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Sun on Fire, Unleashes 3 More Major Flares
Space.com ^ | 11/3/03 | Robert Britt

Posted on 11/03/2003 1:34:54 PM PST by Tumbleweed_Connection

The Sun cut loose with three severe flares in less than 24 hours through Monday morning, bringing to nine the number of major eruptions in less than two weeks.

Scientists have never witnessed a string of activity like this.

Colorful aurora are expected to grace the skies at high latitudes and possibly into lower portions of the United States and Europe over the next two or three nights. Satellites and power grids could once again be put at risk.

Early Monday, Paal Brekke, deputy project manager of the SOHO spacecraft, was still digesting the significance of the three additional outbursts on top of two back-to-back monster flares Oct. 28 and 29.

Images

A major solar eruption early on Nov. 3, 2003, flung a cloud of expanding, hot gas into space. The myriad white spots are protons ahead of the storm slamming into the spacecraft's imager. Credit: NASA/ESA/SOHO

A space storm can only achieve full potential if its magnetic field is oriented south, opposite to that of Earth's protective magnetosphere which always points north.

"I think the last week will go into the history books as one of the most dramatic periods of solar activity we have seen in modern time," Brekke told SPACE.com.

None of the latest eruptions was aimed directly at Earth, but glancing blows are expected.

By the numbers

The flares this week began with an X8 event at 12:25 p.m. ET Sunday. On this scale, all X-storms are severe, and the number indicates the degree of severity. An X3 flare erupted at 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

Reports of the third flare are preliminary. It left the Sun at 4:55 a.m. Monday and is estimated to be an X4. The trio of outbursts comes within a week of the unprecedented, back-to-back severe flares rated X17 and X10.

The first four flares in this long, amazing series date back to Oct. 22 and were ranked less than X2.

All flares of this magnitude are capable of disrupting communications systems and power grids and harming satellites. Two Japanese satellite failures and a power outage in Sweden were blamed on the first six storms.

The new flares were accompanied by coronal mass ejections of charged particles that take anywhere from 18 hours to two or three days to reach Earth. These CMEs represent the brunt of the storm unleashed by a flare.

A storm's precise strength, however, cannot be known until about 30 minutes before it strikes and depends on the orientation of its magnetic field. If that field is southward -- opposite the direction of Earth's north-pointing magnetic field -- then the potential is greatest for accelerating the local particles that can then damage satellites and fuel aurora. More aurora

Scientists said the eruptions will generate increased auroras, the colorful Northern and Southern Lights excited by fast-moving particles, beginning midday Monday and into Tuesday and beyond. The lights shine because particles excite gas molecules in the atmosphere.

The chance of severe geomagnetic storming -- the root of auroras -- at middle latitudes is 30 percent Monday and 50 percent Tuesday, according to NOAA's Space Environment Center. The precise extent of the aurora at any moment can't be predicted, but it can be seen in real time with SPACE.com's Aurora Cam.

The fist flare Sunday was generated by Sunspot 486, which was the site of last week's major storms. The one late Sunday came from Sunspot 488, which is huge but has not been a major player until now. Monday's flare also leapt from Sunspot 488.

Both sunspots are about to rotate off the right side of the Sun's face, so their associated CMEs were not aimed squarely at Earth. However, these clouds of hot gas expand as they race into space at up to 5 million mph, so at least some effect at Earth is predicted.

Sunspots are dark, cooler regions of the solar surface. They are areas of pent-up magnetic activity, caps on upwelling matter and energy that can blow at any moment.

No scientist can recall nine X-class flares ever occurring in a 12-day period. More major flares are possible this week, forecasters said.



TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: climatechange; signsandwonders; solarflare; solarflare2003; solarflares; sun; techindex
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1 posted on 11/03/2003 1:34:56 PM PST by Tumbleweed_Connection
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
"Sun on Fire." Understatement of the day.
2 posted on 11/03/2003 1:35:51 PM PST by My2Cents ("Bush reminds me of Churchill...." -- Sen. Zell Miller, D-Georgia)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Libertarianize the GOP; Sabertooth; Free the USA
"Do not meddle in
the affairs of Wizards,
for they are subtle,
and quick to anger!"
Summoning the usual suspects...

