STRONG GEOMAGNETIC STORM: Knowing that a solar wind stream was heading
for Earth, forecasters predicted a geomagnetic storm last night.
However, they didn't predict it would be so strong, a G3-class event.
During the peak of this surprising space storm, Northern Lights spilled
over the Canadian border into more than half a dozen US states.
Visit Spaceweather.com for pictures of the display and updates as the solar wind continues to blow.
Above: Auroras over Fairbanks, Alaska, on Sept. 28, 2017.
"Indescribable!" says photographer Sacha Layos. "Truly one of the best
shows I've ever seen." Browse the Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery for
STORM PREDICTED: NOAA forecasters say there is a 65% chance of polar
geomagnetic storms on Sept. 27th, increasing to 80% on Sept. 28th, as a
stream of high-speed solar wind buffets our planet's magnetic field.
Isolated periods of moderate G2-class storming could spark Northern
Lights in US states as far south as, e.g., New York, Idaho and
Visit Spaceweather.com for more information and updates.
Above: Auroras over Troms county, Norway, on Sept. 24th. Photo credit:
Horia Bogda. Browse the Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery for the latest
ENCORE: Once again the
aliens have landed … in theaters. It’s no spoiler to say that the latest
cinematic sci-fi, Arrival, involves
extraterrestrials visiting Earth.
But for some folks, the film’s premise is hardly shocking.
They’re convinced that the aliens have already come. But is there any
proof that aliens are here now or that they landed long ago to, for example,
help build the Egyptian pyramids?
Meanwhile, SETI scientists are deploying their big antennas in an
effort to establish that extraterrestrials exist far beyond Earth.
Find out why – even if E.T. is out there – one scientist says
making contact is a long shot, while another pioneering scientist involved in
SETI remains hopeful … and could aliens be responsible for the peculiar
behavior of two star systems now making the news?
SPACECRAFT BUZZES EARTH EN ROUTE TO ASTEROID: NASA's OSIRIS-REx
spacecraft is going to fly past Earth on Sept. 22nd only 10,711 miles
away. The daring maneuver will slingshot the probe toward Bennu, a
large asteroid that could threaten our planet in the next century.
OSIRIS-REx is going to take a closer look at this potentially hazardous
space rock and, if all goes as planned, return samples of it to Earth.
At closest approach, the spacecraft could become bright enough for
advanced amateur astronomers to photograph using backyard telescopes.
Observing tips and more information are highlighted on today's edition of Spaceweather.com.
Above: The ground track of OSIRIS-REx's Sept. 22nd
flyby. During the hours around closest approach, the spacecraft should
shine with as much reflected sunlight as a 9th to 11th magnitude star.
Changed your computer
password recently? We all try to stay one step ahead of the hackers, but
the fear factor is increasing. The risks can range from stolen social
security numbers to sabotaging a national power grid.
Sixty years ago, when
hacking meant nosing around the telephone network, it seemed innocent
enough. And not all modern hacking has criminal intent. Today,
there are biohackers who experiment with implanted electronic devices to
improve themselves, and geoengineers who propose to hack the climate. But
in our efforts to cool an overheated planet, might we be going down a dangerous
In this second of two
episodes on hacking, the modern variations of “hacking,” and their
consequences. Plus: when does hacking a system improve it?
Attorney, chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Crisis and Risk Management
practice. Assistant Attorney General for national security during
the Obama administration.
ALIGNMENT OF PLANETS: Set your alarm for dawn. Three planets and the
crescent Moon are gathering for a beautiful alignment in the eastern
sky before sunrise. In the mornings ahead, the Moon will hop from Venus
to Mars and Mercury, forming a series of beautiful conjunctions, while
Venus has its own close encounter with bright blue star Regulus.
SOLAR WIND SPARKS GEOMAGNETIC STORM:
Earth is entering a stream of high-speed solar wind flowing from a hole
in the sun's atmosphere. First contact with the stream on Sept. 14th
produced a moderately strong (G2-class) geomagnetic storm, ongoing at
the time of this alert. If the storm continues, high-latitude sky
watchers could see auroras after local nightfall on Sept. 14/15.
Above: Spaceweather.com reader
Glen Wurden witnessed the onset of today's solar wind stream from the
window seat of an airplane flying over Greenland. Monitor the RealtimeAurora Photo Gallery for more sightings.
