Rising fluxes of cosmic rays inside the solar system

XPan

The Living Force
Markus-Varik-Greenlander.no-8243_1635993860.jpg

And there it came - the geomagnetic Storm (K Index 7)
night from 3 to 4th November 2021

I was surprized, because I bumped into the (first) info about Northern Lights, this morning at 06.00 in the Swedish mainstream media (a rare place for Aurora). They published an article around 23.30 that Northern light were visible over Southern Sweden.. and was I like... wuah ?!? And... how could I miss that ? Well easy... it was cloudy with drizzle all evening while driving the subway, that's why. Albeit I do remember that on my way home around 03.30 some parts of the sky broke up a little bit, because I noticed the very clear stars... but nothing glowing, though.

As of now, 06.00 local time, the storm appear to go on over Canada and US. When the estimate approaches 100 GW, that's always a splendid energy number for visible aurora, of course. Here in Stockholm... well, dawn is just about to rise and it is.... uhm... overcast with fog. Wehee (not).


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Spaceweather.com

showed some beautiful images, which were taken by Marcus Varik in Tomsø, North Norway in the late night of 3 Nov 2021. And boy he had a great time, you can tell !

Spaceweather wrote:

A cannibal CME hit Earth's magnetic field on Nov. 3rd (~20:00 UT). The impact sparked a strong G3-class geomagnetic storm with intense auroras around the Arctic Circle.

Varik is one of the most experienced guides in Norway. "Even I was impressed," he says. "The auroras were strong, one of the best displays in years. I am very tired, but happy."

Earth is now passing through the CME's wake. Storm conditions have subsided to category G1 (minor) with occasional episodes of G2 (moderately strong). This means auroras may be visible in northern-tier US states such as Minnesota and Montana. Dark skies are essential, so get away from city lights.

What is a Cannibal CME?

It's a CME that eats its own kind. On Nov. 2nd, sunspot AR2891 hurled a fast CME toward Earth. As it approached our planet, it overtook at least one other CME and swallowed it. The mashed-up pair struck Earth on Nov. 3rd (2000 UT). Solar wind data from the DSCOVR spacecraft showed a stairstep structure indicative of two or more CMEs pressed together.

Markus-Varik-Greenlander.no-8241_1635993860.jpg
Markus-Varik-Greenlander.no-8234_1635993860.jpg
 

Ocean

The Living Force

M1.7 solar flare with earth-directed CME​




CME.jpg
What a week we are having! Hello Solar Cycle 25! Sunspot region 2891 (which is directly facing Earth!) produced a very long duration M1.7 (R1-minor) solar flare this morning that peaked at 03:01 UTC.

This solar flare was eruptive and this sunspot region was in a perfect Earth-facing position to launch a coronal mass ejection towards Earth which it did. We get it, we are all still traumatized from the disappointing coronal mass ejection arrival from the X1.0 solar flare. But fear not, this coronal mass ejection is much better aimed towards Earth. Looking at SOHO LASCO (see the tweets below) we see a very nice asymmetrical full halo coronal mass ejection. The bulk of the ejecta might have been launched more towards the south and east but still we can not complain to much, this is not going to be a glancing blow. We will notice this impact when the cloud arrives.

The SIDC reports a preliminary speed of about 650km/s for this coronal mass ejection which is not very fast. We do have to keep in mind that the cloud will slow down on its way to Earth so the solar wind speed at Earth will not be that high but the cloud is well aimed at Earth, so a decent impact should still be expected. No worries about a glancing blow for this one!

The SIDC has a preliminary impact time late on Thursday, 4 November with no word yet from the NOAA SWPC on what they predict and what kind of storm conditions to expect. We think a moderate G2 geomagnetic storm watch will be issued for Friday, 5 November and maybe even for late on 4 November based on the trajectory and speed of the plasma cloud but maybe we are getting yet another G3 geomagnetic storm watch. We will see, keep an eye on our social media channel for updates!



What caused the active geomagnetic conditions last night?​

We had some nice solar wind/IMF conditions last night and this prompted the question among some people if the activity last night might have been from the X1 solar flare. The answer to that is a clear no. The interplanetary shock at 9:15 UTC on Sunday morning was for sure the coronal mass ejection from the X1 solar flare. The increase in the solar wind conditions last night were due to the leading edge of a coronal hole solar wind stream which came from the northern hemisphere polar coronal hole. We see today the high speed solar wind stream following the initial CIR, confirming this is indeed a coronal hole stream. The X1 coronal mass ejection arrived on Sunday and was obviously not so well aimed at Earth as initially thought resulting in lackluster geomagnetic activity compared to what was expected.
 

maxwell1110

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member

Big sunspot region AR2936 has blasted a CME toward Earth​



Geomagnetic storm possible on February 2

The large sunspot region AR2936 – which quadrupled in size this past weekend – released an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME) on January 30, 2022. It’ll take a few days for the charged particles from the sun to travel to Earth. So we might expect a geomagnetic storm and subsequent auroras beginning as early as February 2.

