Rising fluxes of cosmic rays inside the solar system


Dagobah Resident
There is a minor geomagnetic storm going on.

I wonder if some satellites have problems with this one. Sat24 wasn't showing images since 05:50 when it was 08:00 (now they show image for 08:20, and they have an 2.5 hour gap instead of their usual 15min steps)


noaa - satellite-environment is currently showing different data all the time or no data for some timeframe (keeping the website open I can see it keeps changing the view). Also there are also some spikes and 'cracks' in the magnetometers' graphs. It's not totally unusal though to see strange data or gaps on these sites, I've seen this often.


It could be just website software problems of course, but then I saw Suspicious0bservers is also mentioning current satellite failures:


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Maybe increased cosmic rays are part of the universe's mechanism for regulating human "progress" (i.e. techno-tyranny). This video on YouTube explains the phenomenon of cosmic ray particles from distant galaxies flipping a "1" to a "0" in computer chips. Such "single event upsets" have caused plane accidents, election interference and game glitches.



Dagobah Resident
EARTH-DIRECTED SOLAR FLARE AND HALO CME: This morning, an explosion on the sun hurled a CME almost directly toward Earth. It's called a "halo CME" because the storm cloud appears to make a halo around the solar disk as it moves in our direction. Minor to moderately-strong geomagnetic storms are possible when the CME arrives during the late hours of Oct. 11th or Oct 12th.
The proton flux is also slightly elevated. IIRC there was a study linking elevated proton flux to earthquakes.

Here is the x-rax flux with the M1.6 this morning.


FOTCM Member
Space Weather has been reporting that cosmic rays are reducing as activity on the Sun increases as we exit solar minimum, providing the following graph:


Today i came across a Tweet showing a cosmic ray count graph going back to the 60's (shown below), taken from the University of Oulu's page ('one of Finland's largest universities'), and i thought that it seems to provide a bit more perspective on the situation.

The two groups may collect data differently, but i imagine the final count is close enough, and it looks to me like, whilst cosmic rays are decreasing, when taking the graph below into account, they still appear to be at relatively high levels.


And, just for reference, this is what Space Weather had this to say on the first graph above:
SPACE WEATHER BALLOON DATA: Almost once a week, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly space weather balloons to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with sensors that detect secondary cosmic rays, a form of radiation from space that can penetrate all the way down to Earth's surface. Our monitoring program has been underway without interruption for 6 years, resulting in a unique dataset of in situ atmospheric measurements.​

Latest results: Our most recent flight on June 25, 2021, confirms a trend of decreasing cosmic radiation:

Cosmic ray dose rates peaked in late 2019, and have been slowly declining ever since. This makes perfect sense. Solar Minimum was in late 2019. During Solar Minimum the sun's magnetic field weakens, allowing more cosmic rays into the solar system. We expect dose rate to be highest at that time.​

Now that Solar Minimum has passed, the sun is waking up again. Solar magnetic fields are strengthening, providing a stiffer barrier to cosmic rays trying to enter the solar system. The decline of cosmic radiation above California is a sign that new Solar Cycle 25 is gaining strength.​

.Who cares? Cosmic rays are a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. They can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. According to a study from the Harvard T.H. Chan school of public health, crews of aircraft have higher rates of cancer than the general population. The researchers listed cosmic rays, irregular sleep habits, and chemical contaminants as leading risk factors. Somewhat more controversial studies (#1, #2, #3, #4) llink cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.

En route to the stratosphere, our sensors also pass through aviation altitudes:

In this plot, dose rates are expessed as multiples of sea level. For instance, we see that boarding a plane that flies at 25,000 feet exposes passengers to dose rates ~10x higher than sea level. At 40,000 feet, the multiplier is closer to 50x. The higher you fly, the more radiation you will absorb.​
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So far it has been a windy affair.
The auroras have been stunning.

Here’s an article discussing the auroras seen around the Pacific Northwest:

Whitmer explained that Saturday’s coronal mass ejections on the sun created especially strong blasts of solar wind. When the stronger winds hit the Earth’s magnetic field, they created cracks in that planetary armor, Whitmer said.

