20 Years Ago, A Severe Geomagnetic Storm

Posted: October 23, 2021 by oldbrew in Cycles, Geomagnetism, History, solar system dynamics

The next year or two may give us a better idea of how solar cycle 25 is going to turn out, compared to other cycles.


Oct. 21, 2021: Paolo Bardelli will never forget Oct. 21, 2001. “The sky over my hometown in Italy suddenly filled with intense red auroras,” he recalls. “This happened exactly 20 years ago today.”

Above: Red auroras over Tradate, Italy (latitude +45N), on Oct. 21, 2001. Photo credit: Cesare Guaita

A trip down memory lane: In 2001, Solar Cycle 23 was peaking and solar activity was very high. Strong flares were a daily occurance. On Oct. 19th, giant sunspot AR9661 erupted twice in quick succession, producing almost identical X1.6-class solar flares. The double blast hurled two bright CMEs toward Earth: CME #1, CME #2.

This is what the sun looked like that day:

The first CME took only two days to reach Earth. It was fast and potent. The storm cloud’s arrival on Oct. 21, 2001, ignited a severe geomagnetic storm (Kp=8). Solar wind speeds in the CME’s wake…

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  1. Saighdear says:

    Well I dunno, once again. I’m always looking at the heavens when I’m out and about. All these reports of Aurora and messaging from https://aurorawatch.lancs.ac.uk just doesn’t cut it for me. Mag Storms – I ‘m still waiting to see/ hear in the news … Like our weather reports / forecasts: It is hardly ever correct for our area. Recent Auroral acivity ( past week ) was easily seen on streaming webcams in Norway, nothing in Scotland , yet Lo & Behold, weather Progs were showing weather watchers Fotos of the Aurora…. Really? Proof? I see the Heavens at the same time but no aurora – so who is kidding who ? Yet when our Sat TV receiver and PC & WiFI go daft, there is no activity – so what is the connection?

  2. oldbrew says:

    There’s a ‘current auroral oval’ graphic posted at least daily here: https://spaceweather.com/

    Region e.g. Europe can be selected. Can’t comment on accuracy.

  3. Power Grab says:

    I think the most striking photos of aurorae are done with long exposure.

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