Big sunspot region AR2936​

Spaceweather.com reported on January 31:

[The CME] was hurled into space during the early hours of January 30 by an M1-class solar flare. Big sunspot AR2936 was the source of the blast. The long duration flare lasted more than 4 hours, so it put plenty of power into the CME.
Moderately-strong G2-class geomagnetic storms are possible when the CME arrives. During such storms, auroras can spill out of the Arctic Circle into northern-tier U.S. states such as New York, Minnesota and Washington.
Perhaps the Canadian truckers and protesters will receive a celestial treat 😊
 

Lukasz

Jedi
Using the NASA’s NuSTAR space observatory, scientists observed a blast of high frequency X-rays emanating from Jupiter. The highest energy light ever detected from a solar system planet other than Earth.

NASA Telescope Spots Highest-Energy Light Ever Detected From Jupiter​

Jupiter’s southern hemisphere is shown in this image from NASA’s Juno mission.
Jupiter’s southern hemisphere is shown in this image from NASA’s Juno mission. New observations by NASA’s NuSTAR reveal that auroras near both the planet’s poles emit high-energy X-rays, which are produced when accelerated particles collide with Jupiter’s atmosphere.
Credits: Enhanced image by Kevin M. Gill (CC-BY) based on images provided courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS
The planet’s auroras are known to produce low-energy X-ray light. A new study finally reveals higher-frequency X-rays and explains why they eluded another mission 30 years ago.
Scientists have been studying Jupiter up close since the 1970s, but the gas giant is still full of mysteries. New observations by NASA’s NuSTAR space observatory have revealed the highest-energy light ever detected from Jupiter. The light, in the form of X-rays that NuSTAR can detect, is also the highest-energy light ever detected from a solar system planet other than Earth. A paper in the journal Nature Astronomy reports the finding and solves a decades-old mystery: Why the Ulysses mission saw no X-rays when it flew past Jupiter in 1992.

X-rays are a form of light, but with much higher energies and shorter wavelengths than the visible light human eyes can see. NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the ESA (European Space Agency) XMM-Newton observatory have both studied low-energy X-rays from Jupiter’s auroras – light shows near the planet’s north and south poles that are produced when volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io shower the planet with ions (atoms stripped of their electrons). Jupiter’s powerful magnetic field accelerates these particles and funnels them toward the planet’s poles, where they collide with its atmosphere and release energy in the form of light.

Electrons from Io are also accelerated by the planet’s magnetic field, according to observations by NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which arrived at Jupiter in 2016. Researchers suspected that those particles should produce even higher-energy X-rays than what Chandra and XMM-Newton observed, and NuSTAR (short for Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) is the first observatory to confirm that hypothesis.
NuSTAR detected high-energy X-rays from the auroras near Jupiter’s north and south poles. NuSTAR cannot locate the source of the light with high precision, but can only find that the light is coming from somewhere in the purple-colored regions.
NuSTAR detected high-energy X-rays from the auroras near Jupiter’s north and south poles. NuSTAR cannot locate the source of the light with high precision, but can only find that the light is coming from somewhere in the purple-colored regions.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
“It’s quite challenging for planets to generate X-rays in the range that NuSTAR detects,” said Kaya Mori, an astrophysicist at Columbia University and lead author of the new study. “But Jupiter has an enormous magnetic field, and it’s spinning very quickly. Those two characteristics mean that the planet’s magnetosphere acts like a giant particle accelerator, and that’s what makes these higher-energy emissions possible.”

Researchers faced multiple hurdles to make the NuSTAR detection: For example, the higher-energy emissions are significantly fainter than the lower-energy ones. But none of the challenges could explain the nondetection by Ulysses, a joint mission between NASA and ESA that was capable of sensing higher-energy X-rays than NuSTAR. The Ulysses spacecraft launched in 1990 and, after multiple mission extensions, operated until 2009.

The solution to that puzzle, according to the new study, lies in the mechanism that produces the high-energy X-rays. The light comes from the energetic electrons that Juno can detect with its Jovian Auroral Distributions Experiment (JADE) and Jupiter Energetic-particle Detector Instrument (JEDI), but there are multiple mechanisms that can cause particles to produce light. Without a direct observation of the light that the particles emit, it’s almost impossible to know which mechanism is responsible.

