Archive for the ‘solar system dynamics’ Category

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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.

Spaceweather.com

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.

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Bright Comet Erasmus

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

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Short video here.

Spaceweather.com

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…

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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.
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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.

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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.

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

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.

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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.
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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 Phys.org.

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.”

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Cyclones in Jupiter’s atmosphere [image credit: NASA]


At the south pole of Jupiter lurks a striking sight—even for a gas giant planet covered in colorful bands that sports a red spot larger than the Earth, says Phys.org.

Down near the south pole of the planet, mostly hidden from the prying eyes of humans, is a collection of swirling storms arranged in an unusually geometric pattern.

Since they were first spotted by NASA’s Juno space probe in 2019, the storms have presented something of a mystery to scientists.

The storms are analogous to hurricanes on Earth. However, on our planet, hurricanes do not gather themselves at the poles and twirl around each other in the shape of a pentagon or hexagon, as do Jupiter’s curious storms.

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Figure 3. The 60‐year eccentricity function (blue) of Jupiter (see Figure 2) against: (a) the HadCRUT global surface temperature record (Morice et al., 2012) detrended of its quadratic polynomial fit f(t) ¼ a(t − 1850)2 + b (cf. Scafetta, 2010, 2016) (correlation coefficient r^2 = 0:5, p < 0.01); (b) the 5‐year running average of the Indian summer monsoon rainfall from 1813 to 1998 (Agnihotri & Dutta, 2003) (correlation coefficient r^2 = 0:5, p < 0.01)


 Plain Language Summary 

The physical origin of the modulation of the cloud system and of many of the Earth’s climate oscillations from the decadal to the millennial timescales is still unclear, despite its importance in climate science. One of the most prominent oscillations has a period of about 60 years and is found in a number of geophysical records such as temperature reconstructions, aurora sights, Indian rainfalls, ocean climatic records, and in many others. These oscillations might emerge from the internal variability of the climate system, but increasing evidence also points toward a solar or astronomical origin.

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Scientists report electric fields naturally occurring in the comet’s atmosphere in connection with its auroras. NASA calls them electromagnetic emissions.

Spaceweather.com

Sept. 22, 2020: Imagine putting your thumb on a garden hose and sending a jet of water into the sky. At the apex of the stream, auroras form. It turns out, some comets can actually perform this trick.

In a paper published this week in Nature Astronomy, researchers described how comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko turns vaporous jets of water into auroras.

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft observed the weird lights while it was orbiting Comet 67P in 2014-2016. At first researchers misunderstood what the glow was. It couldn’t be an aurora, could it? For one thing, the comet doesn’t even have a magnetic field–a key ingredient of geomagnetic storms. Also, the lights of Comet 67P are invisible to the human eye. They shine at far ultraviolet wavelengths, unlike the familiar red and green curtains that dance around Earth’s poles.

“Nevertheless, they are auroras,” says Marina Galand of Imperial College London…

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Image credit: Airbus


Nonsensical climate virtue signalling takes to the skies. Hydrogen production is expensive, and operating two fuelling systems at airports also sounds costly. ‘Zero emission’ only applies if hydrogen is produced without burning any fuels – as the EU recently told the Netherlands – so the burden on renewables to power entire countries, plus all their vehicles, will have to extend to aircraft as well? Pie in the sky springs to mind.
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Aerospace giant Airbus has announced plans to build zero-emission aircraft using hydrogen power technology.

On Monday (21 September), the firm revealed three concept designs that are on the table and is targeting a 2035 entry-into-service, reports Euractiv.

Airbus is working on three designs for aircraft that could be zero-emission, which range from a conventional turbofan jet with space for 200 passengers to a ‘blended wing’ concept that is a significant departure from the current generation of planes.

“These concepts will help us explore and mature the design and layout of the world’s first climate-neutral, zero-emission commercial aircraft, which we aim to put into service by 2035,” said CEO Guillaume Faury.

