A research team led by Imperial College London has presented in a new study that Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) or solar storms could be more extreme than previously believed when they “slipstream” each other or when two such events follow each other. Modeling of an extreme space weather event that missed the Earth narrowly in 2012 shows that it could have been worse if another one occurred.
Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) are explosions of vast amounts of magnetized material from the Sun, which travel at high speeds and release a large amount of energy in a short period. When the CMEs reach the Earth, they trigger auroras, but they can also disrupt satellites and communications.
The most extreme of space weather events are likely to be catastrophic, causing power blackouts that would damage transformers, and it could take years to repair. Therefore, precise monitoring and forecasting are important to reduce possible damage.
The research team analyzed a large CME that happened on July 23, 2012, which narrowly missed the Earth by a couple of days. It traveled at around 2 250 km/s (1 400 mps), making it comparable to one of the biggest events on record– the 1859 Carrington event.
“The 23 July 2012 event is the most extreme space weather event of the space age, and if this event struck the Earth, the consequences could cause technological blackouts and severely disrupt society, as we are ever more reliant on modern technologies for our day-to-day lives,” said lead author Dr. Ravindra Desai from the Department of Physics at Imperial.
“We find however that this event could actually have been even more extreme– faster and more intense– if it had been launched several days earlier directly behind another event.”
The team studied one of the possible causes to identify what made the storm so extreme, and determined that it was the release of another CME — on July 19, just a few days before — that ‘cleared’ the path for another.
CMEs travel faster than the ambient solar wind, the stream of charged particles constantly flowing from the sun. This means the solar wind exerts drag on the traveling CME, slowing it down.
However, if a previous CME has recently passed through, the solar wind will be affected in such a way that it will not slow down the subsequent CME as much. This is similar to how race car drivers ‘slipstream’ behind one another to gain a speed advantage.
The July 23 event. Image credit: NASA/STEREO
The team developed a model that accurately represented the traits of the July 23 event, then simulated what would happen if it had happened earlier or later, or closer to the July 19 event.
The researchers found that by the time of the July 23 event, the solar wind had recovered from the July 19 event, thus, the previous event had a small impact. However, the model showed that if the latter event happened earlier– nearer the July 19 event– it could have been more extreme and could have possibly reached up to 2 750 km/s (1 700 mps).
“We show that the phenomenon of ‘solar wind preconditioning’, where an initial CME causes a subsequent CME to travel faster, is important for magnifying extreme space weather events,” said co-author Han Zhang.
“Our model results, showing the magnitude of the effect and how long the effect lasts, can contribute to current space weather forecasting efforts.”
“There have been previous instances of successive solar storms bombarding the Earth, such as the Halloween Storms of 2003,” co-author Emma Davies added.
“During this period, the sun produced many solar flares, with accompanying CMEs of speeds around 2 000 km/s. These events damaged satellites and communication systems, caused aircraft to be re-routed, and a power outage in Sweden.”
“There is always the possibility of similar or worse scenarios occurring this next solar cycle, therefore accurate models for prediction are vital to helping mitigate their effects.”
“Three-Dimensional Simulations of Solar Wind Preconditioning and the 23 July 2012 Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejection” – Desai, R. T. et al. – Solar Physics – DOI: 10.1007/s11207-020-01700-5 – OPEN ACCESS
Predicting the large-scale eruptions from the solar corona and their propagation through interplanetary space remains an outstanding challenge in solar- and helio-physics research. In this article, we describe three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the inner heliosphere leading up to and including the extreme interplanetary coronal mass ejection (ICME) of 23 July 2012, developed using the code PLUTO. The simulations are driven using the output of coronal models for Carrington rotations 2125 and 2126 and, given the uncertainties in the initial conditions, are able to reproduce an event of comparable magnitude to the 23 July ICME, with similar velocity and density profiles at 1 au. The launch time of this event is then varied with regards to an initial 19 July ICME and the effects of solar wind preconditioning are found to be significant for an event of this magnitude and to decrease over a time-window consistent with the ballistic refilling of the depleted heliospheric sector. These results indicate that the 23 July ICME was mostly unaffected by events prior, but would have traveled even faster had it erupted closer in time to the 19 July event where it would have experienced even lower drag forces. We discuss this systematic study of solar wind preconditioning in the context of space weather forecasting.
With huge spikes in the Schumann Resonance-Earth’s heartbeat-plus the largest solar flare since 2017, the triple June/July eclipse gateway is now wide open and already the seismic ripples are palpable. June 5th delivers a penumbral lunar eclipse on a sensitive point in the June 4 – July 22 Mercury Max cycle with a strong geophysical shock window between June 1 – 8.