In this case, the culprit is something called bremsstrahlung emission. When the fast-moving electrons encounter charged atoms in Jupiter’s atmosphere, they are attracted to the atoms like magnets. This causes the electrons to rapidly decelerate and lose energy in the form of high-energy X-rays. It’s like how a fast-moving car would transfer energy to its braking system to slow down; in fact, bremsstrahlung means “braking radiation” in German. (The ions that produce the lower-energy X-rays emit light through a process called atomic line emission.)

Each light-emission mechanism produces a slightly different light profile. Using established studies of bremsstrahlung light profiles, the researchers showed that the X-rays should get significantly fainter at higher energies, including in Ulysses’ detection range.

“If you did a simple extrapolation of the NuSTAR data, it would show you that Ulysses should have been able to detect X-rays at Jupiter,” said Shifra Mandel, a Ph.D. student in astrophysics at Columbia University and a co-author of the new study. “But we built a model that includes bremsstrahlung emission, and that model not only matches the NuSTAR observations, it shows us that at even higher energies, the X-rays would have been too faint for Ulysses to detect.”

The conclusions of the paper relied on simultaneous observations of Jupiter by NuSTAR, Juno, and XMM-Newton.

New Chapters

On Earth, scientists have detected X-rays in Earth’s auroras with even higher energies than what NuSTAR saw at Jupiter. But those emissions are extremely faint – much fainter than Jupiter’s – and can only be spotted by small satellites or high-altitude balloons that get extremely close to the locations in the atmosphere that generate those X-rays. Similarly, observing these emissions in Jupiter’s atmosphere would require an X-ray instrument close to the planet with greater sensitivity than those carried by Ulysses in the 1990s.

“The discovery of these emissions does not close the case; it’s opening a new chapter,” said William Dunn, a researcher at the University College London and a co-author of the paper. “We still have so many questions about these emissions and their sources. We know that rotating magnetic fields can accelerate particles, but we don’t fully understand how they reach such high speeds at Jupiter. What fundamental processes naturally produce such energetic particles?”

Scientists also hope that studying Jupiter’s X-ray emissions can help them understand even more extreme objects in our universe. NuSTAR typically studies objects outside our solar system, such as exploding stars and disks of hot gas accelerated by the gravity of massive black holes.

The new study is the first example of scientists being able to compare NuSTAR observations with data taken at the source of the X-rays (by Juno). This enabled researchers to directly test their ideas about what creates these high-energy X-rays. Jupiter also shares a number of physical similarities with other magnetic objects in the universe – magnetars, neutron stars, and white dwarfs – but researchers don’t fully understand how particles are accelerated in these objects’ magnetospheres and emit high-energy radiation. By studying Jupiter, researchers may unveil details of distant sources we cannot yet visit.

More About the Missions

NuSTAR launched on June 13, 2012. A Small Explorer mission led by Caltech and managed by JPL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, it was developed in partnership with the Danish Technical University and the Italian Space Agency (ASI). The telescope optics were built by Columbia University; NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and DTU. The spacecraft was built by Orbital Sciences Corp. in Dulles, Virginia. NuSTAR’s mission operations center is at the University of California, Berkeley, and the official data archive is at NASA’s High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center. ASI provides the mission’s ground station and a mirror data archive. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

For more information on NuSTAR, go to:


 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
Sputniknews:

Scientists Detect 'Unexpected' Mid-Summer Cooling on Distant Neptune Followed by Unexplained Warming

Apr. 11, 2022

Far from being over, Neptune's summer lasts for years as the planet makes a full lapse around the sun in just 165 Earth years. Scientists are hoping to uncover some answers to the unexplained phenomenon in the remaining time before the start of the autumn season on the planet.

Scientists, who have been monitoring the weather changes on the Neptune for almost two decades have noticed an "unexpected" change – despite being in the middle of its "summer season", the planet's south pole first cooled down by 8 degrees and then grew back by 11 degrees Celsius.

"This change was unexpected.
Since we have been observing Neptune during its early southern summer, we expected temperatures to be slowly growing warmer, not colder", Michael Roman, lead researcher from the University of Leicester, UK, said.

The scientists have been monitoring the planet's thermal-infrared images for the past 17 years, and between 2003 and 2018 they noticed a drop in temperatures. However, between 2018 and 2020 the temperature rapidly grew back.

