Archive for the ‘solar system dynamics’ Category

A New Form of Space Weather: Earth Wind

Posted: February 12, 2021 by oldbrew in moon, solar system dynamics, wind

A water creation surprise here.

Feb. 12, 2021: The sun is windy. Every day, 24/7, a breeze of electrified gas blows away from the sun faster than a million mph. Solar wind sparks beautiful auroras around the poles of Earth, sculpts the tails of comets, and scours the surface of the Moon.

Would you believe, Earth is windy, too? Our own planet produces a breeze of electrified gas. It’s like the solar wind, only different, and it may have important implications for space weather on the Moon.

“Earth wind” comes from the axes of our planet. Every day, 24/7, fountains of gas shoot into space from the poles. The leakage is tiny compared to Earth’s total atmosphere, but it is enough to fill the magnetosphere with a riot of rapidly blowing charged particles. Ingredients include ionized hydrogen, helium, oxygen and nitrogen.

Once a month, the Moon gets hit by a blast of Earth wind. It…

View original post 408 more words

Ned Nikolov, Ph.D. Has written to me with news of the presentations he made at this years AMS meeting. It’s vital we get people to understand the implications of the discoveries he and Karl Zeller have made. With our western governments jumping aboard the ‘Green New Deal’ and ‘NetZero’ bandwagons, we will need to work hard to rise awareness of viable alternative hypotheses for ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ which better explain the phenomena we can measure around us. Ned and Karl’s work should be given proper attention, because it strives for universality and general application of physics solar system wide, rather then treating Earth as a ‘special case’.

Two studies presented at the American Meteorological Society’s 34th Conference on Climate Variability and Change in January 2021 employed a novel approach to identify the forcing of Earth’s climate at various time scales. The new method, never attempted in climate science before, relies on the fundamental premise that the laws of nature are invariant across spacetime.


Lagrange points in the Sun–Earth system (not to scale). A small object at L4 or L5 will hold its relative position [Credit: Xander89 @ Wikipedia]

More about Lagrange points here.
– – –
A recently discovered asteroid appears to be an Earth Trojan, orbiting a gravitationally stable area with only one other known occupant, says Sky & Telescope.

Trojans are asteroids gravitationally locked to stable Lagrange points either 60° ahead (L4) or behind (L5) the planets in their orbits around the Sun. 2020 XL5 was found around the L4 point.

Massive Jupiter has more than 9,000 Trojans.

In theory, Trojan orbits would be stable around every planet except Saturn, where Jupiter’s gravity pulls them away.



In a recent post we looked at the average daily sunspot numbers, finding that far from the claimed decades-long decline of solar strength, averages were high from 1933-2008 followed by a sharp decline in the recently-ended solar cycle 24.

This time the focus moves to another metric from the same source, Wikipedia’s List of solar cycles.

After the main table of data they introduce another one, stating:
The following table is instead divided into (unofficial) cycles starting and ending with a maximum, to give a better feel for the number of spotless days associated with each minimum.

For this short exercise the ‘Spotless days’ column of data will be split into two groups of six, comparing the overall average of each from the list.


What if … A Perfect CME Hit Earth?

Posted: January 22, 2021 by oldbrew in solar system dynamics

Are you sitting comfortably? Well, you might not be after reading this…

Jan. 21, 2021: You’ve heard of a “perfect storm.” But what about a perfect solar storm? A new study just published in the research journal Space Weather considers what might happen if a worst-case coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth. Spoiler alert: You might need a backup generator.

For years, researchers have been wondering, what’s the worst the sun could do? In 2014, Bruce Tsurutani (JPL) and Gurbax Lakhina (Indian Institute of Geomagnetism) introduced the “Perfect CME.” It would be fast, leaving the sun around 3,000 km/s, and aimed directly at Earth. Moreover, it would follow another CME, which would clear the path in front of it, allowing the storm cloud to hit Earth with maximum force.