LEVEL RADIATION EVENT: Sunday's powerful X8-class solar flare from
departing sunspot AR2673 accelerated a swarm of protons toward Earth,
producing a strong solar radiation storm and a "ground level event"
(GLE). High-energy particles normally held at bay by Earth's atmosphere
and magnetic field penetrated all the way to the ground on Sept. 10th.
A leading analyst of GLEs says that radiation dose rates onboard
commercial jets flying at high latitudes may have briefly doubled
during the episode.
Learn more about GLEs and what caused this solar flare to be so effective on today's edition of Spaceweather.com
Above: The 'snow' in this Sept. 10th image from a coronagraph onboard
the orbiting Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is caused by a
blizzard of energetic particles striking the spacecraft's digital
camera. The solar radiation storm was so strong, some of these
particles reached the surface of Earth.
X-CLASS SOLAR FLARE: Departing sunspot AR2673 erupted again on
Sept.10th (1606 UT), producing a major X8-class solar flare. A
moderately strong solar radiation storm is underway as protons
accelerated by the blast swarm around our planet. Shortwave radio
blackouts over the Americas and around Earth's poles have also been
observed in the aftermath of the explosion.
Long before cyber criminals were stealing ATM passwords, phone
phreaks were tapping into the telephone system. Their motivation was not
monetary, but the thrill of defeating a complex, invisible network. Today
“hacking” can apply to cyberwarfare, biological tinkering, or even
geoengineering. Often it has negative connotations, but the original
definition of “hacking” was something else.
In this first of two episodes on hacking, we look at the
original practitioners – the teenagers and mavericks who hacked Ma Bell for
thrills - and the difference between hacking for fun and for profit.
STORM WARNING: A CME has just hit Earth's magnetic field (Sept. 7th at
~2300 UT). This is the debris from Wednesday's decade-class X9 solar
flare. It arrived earlier than expected, confirming that the solar
storm cloud is both fast and potent. The CME appears to contain strong
south-pointing magnetic fields that typically do a good job of igniting
geomagnetic storms. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for
auroras in bright moonlight.
Visit Spaceweather.com for updates and more information about this developing event
Above: An outburst of Northern Lights over Tromso, Norway, on Sept. 5th
(photo credit: Tom Arne Moldenaes). Tonight's display should be even
better as Earth passes through the wake of a potent CME. Monitor the
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery for sightings.
SOLAR FLARE: On Sept. 6, 2017, at 12:02UT, active sunspot AR2673
unleashed an X9.3-class solar flare--the strongest solar flare in more
than a decade. The explosion also hurled a CME into space, and possibly
toward Earth. Analysis of the event is still underway.
Visit Spaceweather.com for updates and more information about the historical context of today's remarkable flare.
Above: The extreme UV flash from today's X9-class flare. Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory
SOLAR STORM IS COMING: Yesterday, during a flurry of M-class solar
flares, sunspot AR2673 hurled a CME toward Earth. NOAA forecasters say
the cloud is likely to arrive late on Sept. 6th, causing
moderately-strong (G2-class) geomagnetic storms with isolated periods
of strong (G3-class) storming on Sept. 6th and 7th.
Spaceweather.com to view the aurora forecast and a movie of the CME
leaving the sun.
Above: The source of the incoming solar storm is huge
sunspot AR2673, shown here in a Sept. 5th photo taken by amateur
astronomer Philippe Tosi of Nîmes, France. An image of Earth was
inserted for scale. More pictures of this sunspot may be found in the Space Weather Photo Gallery.
Philippe TOSI on September 5, 2017 @ FRANCE - Nîmes
GENESIS: Two big sunspot groups are now facing Earth. Behemoth AR2674
has been growing for days, while newcomer AR2673 has suddenly
quadrupled in size, with multiple dark cores breaching the surface of
the sun in just the past 24 hours. The rapid development of these
regions could herald Earth-directed flares in the days ahead.
ENCORE: We know how the
stars shine, but how do you make a star? We take an all-night
ride on a high-flying jet – an airborne observatory called SOFIA – to watch
astronomers investigate how a star is born.
As for how the universe was born, we know about the Big Bang but
modern physics suggests that similar cosmic explosions may be happening all the
time, and even hint that we could – in principle – create a new universe in a
laboratory. What does this mean, and how could we do it?