Mind that summer lasts longer on Neptune, which makes a full rotation around Sun in 165 Earth years. The season is still not over after almost two decades of observation and will last around 40 Earth years.

The researchers do not have a solid explanation to the phenomenon they observed yet; however, it's speculated that it could be the result of the planet's under-researched chemistry, specific weather patterns or the influence of the sun. Either way, the scientists hope to gain some more insight into the matter before the season is over - after all they can't wait 120 more years for another summer on Neptune.

The results of their research were published in the Planetary Science journal.
 

Alejo

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Just came across this one on RT in Spanish.

Earth on alert due to strong solar storms

Our planet has been hit during the past few hours by a coronal mass ejection (CME) from the Sun that has caused strong geomagnetic storms overnight, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in an alert. (NOAA) in an alert.

NOAA classified the storm as G3 on a scale that peaks at G5, so it is considered strong.

Experts warn that such intense geomagnetic storms can cause disruptions to power systems, disorient migrating animals and create problems for satellites and astronauts in space.

On the other hand, such solar storms also mean that northern lights can be seen at much lower latitudes than normal.

Researchers have repeatedly pointed out that we are not sufficiently prepared for the potential dangers of a G5-type storm, which would be capable of even destroying navigation systems and radio communications.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
Not sure if this should go here but it just made me think of the cooling/warming of Neptune. The press release from SSA that this news report is based, is from Apr. 22, 2022.

Sputniknews (emphasis theirs):

Scientists Record Two Biggest-to-Date Quakes on Mars, Most Powerful Since Observation Began


Like our planet, quakes also occur on Mars, but were not accurately observed until 2019. It is believed that in the past, the Red Planet was more seismically active, but even in the modern times, the sensors detect distortions characteristic of a marsquake, but they are usually weak in comparison with most Earth ones.

NASA's InSight lander's seismometer on Mars has recorded two of the planet's largest seismic occurrences to date: a magnitude 4.2 and a magnitude 4.1 marsquake, a new paper published in The Seismic Record revealed.

According to the Seismological Society of America's press release upon the findings, the two events are the first to be recorded on the planet's far side from the lander, and they are five times more powerful than the previous biggest event.

Researchers from InSight's Marsquake Service (MQS) reported that seismic wave data from the events could help researchers understand more about Mars' inner layers, notably its core-mantle boundary.

The University of Bristol's Anna Horleston and colleagues were reportedly able to identify reflected PP and SS waves from the magnitude 4.2 event known as S0976a and pinpoint its location in the Valles Marineris, a massive canyon network that is one of Mars' most distinctive geological features and one of the Solar System's largest graben systems.

Mars surface relief map showing InSight’s location (orange triangle), other located marsquakes (purple dots) that cluster around 30° distance, close to Cerberus Fossae, and S0976a, located within Valles Marineris just north of Sollis Planum. S1000a’s location is predicted to be somewhere within the shaded region between 107° and 147° from InSight. - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.04.2022

Mars surface relief map showing InSight’s location (orange triangle), other located marsquakes (purple dots) that cluster around 30° distance, close to Cerberus Fossae, and S0976a, located within Valles Marineris just north of Sollis Planum. S1000a’s location is predicted to be somewhere within the shaded region between 107° and 147° from InSight. © Photo : Seismological Society of America / Horelston et al.

The location had previously been suspected of being seismically active based on orbital photos of cross-cutting faults and landslides, but the latest event represents the first documented seismic activity there.

"Recording events within the core shadow zone is a real steppingstone for our understanding of Mars. Prior to these two events the majority of the seismicity was within about 40 degrees distance of InSight," Savas Ceylan, a co-author from ETH Zurich, is quoted as saying. "Being within the core shadow, the energy traverses parts of Mars we have never been able to seismologically sample before."

According to the report, reflected PP and SS waves, as well as Pdiff waves, small amplitude waves that crossed the core-mantle boundary, were all present in S1000a, a magnitude 4.1 event that occurred 24 days later.

The InSight mission has discovered Pdiff waves for the first time. S1000a, like S0976a, originated on Mars' far side, but the researchers were unable to pinpoint its exact position. With a duration of 94 minutes, the seismic energy from S1000a is likewise the longest yet recorded on Mars.

Both marsquakes occurred in the core shadow zone, an area where the core stops or bends P and S waves, preventing them from reaching InSight's seismometer, according to the publication. PP and SS waves do not travel directly to the seismometer; instead, they are reflected at least once at the surface before reaching it.