Breaking through the armor allowed electrons and protons to push farther south, as opposed to remaining exclusively at the poles. The aurora borealis was, in general, increasingly brilliant farther to the north, Whitmer said.


A Disturbance in the Force
From today's edition of Spaceweather.com:

At least half a dozen explosions occured during that brief movie. The blast site is hidden just behind the edge of the sun. It's almost certainly an unstable sunspot. The sun's rotation will bring it into view within the next 24-48 hours, creating a geoeffective source of solar activity. Solar flare alerts: SMS Text.


A Disturbance in the Force
Now a major X-class solar flare is being reported by Spaceweather.com:

MAJOR X-CLASS SOLAR FLARE: Earth orbiting satellites have just detected a major X-class solar flare from sunspot AR2887 (following two lesser M-flares described below. The blast at 1535 UT on Oct. 28th created a massive tsunami of plasma in the sun's atmosphere and almost certainly hurled a CME toward Earth. Stay tuned for images and updates about this event. Solar flare alerts: SMS Text.

EARTH-DIRECTED SOLAR FLARES: Sunspot AR2887 is facing Earth and flaring. So far today, Oct. 28th, the active region has produced two M-class solar flares (M1.4 @ 0740 UT; M2.2 @ 10:28 UT). At the Givatayim Observatory in Israel, astronomer Ofer Gabzo happened to be looking when the stronger of the two occurred:

"Conditions were horrible (lots of clouds and haze), but luckily I captured a video right at the peak of an M2-class flare in AR2887," says Gabzo.

Pulses of extreme ultraviolet radiation from the flares ionized the top of Earth's atmosphere, causing brief shortwave radio blackouts centered on the Indian Ocean and, a little later, Africa. Blackout maps: M1.4, M2.2. Mariners, aviators and ham radio operators in the area may have noticed unusual propagation effects at frequencies below 20 MHz.

We don't yet know if these explosions hurled CMEs toward Earth; tentatively, we'd say not. Confirmation awaits fresh coronagraph data from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). Solar flare alerts: SMS Text.


A Disturbance in the Force
Below, Spaceweather.com provides additional information on the X1-class flare and subsequent CME. It is thought that about once a century a flare will come along strong enough to knock out the electrical grid of one or more continents on Earth. That didn't matter much in the 19th Century Carrington Event, but if it happened today that could be a real problem, as it could take years to fully repair the damage.

GEOMAGNETIC STORM WATCH: A strong G3-class geomagnetic storm is possible on Oct. 30th when the CME from yesterday's X1-flare is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. Such storms can spark naked-eye auroras as far south as Illinois and Oregon (typically 50° geomagnetic latitude) and photographic auroras at even lower latitudes. Lesser G1 and G2-class storms could persist through Halloween as Earth passes through the CME's wake. Aurora alerts: SMS Text.

THE CORONAL MASS EJECTION: Here it comes. A coronal mass ejection (CME) launched into space on Oct. 28th by exploding sunspot AR2887 is heading almost directly for Earth. SOHO coronagraphs recorded the CME racing away from the sun faster than 1260 km/s (2.8 million mph):

The movie is full of "snow"--speckles caused by solar protons striking the coronagraph's CCD camera. These particles were accelerated toward the spacecraft (and toward Earth) by shock waves in the leading edge of the CME. Traveling at relativistic speeds, the protons reached us in less than an hour. The CME itself will take more than two days to cross the sun-Earth divide. ETA: Oct. 30th. Aurora alerts: SMS Text.

THE SOLAR FLARE: Yesterday, Oct. 28th, the sun experienced a global eruption. It began at 1535 UT when sunspot AR2887 unleashed an X1-class solar flare. The blast created a massive tsunami of plasma that rippled across the entire solar disk:

The plasma wave was about 100,000 km tall and moved through the sun's atmosphere faster than 700 km/s (1.6 million mph). These are also called "Moreton waves," named after American astronomer Gail Moreton who discovered them in 1959. Moreton waves often herald the launch of a CME.

Is sunspot AR2887 finished? Probably not. NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of M-class flares and a 25% chance of another X-flare in the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: SMS Text.
SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids edition of 10/29/21
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