3 posted on 11/03/2003 1:37:32 PM PST by sourcery ("Don't make me get my Ring!")
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
We're doomed.
4 posted on 11/03/2003 1:39:04 PM PST by truthkeeper
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
I wonder how they percieve this in Mecca?
5 posted on 11/03/2003 1:39:24 PM PST by cmsgop ( "Love For Sale",.."Yummy Appetizing Love For Sale")
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To: cmsgop
"I wonder how they percieve this in Mecca?"

As backward as they are they probably aren't even aware of it.
6 posted on 11/03/2003 1:40:45 PM PST by Kerberos (Socialism, it's not just a liberal thang anymore.)
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
THE SUN IS GOING SUPERNOVA!

Earth has 8 minutes to continue to sustain life.

Details at 11.
7 posted on 11/03/2003 1:41:24 PM PST by alloysteel
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
I have a books published about five years ago predicting this period of increased solar activity. Unfortunately for the author he also predicted widespread failures of satellite communication. Fortunately for the rest of us he seems to be wrong.
8 posted on 11/03/2003 1:44:25 PM PST by js1138
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Fire
Crazy World Of Arthur Brown

I am the god of hell fire and I bring you:
Fire, I'll take you to burn.
Fire, I'll take you to learn.
I'll see you burn!

You fought hard and you saved and learned,
but all of it's going to burn.
And your mind, your tiny mind,
you know you've really been so blind.
Now 's your time burn your mind.
You're falling far too far behind.
Oh no, oh no, oh no, you gonna burn!

Fire, to destroy all you've done.
Fire, to end all you've become.
I'll feel you burn!

You've been living like a little girl,
in the middle of your little world.
And your mind, your tiny mind,
you know you've really been so blind.
Now 's your time burn your mind,
you're falling far too far behind.
9 posted on 11/03/2003 1:45:22 PM PST by Hanging Chad
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
It's 78 degrees right now in Cincinnati.

Got rid of the leaves and harvested the basil. Now I'm making pesto for the winter. I'd love to be outdoors, a month from now, in shorts like I was today.

Go Sun, go.

10 posted on 11/03/2003 1:45:55 PM PST by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: alloysteel
Earth has 8 minutes to continue to sustain life.

It's Miller Time!

11 posted on 11/03/2003 1:46:28 PM PST by My2Cents ("Bush reminds me of Churchill...." -- Sen. Zell Miller, D-Georgia)
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To: alloysteel
any chance this flare-up is evidence of a pattern of sun activity over the last cycle (we're nearing the nadir now) that impacts the supposed global warming hypotheses? Anyone know if variation/trend in solar radiation (atmospheric absorption, re-radiation from earth's surface, changes to tropo- and other -spheres) ever gets into the modelling of the global warming proponents?


12 posted on 11/03/2003 1:46:49 PM PST by Strident
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To: alloysteel
THE SUN IS GOING SUPERNOVA!

Bush Environmental Policies to Blame, Scientists State

13 posted on 11/03/2003 1:47:05 PM PST by CFC__VRWC (AIDS, abortion, euthanasia - don't liberals just kill ya?)
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To: Zuben Elgenubi
55 degrees currently in Sacramento.
14 posted on 11/03/2003 1:47:05 PM PST by My2Cents ("Bush reminds me of Churchill...." -- Sen. Zell Miller, D-Georgia)
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To: alloysteel
THE SUN IS GOING SUPERNOVA!

Earth has 8 minutes to continue to sustain life.

