things like that and not what we had for breakfast.

      • After \9/11, when aircraft and their contrails didn’t exist over American skies for three weeks, climatologists studied the resulting temperature anomalies and came up with “significant” findings. Contrails are nothing compared to the enormous reduction in insolation of a total eclipse. The scale comparison between this and your de Broglie example is invalid.

  15. If one were to use a color code to indicate the frequency of total solar eclipse paths on the face of the earth, – say over the past million years – what would it look like?

    If one were to eliminate perturbations such as the wobble of the earth’s axis, would the frequency plot show some kind of symmetry? Would it be symmetrical with respect to earth’s equator? Does the frequency drop off towards the poles? Are there some spots on the earth’s surface that have never seen a total eclipse?

  16. Re: Carrington Event


    Greenwich Observatory magnetometer traces (horizontal force on top and declination on the bottom; the two traces are offset by 12 h) during the time of the solar flare on 1 September 1859. The red arrows indicate the magnetic crochet or SFE. The writing at the bottom in the red box says “The above movement was nearly coincidental in time with Carrington’s observation of a bright eruption on the Sun. Disc[overed] over a sunspot. (H.W.N., 2 Dec 1938)”. H.W.N. refers to Harold W. Newton, Maunder’s successor as the sunspot expert at Greenwich. (From Cliver & Keer 2012, with permission of Solar Physics.)

    Articles in mass media often exaggerate or underplay the possible effect and consequences. Dr. Svalgaard’s colleague E. W. Cliver wrote a detailed analysis and reassessment of the Carrington event available here

  17. These simulations should provide some solace to those who will have spent considerable time and money to travel to a site along the path of totality only to find their view obscured by clouds.

  18. Q: Why is the Moon from our perspective almost precisely the size of the solar disc?
    A: So the aliens can tear North America apart with their Dark Ray.

    Nice to see Carrington Event mumblings here, though the ‘ol ‘helps astronomers better understand’ disclaimer makes for a thin gruel of debunk as some folk arrive here convinced that an eclipse event could somehow be connected to one. Alex Jones for one is pushing y2Karrington. Another yarn spun with real thread is the temperatures expected to plunge as click-baitey news goo designed to make the shallow pond crowd imagine that they might be flash-frozen in place with buttercups still in their mouths.

    Carrington fans will enjoy taking a delightful side-trip into the original 1973 short story Inconstant Moon by Larry Niven that is begging to be made into a movie… though the Outer Limits 1996 TV series covered the story S02E12. At the risk of being a buzzkill, I often point out that unlike in 1859… there is no modern long-haul communications wire in use similar to early transcontinental telegraph to resonate thus, we do it with fiber, microwave and (hardened) satellite. The only vulnerable system is the electric grid itself, which is comprised of individual elements that routinely withstand direct lightning strikes. Disruption is possible but at Carrington levels it is not a slate-wiper.

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