Watch for seismic activity, including solar flares, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The increased magnetics can fritz your nervous and etheric systems, so to avoid feeling tired but wired, drink extra water and stay grounded by getting outside into nature. In the 3D world, people will react on a hair trigger- as in the protests and riots in the USA where the eclipses are shining a spotlight on racial injustice
Eclipses have a reach of 4 weeks before and 6 months after the event itself, so watch for unpredictable sideways elevators to start shifting you quickly you from one set of life circumstances into another.
For the first time since December 14 2001 – November 23 2003 – whichever aspect of your life is symbolised by Gemini/Sagittarius is going to experience 7 wild card eclipses during 2020/21. The nature of the collective karmic chickens coming home to roost is shifting dramatically as is your new mission…. away from total obsession with personal security, belonging and sanctuary towards progressive thinking and problem solving.
This is a much needed re-calibration of Mind- of synthesizing data into practical wisdom, a harbinger of the approaching historic zeitgeist shift from Earth to Air. Earth values – materialism, consumerism, money, science – will be gradually replaced with Air values – intellect, information, collaboration, multi-dimensional understanding of the world.
Click image to view full-sized chart.
The Chandra Symbol for Lunar Eclipse 15 Sagittarius:
A Tidal Wave Approaching
“The momentum of collective events runs toward floodtide when there is a major transition from one whole cycle to another. The personal life stream runs in similar patterns. When you’re getting ready to take off in a whole different direction, there is first a transition that is both immensely exciting and fantastically disturbing. You feel just about swept away by the oncoming changes and just before they really get going, the tension, the pressure, and the strain can tear you apart. You want to go with it, yet you yearn for sanctuary. This keen ambivalence gets loaded with desire, anticipation, memory pictures, and utopian visions. The mix is volatile. Learning how to ride this wave is such a great endeavour that it, in itself, becomes what it is all about. The consummate opportunity to open wide, but stay substantively firm and concentrated. Mastery or bust. The infinite future or wipe-out. A spine-tingler all the way.” From Inside Degrees Elias Lonsdale
This is the first lunar eclipse across the Sagittarius South Node of Fate/Gemini North Node of Fate since May 2002. Think back to that time to decipher the threads in your own life. It is conjunct the karmic Great Attractor whose strapline is: On the Wavelength of the Creator’s Voice. It’s a very intense point that has mystical and metaphysical properties-the seat of the Universal Source and cosmic balance.
If you have planets or points between 11 to 21 degrees of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius or Pisces, that part of your life will be shaken awake. Eclipses are some of the most dramatic tools that the universe uses to get you to pay attention to areas in your life that need to change. They work very rapidly – often in a blink of an eye switching off an old life, defragging you and rebooting you.
This extremely karmic South Node eclipse will change circumstances outside your control, pushing you to clear old karma, to break the chains of old toxic habits and cause and effect. Relationships could get real very quickly and the truth laid bare.
Coda: Switch your B.S. detector on to a high setting – you’re going to need it on your new Gemini Mission!
For much more on how the 3 June/July eclipses will fast track you into phase 2 embodiment and change your way of living and working ,sign up to my 5D Report:” Another Roll of the Eclipse Dice”.
Aries Weekly Forecast: May 31-June 7, 2020
This is going to a super intense week when as a Fire sign, you are going to feel as if you’re combusting. The seismic window is active between June 1-8th and June 5th’s wild card Full Moon eclipse falls right across your 9th and 3rd Houses- your axis of communication. This is the first time this part of your life has been shaken up by an eclipse since 2002. There will be 7 of these between now and 2021, changing circumstances around you so that you have to change in response. This eclipse will shake up your mental circuitry, your perceptions and your world view. Your current ways of thinking aren’t getting the results you need. Look at where your limiting beliefs are holding you back and update them. The key to collaborating with these changes beyond your control is to consciously expand beyond your comfort zone, meet new people who aren’t strangers to amazement, study, teach, explore.
Finding new purpose and meaning.
Taurus Weekly Forecast: May 31-June 7, 2020
Cast your mind back to summer 2002 and changes you made that altered your trajectory. You’re about to experience the first wild card eclipse in the same part of your chart and life since then. As a Venus ruled Taurean, this Full Moon eclipse activates your 8th/2nd Houses of money and resources. A whole 18 year cycle has ended and a new one is about to begin. Friday’s eclipse is all about stripping right back to essentials, identifying what and who you really value and making these the priorities you live your life around day to day. As circumstances shift around you, you’ll be asking yourself questions such as: what does money mean to me? have I been undervaluing what I have to offer? am I in debt and what am I going to do about it?