None of this is fantasy. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) has observed CMEs leaving the sun at speeds up to 3,000 km/s. And there are many documented cases of…

View original post 486 more words

Data courtesy of

Back in November it looked like solar cycle 25 was finally getting underway, with daily sunspot numbers peaking up to 80, and the 30 day Wolf number climbing over 30 in early December. Since then though, the Sun has relapsed into a low activity state.

This won’t come as any surprise to Talkshop followers, we’ve been saying that cycle 25 would be very low for most of the last decade. Our group research culminated in late 2013 with publication of Rick Salvador’s orbital resonance model in the journal ‘Pattern Recognition in Physics’. We provided an update on the validation of the model a while back, showing it has remained on track since publication.


The NLCs are playing a game of hide-and-seek this season, bemusing regular observers.

Jan. 8, 2021:

They’re back. Noctilucent clouds (NLCs), recently missing, are once again circling the South Pole. And, in an unexpected twist, they’ve just appeared over Argentina as well.

“This is a very rare event,” reports Gerd Baumgarten of Germany’s Leibniz-Institute of Atmospheric Physics, whose automated cameras caught the meteoritic clouds rippling over Rio Grande, Argentina (53.8S) on Jan. 3rd:

A second camera recorded the clouds at even higher latitude: Rio Gallegos (51.6S). At this time of year, noctilucent clouds are supposed to be confined to the Antarctic–not Argentina. In the whole history of atmospheric research, NLCs have been sighted at mid-southern latitudes only a handful of times.

“Personally, I am thrilled to see NLCs in Argentina, as I had not expected them to occur so far north,” says Natalie Kaifler of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), who operates a lidar (laser radar) alongside one of Baumgarten’s…

View original post 171 more words

In fact it’s unprecedented, in recent history at least. But 2021 is predicted to be even shorter.
– – –
Scientists around the world have noted that the Earth has been spinning on its axis faster lately—the fastest ever recorded, says

Several scientists have spoken to the press about the unusual phenomenon, with some pointing out that this past year saw some of the shortest days ever recorded.

For most of the history of mankind, time has been marked by the 24-hour day/night cycle (with some alterations made for convenience as the seasons change). The cycle is governed by the speed at which the planet spins on its axis.


Clouds on Mars [image credit: NASA]

Regarding the Earth’s equivalent Chandler wobble, Wikipedia says: ‘Since the Chandler wobble should die down in a matter of decades or centuries, there must be influences that continually re-excite it.’ Presumably the same will apply to Mars, but as relevant observations are all fairly recent no conclusion can be reached at present.
– – –
Spacecraft find that Mars oscillates 10 centimeters off its axis of rotation, says Eos.

In a first for a solar system body other than Earth, scientists have detected the Chandler wobble on Mars, a repeated movement of the poles on the surface of the planet away from its average axis of rotation.

The Chandler wobble arises when a rotating body isn’t a perfect sphere. This imbalance affects its spin.

The result is a wiggle resembling that of a swaying top as it loses speed, rather than the smooth spin of a perfectly balanced globe.


Is it a coincidence that we’re just past the end of the lowest sunspot cycle for over a century?

Dec. 28, 2020: Something strange is happening 50 miles above Antarctica. Or rather, not happening. Noctilucent clouds (NLCs), which normally blanket the frozen continent in December, are almost completely missing. These images from NASA’s AIM spacecraft compare Christmas Eve 2019 with Christmas Eve 2020:

“The comparison really is astounding,” says Cora Randall of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. “Noctilucent cloud frequencies are close to zero this year.”

NLCs are Earth’s highest clouds. They form when summertime wisps of water vapor rise up from the poles to the edge of space. Water crystallizing around specks of meteor dust 83 km (~50 miles) above Earth’s surface creates beautiful electric-blue structures, typically visible from November to February in the south, and May to August in the north.

A crucial point: Noctilucent clouds form during summer. And that’s the problem. Although summer officially started in Antarctica one week…

View original post 237 more words


How to see it, plus videos – here.
– – –
Jupiter and Saturn will merge in the night sky Monday, appearing closer to one another than they have since Galileo’s time in the 17th century, says

Astronomers say so-called conjunctions between the two largest planets in our solar system aren’t particularly rare.

