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STORM: A strong-to-severe geomagnetic
storm is in
progress following the impact of a coronal mass
ejection (CME) at approximately 12:15 UT on Sept.
26th. The Goddard Space Weather Lab reports a "strong
compression of Earth's magnetosphere. Simulations
indicate that solar wind plasma [has penetrated]
close to geosynchronous orbit starting at 13:00UT."
Geosynchronous satellites could therefore be directly
exposed to solar wind plasma and magnetic fields.
High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for Northern
and Southern Lights after nightfall.
Aurora alerts: text,
aurora photos: from
Minoru Yoneto of Queenstown, New Zealand; from
Ole Ambrosiussen of Hvinningdal, Silkeborg,
Steven Graham of Christchurch, New Zealand;
Mika Puurula of Sotkamo, Finland; from
Jonathan Tucker of Whitehorse, Yukon; from
Julius Jahre Sætre of Vestfold, Norway
SOLAR ACTIVITY: Having already
unleashed two X-flares since Sept. 22nd, sunspot
AR1302 appears ready for more. The active region
has a complex "beta-gamma-delta" magnetic
field that harbors energy for strong M-
and X-class eruptions. Flares from AR1302 will
become increasingly geoeffective as the sunspot
turns toward Earth in the days ahead.
On Sunday, Sept. 25th, Dutch astrophotographer
Kraaikamp took a magnificent picture of the
active region, which is so big only half of it fits
on the screen. Click to view the entire sunspot:
"This is how the sunspot looked
through my solar-filtered 10-inch Newtonian telescope,"
says Kraaikamp. "Due to the always-variable
daytime seeing here in the Netherlands, it took
a couple of hours to finally capture one good set
of images, but it was well worth the effort to get
this view of the huge sunspot formation."
more images: from
Andy Devey of Barnsley South Yorkshire; from
Alan Friedman of Buffalo, NY; from
Monika Landy-Gyebnar of Balatonfured, Hungary;
Piet Berger of Simpelveld, Netherlands; from
Howard Eskildsen of Ocala, Florida; from
Dzmitry Kananovich of Tallinn, Estonia; from
Chris Schur of Payson, Az; from
John Stetson of Falmouth, Maine; from
Grenier of Paris France; from
Maximilian Teodorescu of Magurele, Romania;
Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from
Philippe Van den Doorn of Rixensart, Belgium;
STATIC: Active sunspot 1302 has
turned the sun into a shortwave radio transmitter.
Shock waves rippling from the sunspot's exploding
magnetic canopy are exciting plasma oscillations
in the sun's atmosphere. The result: Bursts of static
are issuing from the loudspeakers of shortwave radios
on Earth. Amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft
sample from his backyard observatory in New
Mexico on Sept. 24th:
Dynamic spectrum: The horizontal
axis is time (h:m:s), the vertical axis is frequency
(MHz). Image credit: Wes Greenman
"Saturday was a super-strong
solar day with near continuous flaring and radio
sweeps," says Ashcraft. "The sound file
(above) corresponds to an M3 flare at 1918 UTC.
It was the strongest radio sweep of the observing
"Try listening to the radio bursts
in stereo," he advises. "I was recording
on two separate radios at 21.1 MHz and 21.9 MHz,
and I put each one into its own channel of the audio
file. This gives a spatial dimension as the bursts
sweep down in frequency."
2011 Aurora Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2010,