The next 18 months will repeat these themes over and over so that you rebuild your personal security from the ground up.
Gemini Weekly Forecast: May 31-June 7, 2020
Life is changing quickly all around you starting this week at the first eclipse across Gemini/Sagittarius since 2002.Think back to that time to follow the thread. Gemini is right in the heart of the planetary action with Venus conjunct the eclipse Sun. With your 1st/7th Houses eclipsed, you’re ready to express a new way of being in the world and experience the evolutionary impact of others in your life. Events will shift around you, raising issues about dependence or independence, going your own way or developing more permanent relationships. How you see yourself versus how others see you is at the heart of it and if there’s a gap, reconcile the differences. Ask yourself: are my relationships mirroring who I am today or who I used to be?
Negotiating new interpersonal “contracts”.
Cancer Weekly Forecast: May 31-June 7, 2020
On Friday, the first eclipse across your 12th/6th Houses since the summer of 2002 nudges you to grow beyond the familiar four walls of your physical habits and routines and make some self-supporting choices. In other words, put your well being right at the top of your agenda. Circumstances beyond your control will nudge you to conquer self-defeating behaviours. Eclipses can change things in a blink of an eye so if you haven’t had a health check for a while, schedule one in. This is the axis of retreat, so if you’re in overwhelm at work or at home, rest up and put your own highest interests first. It’s definitely a time for fixing what can be fixed, then surrendering what you can’t control. Mindful activities such as journaling, yoga or meditation will balance your body/mind/spirit so you can see the wood for the trees.
It is enough simply to be.
Leo Weekly Forecast: May 31-June 7, 2020
Just like Aries, this is going to a super intense week when as a Fire sign, you are going to feel as if you’re combusting. The first wild card eclipse across Sagittarius/Gemini since summer 2002 is shaking up your axis of authenticity and creativity, ending one 18 year cycle and catalysing another. The 5/11th Houses are all about having the courage of your convictions, of expressing your true self and finding your true voice. No more hiding behind a mask or persona or making nice just to fit in. There will be 7 eclipses in total between now and the end of 2021, shaking up this part of your life by changing circumstances around you so that you have to change alongside them. You might start envisioning a new project or a different form of business or service. Make sure you enrol your supporters and collaborators and get them onside-that way you can develop your very own ideas factory.
Make fun, pleasure and fulfilment your keystones.
Virgo Weekly Forecast: May 31-June 7, 2020
Put June 1-8 in your calendar-when the seismic window from Friday’s eclipse will send ripples of endings and new beginnings across your life. Eclipses are cosmic wild cards, shifting circumstances outside your control so that you have to grow and change alongside them. As a solar Virgo, this is the first shake up of your 10/4th Houses since 2002-3, so think back to those times for possible clues. Starting at this eclipse and through 6 more between now and the end of 2021, you will start aligning your personal mission with who you are in the world. You may be recognised on a whole new professional level. You may start to create a legacy, something you can be really proud of. Your driver will be how to get paid for being yourself.
Losing the separation between yourself and your work in the world.
Libra Weekly Forecast: May 31-June 7, 2020
With your personal planet Venus conjunct the Sun at Friday’s eclipse, change is definitely on the cards. This is the first wild card eclipse across your 3rd/9th House since 2002-3, closing down an entire 18 year cycle. This is your axis of communication and connection so expect changes in events or circumstances beyond your control to affect these areas. People might leave, others arrive. Doors might open when there were none before. What’s at stake here is your ability to move with the times, to expand your world view, your people networks and your communication style. As the pandemic restrictions change the world of work, this is the perfect time to develop more effective ways of reaching out to colleagues, clients, your market and your various tribes. Take a course in new ways of thinking and creating rapport with everyone you come across. This will need to become one of your new superpowers.
Scorpio Weekly Forecast: May 31-June 7, 2020
For you as a solar Scorpio, on Friday June 5th, the first wild card eclipse across Sagittarius/Gemini since 2002-3 marks the end of an 18 year financial cycle and the start of a new one. The Full Moon in Sagittarius lights up your 2nd House of earned income and personal resources, putting your financial security under the planetary spotlight. It is linked to shared resources so a close partner may make a move that surprises you. All eclipses operate under the radar, changing people and events around you so that you have no choice but to grow and evolve. This is a big nudge for you to think about how you attract and earn money; what money means to you; whether you hold on to it or let it slip through your fingers; whether you are optimising your earning ability and income streams.
The pandemic is bringing opportunities to develop more creative ways of working-think out of the box.