And researchers say that there are some significant differences between the two marsquakes. S0976a, like many of the quakes discovered so far on the planet, is characterized by low frequency energy, but S1000a has a relatively broad frequency spectrum.

"[S1000a] is a clear outlier in our catalog and will be key to our further understanding of Martian seismology," Horleston said, while adding that she believes S0976a has a far deeper genesis than S1000a.

According to her, the latter seismic event "has a frequency spectrum much more like a family of events that we observe that have been modeled as shallow, crustal quakes, so this event may have occurred near the surface."

"S0976a looks like many of the events we have located to Cerberus Fossae—an area of extensive faulting—that have depths modeled to be around 50 kilometers or more and it is likely that this event has a similar, deep, source mechanism," the scientist added.

The two new far-side quakes are true outliers when compared to the remainder of the seismic activity identified by InSight, according to the researchers.

"Not only are they the largest and most distant events by a considerable margin, S1000a has a spectrum and duration unlike any other event previously observed. They truly are remarkable events in the Martian seismic catalog," Horleston said.

According to earlier studies, Valles Marineris, a 4,000 km long canyon system, is thought to represent the relic of an old Martian strike-slip fault. Even if it was once an active fault, it's unclear whether it's still active or has "frozen" into place.
 

XPan

The Living Force
Mercury's Sodium Tail
27 April 2022

I am not sure where to put this image exactly (the search function we have here makes it at times rather challenging to find the "right" spot). So, I put it here, and hope it fits.

Honesty; it must be one of the most incredible images I have ever seen of the so called Sodium tail effect from planet Mercury - so fascinating, so beautiful - and in alignment with the open star cluster Pleiades (M45) in Taurus... Just WOW !

Dr Sebastian Voltmer took this photo on 27 April 2022 with the following written at Spaceweather.com

Planets aren't supposed to have tails, but Mercury does. Dr. Sebastian Voltmer just photographed it from La Palma in the Canary Islands

"This is NOT a comet, not even a meteor, but the planet Mercury, which is currently very close to the Pleiades. How is the tail formed? The solar wind and micro-meteorites eject sodium atoms from Mercury's surface. This creates a yellow-orange tail of sodium gas that is around 2.5 million kilometers long. This shot was only possible under best viewing conditions and in combination with a special 589 nm filter. For this picture I was looking for a spot on La Palma with the best view to the northwest. The highest point on an island is not always the best. I couldn't believe it when I saw a clearly defined tail on the raw images - wow!"

Dr.-Sebastian-Voltmer-MercuryTailPleiades_2022-04-27_signature_1651154068.jpg

Voltmer says the tail is so bright, he could see it in individual 30 second exposures. "I can see some very small changes in shape of the tail," he says, "and the brightness is slightly increasing."

The nights ahead are excellent times to catch this phenomenon. On April 29th and 30th, Mercury will glide past the Pleiades star cluster for a fantastic photo-op. Then, on May 1st and 2nd, the crescent Moon joins the show.

"Currently I'm imaging Mercury day by day just after sunset from the Canary Islands," says Voltmer.

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Ina

The Living Force
Is it only Aurora Borealis or the effect could be observed in the Southern Hemisphere as well? Or maybe an antieffect or a complementary effect?
 

Ina

The Living Force
Mercury's Sodium Tail
27 April 2022

I am not sure where to put this image exactly (the search function we have here makes it at times rather challenging to find the "right" spot). So, I put it here, and hope it fits.

Honesty; it must be one of the most incredible images I have ever seen of the so called Sodium tail effect from planet Mercury - so fascinating, so beautiful - and in alignment with the open star cluster Pleiades (M45) in Taurus... Just WOW !

Dr Sebastian Voltmer took this photo on 27 April 2022 with the following written at Spaceweather.com



View attachment 58199

Voltmer says the tail is so bright, he could see it in individual 30 second exposures. "I can see some very small changes in shape of the tail," he says, "and the brightness is slightly increasing."

The nights ahead are excellent times to catch this phenomenon. On April 29th and 30th, Mercury will glide past the Pleiades star cluster for a fantastic photo-op. Then, on May 1st and 2nd, the crescent Moon joins the show.

"Currently I'm imaging Mercury day by day just after sunset from the Canary Islands," says Voltmer.

View attachment 58200

If Mercury has a tail, maybe all planets from our Solar System have tails, which could be the effect of the movement in space?
 

XPan

The Living Force
I believe it has to do with the interaction between the solar wind and the very thin atmosphere of Mercury. This also applies to Venus from what I understood. Venus’ tail is said to be so long that earth in certain positions to one another, moves through Venus’ tail.
 
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