Jupiter passes its neighbor Saturn in their respective laps around the sun every 20 years.

But the one coming up is especially close: Jupiter and Saturn will be just one-tenth of a degree apart from our perspective or about one-fifth the width of a full moon.

They should be easily visible around the world a little after sunset, weather permitting.


Model dinosaur

The lead author of the study puts the blame on “the largest cataclysmic impacts and massive volcanism, perhaps sometimes working in concert.” The study says: ‘The correlations and similar cycles in marine and non-marine extinction episodes suggest a common cause’. Note: this is a follow-up to a 2015 study with the same lead author, also featured at the Talkshop.
– – –
Mass extinctions of land-dwelling animals—including amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds—follow a cycle of about 27 million years, coinciding with previously reported mass extinctions of ocean life, according to a new analysis published in the journal Historical Biology.

The study also finds that these mass extinctions align with major asteroid impacts and devastating volcanic outpourings of lava called flood-basalt eruptions—providing potential causes for why the extinctions occurred, reports

“It seems that large-body impacts and the pulses of internal Earth activity that create flood-basalt volcanism may be marching to the same 27-million-year drumbeat as the extinctions, perhaps paced by our orbit in the Galaxy,” said Michael Rampino, a professor in New York University’s Department of Biology and the study’s lead author.



‘Scientists use an extended, 22-year solar cycle to make the forecast’ is the sub-heading to the article. In other words the Hale cycle. At the end of last year The Talkshop detailed Plenty of predictions from a wide range of research groups, including our own, made in 2013. A possible (?) early indicator is that the ‘smoothed minimum’ of sunspots at the start of solar cycle 25 is given by Wikipedia as 1.8, the lowest recorded since cycle 7 (0.2) in 1823.
– – –
In direct contradiction to the official forecast, a team of scientists led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is predicting that the Sunspot Cycle that started this fall could be one of the strongest since record-keeping began, says NCAR News.

In a new article published in Solar Physics, the research team predicts that Sunspot Cycle 25 will peak with a maximum sunspot number somewhere between approximately 210 and 260, which would put the new cycle in the company of the top few ever observed.


Sunspots [image credit: NASA]

Wikipedia’s Solar activity and climate web page says:
Solar activity has been on a declining trend since the 1960s, as indicated by solar cycles 19-24, in which the maximum number of sunspots were 201, 111, 165, 159, 121 and 82, respectively.

We’re probably not surprised that they prefer a metric which appears to support their often-expressed view in various climate-related pages that modern global warming can’t be natural.

But is the sunspot maximum the most relevant metric to judge the level of solar activity by? Another Wikipedia page is its List of Solar Cycles.


Quote: ‘STEVE is a recently identified atmospheric phenomenon caused by supersonic plasma jets flowing at altitudes >100 km.’ Scientists continue to wrestle with its electromagnetic mysteries.

Nov. 22, 2020: Just when you thought STEVE couldn’t get any weirder. A new paper published in the journal AGU Advances reveals that the luminous purple ribbon we call “STEVE” is often accompanied by green cannonballs of light that streak through the atmosphere at 1000 mph.

“Citizen scientists have been photographing these green streaks for years,” says Joshua Semeter of Boston University, lead author of the study. “Now we’re beginning to understand what they are.”

STEVE is a recent discovery. It looks like an aurora, but it is not. The purple glow is caused by hot (3000 °C) rivers of gas flowing through Earth’s magnetosphere faster than 13,000 mph. This distinguishes it from auroras, which are ignited by energetic particles raining down from space. Canadian aurora watchers first called attention to the phenomenon about 10 years ago, whimsically naming it STEVE; researchers have been studying it ever since.

View original post 398 more words

Bright Comet Erasmus

Posted: November 22, 2020 by oldbrew in Astronomy, News, solar system dynamics

Short video here.