Sagittarius Weekly Forecast: May 31-June 7, 2020
A heads up! For you as a solar Sagittarian, the days between June 1-8 are sure to accelerate the pace of life and bring some unforeseen changes. Friday’s lunar eclipse is the first across your sign and Gemini since 2002-3, so try to remember what changed for you back then. This is the axis of identity and partnership so it will bring up issues of relationship dynamics such as control or cooperation, co-dependence or independence. If you are in a partnership, you’re likely to be the one who wants more freedom, who needs to disrupt the comfort zone and inject some excitement and passion. The unspoken unconscious contract you set up when you first met needs updating. Keep in mind that everyone will be more tired and wired around eclipse time, avoid Sagittarian hoof in mouth syndrome and tread carefully. Leave any big decisions until the eclipse dust has settled.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
Capricorn Weekly Forecast: May 31-June 7, 2020
As a Capricorn, this intense period between June 1-8th may seem a contradiction in terms. Yes, it’s eclipse season again which means events shifting and circumstances changing beyond your control, often almost overnight. Yet, this lunar eclipse is activating your 12th/6th Houses, the axis of retreat. This a clear message that you need to step back from the fray and look more deeply at how your life is unfolding. It’s so easy to get so caught up in doing that you forget what it’s all for. Slow down and re-group. Is your ladder up against the wrong tree? Is duty, work, service or routine draining your spirit? Are those important goals still a true reflection of who you are or of who you used to be? The last few years have been incredibly challenging for most Capricornians, so put your wellbeing-mind/body/spirt-at the top of your agenda.
Less doing, more being.
Aquarius Weekly Forecast: May 31-June 7, 2020
The eclipses are here! And for you as a solar Aquarian, they mark an end to one 18 year cycle and the start of another which promises to be much more appealing. Think back to 2002-3, the last time an eclipse activated your 11th/5Th Houses of creative births and hopes for the future. What did you initiate, launch or change back then? This time round, you have both your rulers Saturn and Uranus in your corner, waking you up to smell both the coffee and the roses. Eclipses take you from one stage of life to another, often in the blink of an eye. So, forget about resisting the changes heading your way and grab the opportunity to make your life and your world a bigger, freer and more interesting place.
Bring on those radical acts of self-love and self-expression.
Pisces Weekly Forecast: May 31-June 7, 2020
On Friday June 5th, the first eclipse since 2002-3 across Sagittarius/Gemini activates key angles of your chart ,marking a turning point in your autobiography. The Full Moon is going to set in motion changes beyond your control in both your career and your home- your work/life axis. And there will be 6 more eclipses in the same place between now and the end of 2021. This time around, you are hosting both Mars and Pisces in your own sign so whatever plays out in the days and weeks to come, you can rely on your instincts and determination to steer you through it. What’s at issue is how you work, where you work, who you live with and how your home base either supports you or sabotages you. With the eclipse Moon right at the pinnacle of your chart, recognition for work completed is highly likely, so use this to your advantage as leverage for the changes you’d really like to make.
MONSTER SUNSPOT: So you thought Halloween was over? Think again. There is a monster spot on the sun. AR2443 has more than quadrupled in size since it first appeared on Oct. 29th, and it now stretches more than 175,000 km from end to end. Philippe Tosi took this picture of the active region on Nov. 1st from his backyard observatory in Nîmes, France:
The sunspot has more than a dozen dark cores, many of which are as large as terrestrial continents–and a couple as large as Earth itself. These dimensions make it an easy target for backyardsolartelecopes.
Of greater interest is the sunspot’s potential for explosive activity. The spotty complex has a ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field that harbors energy for strong M-class solar flares. Any such explosions will be geoeffective as the sunspot turns squarely toward Earth in the days ahead.
BIG SUNSPOT, CHANCE OF FLARES: Yesterday, sunspot AR2339 unleashed an intense X2-class solar flare. It might not be finished. The active region has doubled in size since yesterday, and it has a ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field that harbors energy for more eruptions. Amateur astronomer Philippe Tosi sends this picture of the behemoth sunspot from his backyard in Nîmes, France:
As the blue-circular insert shows, several of the sunspot’s dark cores are larger than Earth itself. From end to end, the sunspot group sprawls more than 100,000 km. These dimensions make it an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. If you have one, take a look. You might catch some action. NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of M-class flares and a 10% chance of X-flares on May 7th.
X-FLARE: The sun is no longer quiet. Emerging sunspot AR2339 unleashed an intense X2-class solar flare on May 5th at 22:11 UT. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the extreme ultraviolet flash:
A pulse of UV radiation and X-rays from the flare caused a strong radio blackout over the Pacific side of Earth. This map shows the extent of the blackout, which affected frequencies below 20 MHz. Mariners, aviators, and ham radio operators are the type of people who might have noticed the disturbance.