But first a breaking development in the Laci Peterson case---

15 posted on 11/03/2003 1:47:31 PM PST by Semper Paratus
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
Where's the Pepto-Bismol?
16 posted on 11/03/2003 1:48:48 PM PST by Thud
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
This is Bush's fault!
17 posted on 11/03/2003 1:49:01 PM PST by gorush
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To: My2Cents
"3 More Major Flares... "

Let's have another MAJOR one - and let's get over with this 'world'....
18 posted on 11/03/2003 1:49:50 PM PST by traumer (Even paranoids have enemies)
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To: Semper Paratus
re #15

LOL...I was gonna send the same type of post...Ya beat me hands down (like your's better)

19 posted on 11/03/2003 1:51:37 PM PST by Michael Barnes
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
I thought you were talking about Sun Micro. :D
20 posted on 11/03/2003 1:51:39 PM PST by Frohickey
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
Sun on Fire, Unleashes 3 More Major Flares

Bush to blame. Women, Children, Minorities, and Puppies to suffer the most.

Really, what's the sun's freakin' problem? What'd we do to piss it off like this?

21 posted on 11/03/2003 1:53:10 PM PST by ItsOurTimeNow ("Forth now, and fear no darkness!")
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To: My2Cents
Commrade Dean lashes out at Bush for no clear Sunspot policy! He proposes pulling out of the Universe and bringing in the United Galaxy. Wes Clark nods in agreement.

Pray for GW and the Truth

22 posted on 11/03/2003 1:54:31 PM PST by bray ( Old Glory Stands for Freedom)
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To: alloysteel
Earth has 8 minutes to continue to sustain life.

How does that affect the NFL schedule and the Democratic Presidential debates?

23 posted on 11/03/2003 1:54:46 PM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Uday and Qusay and Idi-ay are ead-day)
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To: CFC__VRWC
New York Times Headline,

WORLD TO END TODAY
Women, Minorities Disparately Impacted, Experts Say
Daschle Blames Administration Policies.
24 posted on 11/03/2003 1:56:17 PM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Uday and Qusay and Idi-ay are ead-day)
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection

25 posted on 11/03/2003 1:56:21 PM PST by per loin
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To: alloysteel
LOL!
26 posted on 11/03/2003 1:57:04 PM PST by null and void
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To: Zuben Elgenubi
It's 78 degrees right now in Cincinnati.

It's 38 degrees in Pocatello. Occasional snow showers today. Tomorrow night we are expecting to drop to 5 degrees. Nothing like single digits to get your attention. We'll be snuggled in front of the wood burning stove with a DVD or satellite movie. No grass to mow either :-)

The aurora was pretty good last week. The whole northern sky was fluorescent green.

27 posted on 11/03/2003 1:57:32 PM PST by Myrddin
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To: Jeremiah Jr; 2sheep; Prodigal Daughter; TrueBeliever9; Sir Gawain
Because of the Aurora, The Rock was cut off from the continent.
28 posted on 11/03/2003 1:59:10 PM PST by Thinkin' Gal (<541>)
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To: My2Cents
"55 degrees currently in Sacramento."

Beautiful area of the country. We have some field trials just north of Modesto. 55 is ok.

29 posted on 11/03/2003 2:04:49 PM PST by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: Myrddin
"The aurora was pretty good last week. The whole northern sky was fluorescent green."

THAT would be worth a few degrees of temp. When the aurora goes green, it's like curtains of light. Beautiful.

30 posted on 11/03/2003 2:06:31 PM PST by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: bray
"Commrade Dean lashes out at Bush for no clear Sunspot policy! He proposes pulling out of the Universe and bringing in the United Galaxy. Wes Clark nods in agreement."


....and Kerry casually mentions that he's a Viet Nam vet.
31 posted on 11/03/2003 2:08:09 PM PST by Graybeard58
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To: Myrddin
The only Northern Lights we see here in N. TX is from burning gas wells on OK.
32 posted on 11/03/2003 2:08:54 PM PST by smokinleroy
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To: alloysteel
THE SUN IS GOING SUPERNOVA!

Earth has 8 minutes to continue to sustain life.

WOMEN AND MINORITIES HARDEST HIT!
33 posted on 11/03/2003 2:08:59 PM PST by Orbiting_Rosie's_Head
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To: bray
Dean favors bringing in the United Federation of Planets.
34 posted on 11/03/2003 2:10:55 PM PST by My2Cents ("Bush reminds me of Churchill...." -- Sen. Zell Miller, D-Georgia)
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To: alloysteel
THE SUN IS GOING SUPERNOVA!