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Solar Cycle 25 is here, says NASA

Posted: September 17, 2020 by oldbrew in Cycles, News, solar system dynamics
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The Sun from NASA’s SDO spacecraft


Solar Cycle 25 has begun, according to this NASA press release.

During a media event on Tuesday, experts from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) discussed their analysis and predictions about the new solar cycle – and how the coming upswing in space weather will impact our lives and technology on Earth, as well as astronauts in space.

The Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel, an international group of experts co-sponsored by NASA and NOAA, announced that solar minimum occurred in December 2019, marking the start of a new solar cycle.

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It may not even have been the biggest one in recent centuries, and the Quebec Blackout of 1989 wasn’t far behind in intensity.

Spaceweather.com

Sept. 1, 2020: On Sept. 1st, 1859, the most ferocious solar storm in recorded history engulfed our planet. Named “the Carrington event” after British scientist Richard Carrington, who witnessed the flare that started it, the storm rocked Earth’s magnetic field, sparked auroras over Cuba, the Bahamas and Hawaii, set fire to telegraph stations in North America, and wrote itself into history books as the Biggest. Solar. Storm. Ever.

But sometimes what you read in history books is wrong. Modern researchers looking into the Carrington Event are coming to new and different conclusions.

“The Carrington Event was not unique,” says Hisashi Hayakawa of Japan’s Nagoya University, whose recent study of solar storms has uncovered at least two other events of comparable intensity (in 1872 and 1921). “While the Carrington Event has long been considered a once‐in‐a‐century catastrophe, historical observations warn us that this may be something that occurs much more frequently.”

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Credit: NASA [click on image to enlarge]


The effects of relative proximity between these large moons seem to have been underrated. Not forgetting that Jupiter does have a big effect on Io, the closest Galilean moon to it.
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Jupiter’s “ocean world” moons may have strong gravitational effects on each other, raising big tides in each others’ subsurface seas, a new study suggests [Space.com reporting].

Surprisingly, these moon-moon tidal forces might generate more heat in the satellites’ oceans than the gravitational tugs of giant Jupiter, study team members found.

“That’s kind of interesting, because Jupiter is the biggest mass in that system, so its tidal forces are much bigger than one moon on another,” lead author Hamish Hay, who performed the work while at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, said in a statement.

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Which brings us back to the old conundrum: do cosmic rays affect the Earth’s weather / climate, and if so, how and how much?

Spaceweather.com

August 11, 2020: Cosmic rays are bad–and they’re probably going to get worse.

That’s the conclusion of a new study entitled “Galactic Cosmic Radiation in Interplanetary Space Through a Modern Secular Minimum” just published in the journal Space Weather.

“During the next solar cycle, we could see cosmic ray dose rates increase by as much as 75%,” says lead author Fatemeh Rahmanifard of the University of New Hampshire’s Space Science Center. “This will limit the amount of time astronauts can work safely in interplanetary space.”

spacewalk

Cosmic rays are the bane of astronauts. They come from deep space, energetic particles hurled in all directions by supernova explosions and other violent events. No amount of spacecraft shielding can stop the most energetic particles, leaving astronauts exposed whenever they leave the Earth-Moon system.

Back in the 1990s, astronauts could travel through space for as much as 1000 days before they…

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The Solar Minimum Superstorm of 1903

Posted: July 31, 2020 by oldbrew in Cycles, solar system dynamics
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A message from the past: “The timing of the storm interestingly parallels where we are now–near Solar Minimum just after a weak solar cycle.”