The explosion also hurled a CME into space: movie. Traveling faster than 1100 km/s (2.5 million mph), the expanding cloud does not appear to be heading for Earth.
In addition to causing a radio blackout, the flare also caused a radio burst. Immediately after the flare, a roar of static bellowed from the loudspeakers of shortwave receivers on Pacific isles and western parts of North America. Amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft of New Mexico recorded the outburst:
“The sound file is in stereo with one channel at 22 MHz and the other at 23 MHz,” says Ashcraft. “It is very intricate if listened to with headphones.”
What caused this burst of “solar static”? The same magnetic explosion that caused the flare also produced beams of electrons. As the electrons sliced through the sun’s atmosphere, they generated a ripple of radio-loud plasma waves. Astronomers classify solar radio bursts into five types; this one was a mixture of Type III and Type V.
CME, POSSIBLY EARTH-DIRECTED: A magnetic filament snaking around the sun’s southern hemisphere erupted on May 3rd. The blast did not create a pulse of electromagnetic radiation (i.e., a solar flare), but it did hurl a CME into space. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded the expanding cloud:
Although the CME is not moving directly along the sun-Earth line, it might still be geoeffective. A glancing blow is possible on May 5th or 6th. NOAA analysts are evaluating this possibility as they receive additional coronagraph data. Stay tuned for updates in the hours ahead.
OLAR FLARE AND RADIO BLACKOUT: Sunspot AR2257 erupted on Jan. 13th, producing an M5-class solar flare at 04:24 UT. A pulse of extreme UV radiation from the flare ionized Earth’s upper atmosphere over Australia and the Indian Ocean. Mariners and ham radio operators may have noticed a brief communications blackout at frequencies below about 10 MHz. This map from NOAA shows the affected region:
We do not yet know if the flare also produced a coronal mass ejection (CME). If so, the plasma cloud will probably miss Earth because of the sunspot’s off-center location on the solar disk.
More flares could be in the offing. AR2257 has an unstable ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field that seems poised to explode again. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of M-class flares and a 10% chance of X-flares on Jan. 13th.
HOLE IN THE SUN’S ATMOSPHERE: A vast hole has opened in the atmosphere over the sun’s south pole, and it is spewing solar wind into space. The gaseous gap, a.k.a. a ‘coronal hole,’ is colored dark-purple in this extreme ultraviolet image from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory:
Curved lines trace the sun’s magnetic field in this EUV image from SDO
Coronal holes are places where the sun’s magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. A stream of solar wind flowing from this particular hole is expected to reach Earth’s orbit on Jan. 4-5. The bulk of the stream will flow south of our planet. However, not all of it will miss. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when the solar wind arrives in the next 48 hours.
CME TARGETS EARTH, AFTER ALL: On Nov. 7th, when an X-flare from AR2205 hurled a CME into space, at first it appeared that the cloud would miss Earth. Follow-up computer modeling by NOAA analysts suggests that the CME might deliver a glancing blow to our planet’s magnetic field after all. A complete forecast follows this movie of the eruption recorded by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory:
The CME left the sun traveling approximately 600 km/s (1.3 million mph) albeit not directly along the sun-Earth line. If the computer models are correct, the outskirts of the cloud should reach Earth mid-day on Nov. 10th (Universal Time). First contact could spark a G2-class geomagnetic storm on Nov. 10th subsiding to G1-class on Nov. 11th. NOAA forecasters are citing storm probabilities as high as 75%.
These storms in the forecast are mild, not extreme, so there is no danger of power outages or communications blackouts. However, the CME impact could spark some beautiful auroras around the Arctic Circle. The lights might even spill across the Canadian border into northern-tier US states such as Maine, Michigan, Minnesota and the Dakotas.
HYDER FLARE MISSES EARTH: Earth-orbiting satellites detected a solar flare on Nov. 1st. Usually solar flares come from sunspots, but there were no sunspots anywhere near this blast. A movie from the Solar Dynamics Observatory shows what happened:
The C3-category flare was caused by a filament of magnetism, which rose up and erupted between 0400 and 0600 UT. Some of the material in the filament fell back to the sun, causing a flash of X-rays where it hit the stellar surface. That was the flare. The rest of the filament flew out into space, forming the core of a massive CME. A movie from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory shows the CME billowing away from the sun. NOAA analysts say it will not hit Earth.
Flares like this, which happen without sunspots, are called Hyder Flares. They help keep solar activity high even when sunspot counts are low.