Earth has 8 minutes to continue to sustain life.

Women and minorities hardest hit!

But it makes a dandy excuse for not taking out the trash.

35 posted on 11/03/2003 2:10:59 PM PST by Poohbah ("Would you mind not shooting at the thermonuclear weapons?" -- Major Vic Deakins, USAF)
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection

36 posted on 11/03/2003 2:12:41 PM PST by My2Cents ("Bush reminds me of Churchill...." -- Sen. Zell Miller, D-Georgia)
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To: Graybeard58
Yeah, and Sen Dashole just held a press conference where he said that he was, "...deeply, deeply troubled," and demanded a Special Presecutor to determine President Bush's responsibility for the sun spots.
37 posted on 11/03/2003 2:13:27 PM PST by Tacis
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To: traumer
"3 More Major Flares..."

It would appear that the sun needs a good dose of Preparation H....

38 posted on 11/03/2003 2:14:01 PM PST by truthandjustice1
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
I wouldn't count on any auroras; one of them MIGHT have sorta been pointed towards earth but the others apparently weren't.
39 posted on 11/03/2003 2:15:57 PM PST by John H K
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To: Strident
ever gets into the modelling of the global warming proponents?

It gets into scientific investigations, but not into models of political creatures. Would increased solar activity disrupt their thought processes?

40 posted on 11/03/2003 2:17:13 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: traumer
From Live's "White, Discussion"

all this discussion
though politically correct
is dead beyond destruction
though it leaves me quite erect
and as the final sunset rolls behind the earth
and the clock is finally dead
i'll look at you, you'll look at me
and we'll cry alot
but this will be what we said
this will be what we said

"look where all this talking got us baby"

41 posted on 11/03/2003 2:20:30 PM PST by GO65
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To: Graybeard58
....and Kerry casually mentions that he's a Viet Nam vet.

And Edwards father worked at the mill before the sun had spots.

42 posted on 11/03/2003 2:20:38 PM PST by Dolphy
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To: Howlin; Ed_NYC; MonroeDNA; widgysoft; Springman; Timesink; dubyaismypresident; Grani; coug97; ...
Status
Status
Just damn.

If you want on the new list, FReepmail me. This IS a high-volume PING list...

43 posted on 11/03/2003 2:23:58 PM PST by mhking
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To: My2Cents
Here is a shot of the outburst, pretty incredible!<>
44 posted on 11/03/2003 2:30:34 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Davis needs to get out of Arnoold's Office)
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To: *tech_index; Salo; MizSterious; shadowman99; Sparta; freedom9; martin_fierro; PatriotGames; ...
OFFICIAL BUMP(TOPIC)LIST
45 posted on 11/03/2003 2:31:31 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Davis needs to get out of Arnoold's Office)
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
So - how long until some enviro-idiot tries to find a way to put the blame on GW and mankind as a whole (with main focus on the US)?
46 posted on 11/03/2003 2:35:36 PM PST by TheBattman ("It's a feature, not a bug....")
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To: ItsOurTimeNow
Really, what's the sun's freakin' problem? What'd we do to piss it off like this?

It's not pissed at us. This is nothing. Trust me, you'll know when it's pissed at us. I just hope the manufacturers of our military and commercial satellites have anticipated just how bad a full-fledged temper tantrum can be. Anything worse than that and we'll be to screwed to worry about it.

47 posted on 11/03/2003 2:57:41 PM PST by Orangedog (Soccer-Moms are the biggest threat to your freedoms and the republic !)
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To: My2Cents
"55 degrees currently in Sacramento."

At 5:10PM, it's 82.9 degrees in Mobile. Warm for this time of year.

48 posted on 11/03/2003 3:00:04 PM PST by blam
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To: Orangedog
This was posted on the last flare thread, sorry I don't recall who posted it:

Isaiah 30:26
Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.
49 posted on 11/03/2003 3:00:22 PM PST by null and void
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To: null and void
you find the words "first, last, smallest, largest and ever recorded" especially interesting then: you might want to read and have your say here
50 posted on 11/03/2003 3:05:45 PM PST by Truth666
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