Spaceweather.com

July 29, 2020: Don’t let Solar Minimum fool you. The sun can throw a major tantrum even during the quiet phase of the 11-year solar cycle. That’s the conclusion of a new study published in the July 1st edition of the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

“In late October 1903, one of the strongest solar storms in modern history hit Earth,” say the lead authors of the study,  Hisashi Hayakawa (Osaka University, Japan) and Paulo Ribeiro (Coimbra University, Portugal). “The timing of the storm interestingly parallels where we are now–near Solar Minimum just after a weak solar cycle.”

redlineAbove: The red line marks the 1903 solar superstorm in a plot of the 11-year solar cycle. [ref] The 1903 event wasn’t always recognized as a great storm. Hayakawa and colleagues took an interest in it because of what happened when the storm hit. In magnetic observatories around the world, pens…

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Venus


The presence of sulphur in the atmosphere hinted at this.
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A new study identified 37 recently active volcanic structures on Venus, reports Phys.org.

The study provides some of the best evidence yet that Venus is still a geologically active planet.

A research paper on the work, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland and the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, was published in the journal Nature Geoscience on July 20, 2020.

“This is the first time we are able to point to specific structures and say ‘Look, this is not an ancient volcano but one that is active today, dormant perhaps, but not dead,'” said Laurent Montési, a professor of geology at UMD and co-author of the research paper. “This study significantly changes the view of Venus from a mostly inactive planet to one whose interior is still churning and can feed many active volcanoes.”

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A Surprise Visit from STEVE

Posted: July 18, 2020 by oldbrew in Geomagnetism, solar system dynamics

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Nature’s purple haze.

Spaceweather.com

July 16, 2020: Even STEVE wants to see Comet NEOWISE. On July 14th, the geomagnetic phenomenon appeared over Canada, streaking the sky with mauve ribbons of light. Harlan Thomas of Calgary, Alberta, reports: “I was out shooting the comet when I noticed a mauve-looking cloud. Wow!” I thought. “STEVE has come to visit NEOWISE. How cool is that?”

steve

STEVE is a recent discovery. It looks like an aurora, but it is not. The purple glow is caused by hot (3000°C) ribbons of gas flowing through Earth’s magnetosphere at speeds exceeding 6 km/s (13,000 mph). It appears during some geomagnetic storms, often alongside a type of green aurora known as the “picket fence,” also shown in Thomas’s photo.

Statistics suggest that STEVE appears most often in spring and fall. What summoned STEVE in mid-summer? It may have been a CME that grazed Earth’s magnetic field on July…

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Solar flare erupting from a sunspot [image credit: space.com]


The idea being proposed is described as a reverse piezo-electrical effect.
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Ground-shaking earthquakes occur all across the globe. And according to a new study, many of them might be triggered by the Sun, says Astronomy.com.

Through decades of research, scientists have learned that large, powerful earthquakes commonly occur in groups, not in random patterns. But exactly why has so far remained a mystery.

Now, new research, published July 13 in Scientific Reviews, asserts the first strong — though still disputed — evidence that powerful eruptions on the Sun can trigger mass earthquake events on Earth.

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Image credit: Tallbloke

A few days ago I tweeted this comment above some remarkable video of the Three Gorges Dam bypass sluices.

Among other people, this was picked up by Willis, the warmist at WUWT, who used it as an opportunity to attack the reality of the Sun-climate connection:

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Noctilucent Clouds over London

Posted: June 24, 2020 by oldbrew in Clouds, solar system dynamics

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This phenomenon seems to be flourishing during solar minimum.

Spaceweather.com

June 23, 2020: On June 21st, something rare and magical happened in London. The skies of the great city filled with noctilucent clouds (NLCs). Phil Halper noticed the display, grabbed a camera, and raced from one landmark to another, hurriedly recording pictures like this:

Eye_of_London_resized

“Even the bright lights of the London Eye on the river Thames couldn’t drown out the display,” says Halper. “These were the most spectacular NLCs I’ve ever seen.”

If NLCs look alien–that’s because they are. The clouds are seeded by meteoroids. They form every year around this time when summertime wisps of water vapor rise up to the mesosphere, allowing water to crystallize around specks of meteor smoke.

Usually you have to be under a dark sky at high latitudes to see these rare clouds–but 2020 is not usual. Record-cold temperatures in the mesosphere are boosting NLCs, brightening them enough to see from places…

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