Nov. 21, 2020: Every 2000 years, Comet Erasmus (C/2020 S3) visits the inner Solar System. News Flash: It’s back. Discovered on Sept. 17, 2020, by South African astronomer Nicolas Erasmus, the dirty snowball is plunging toward the sun for a close encounter inside the orbit of Mercury on Dec. 12th. This is what it looks like:

Gerald Rhemann took the picture Friday morning, Nov. 20th, using a 12-inch telescope in Farm Tivoli, Namibia. “The tail is magnificent,” he says. “In fact, I couldn’t fit it in a single field of view. This two-panel composite shows the first 3 degrees–and it keeps going well past the edge of the photo.”

Comet Erasmus is brightening as it approaches the sun. Right now it is 7th magnitude–an easy target for backyard telescopes. Forecasters believe it will more than triple in brightness to 5th magnitude by the time it dips inside the orbit of Mercury…

View original post 87 more words

Image credit: Elfiehall @ Wikipedia

More unexplained goings-on as the solar wind’s charged particles reach Earth’s ionosphere. For the latest photos showing bright green light, see the source article here.
– – –
The purple-and-green, atmospheric light show nicknamed STEVE just got even stranger, says Science News.

STEVE, short for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, is a sky glow that appears south of the northern lights (SN: 3/15/18).

STEVE’s main feature is a mauve band of light formed by a stream of plasma flowing westward through the atmosphere — a different phenomenon from the one that gives rise to auroras (SN: 4/30/19).

But STEVE’s purple arc is often accompanied by a “picket fence” of vertical green stripes.


Quiet sun [image credit: NASA]

H/t to Electroverse for the heads up on this paper detailing the effect of reduced solar activity and cyclic oceanic oscillations on Canadian agriculture. Let’s hope the policymakers see through the warming dogma in time.

Is Diminishing Solar Activity Detrimental to Canadian Prairie Agriculture?

Ray Garnett¹*, Madhav Khandekar² and Rupinder Kaur³

Abstract: During the grain growing months of May-July, the mean temperature on the Canadian prairies has cooled down by 2ºC in the last 30 years. The cooling appears to be most certainly linked to diminishing solar activity as the Sun approaches a Grand Solar Minimum in the next decade or so. This cooling has led to a reduction in Growing Degree Days (GDDs) and has also impacted the precipitation pattern. The GDDs in conjunction with mean temperature and precipitation are important parameters for the growth of various grains (wheat, barley, canola etc.) on the prairies.


Another round of the enduring hexagon mystery.
– – –
With its dazzling system of icy rings, Saturn has been a subject of fascination since ancient times, says

Even now the sixth planet from the sun holds many mysteries, partly because its distance away makes direct observation difficult and partly because this gas giant (which is multiple times the size of our planet) has a composition and atmosphere, mostly hydrogen and helium, so unlike that of Earth.

Learning more about it could yield some insights into the creation of the solar system itself.

One of Saturn’s mysteries involves the massive storm in the shape of a hexagon at its north pole.


Teslas in Norway [image credit: Norsk Elbilforening (Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association)]

Delete ‘alone’. The study is essentially redundant, as a reduction from 0.04% of carbon dioxide’s very small share of the atmosphere won’t do anything noticeable to the climate anyway. However it does highlight some difficulties with the current policies pretending to ‘tackle the climate crisis’, such as the massive increase in electricity generation needed to power hundreds of millions of electric vehicles. Closing down all thermal power plants is not compatible with such a policy, as the researchers admit, but climate obsessives may not want to face up to that.
– – –
Today there are more than 7 million electric vehicles (EVs) in operation around the world, compared with only about 20,000 a decade ago, says

It’s a massive change—but according to a group of University of Toronto Engineering researchers, it won’t be nearly enough to address the global climate crisis.

“A lot of people think that a large-scale shift to EVs will mostly solve our climate problems in the passenger vehicle sector” says Alexandre Milovanoff, lead author of a new paper published today in Nature Climate Change.

“I think a better way to look at it is this: EVs are necessary, but on their own, they are not sufficient.”