SpaceTramp brought my attention to the current increase in solar activity that’s been happening over the last few days. According to SpaceWeather.com, Wednesday’s X17 flare was the fifth largest ever recorded!
A quick search on Technorati for other posts about the solar storm brought me to Astinus’ Blog where I found a couple of amazing animated GIFs that show a two-day time lapse of the recent activity. The National Weather Service’s Space Environment Center website (which is where you want to go to find the most recent solar stats, images, and predictions BTW) led me to the source of the images The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph Experiment (I think there’s a reason they refer to this as LASCO…) SOHO (The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) is a good source of pretty pictures and information as well. And there are news stories up at NASA (Huge Solar Flare Spotted) and NOAA (NOAA issues another space weather warning; powerful solar flare erupts).
I’m supposed to be getting ready to go out right about now, but I have this awful glut of information attacking me! Can’t… stop… clicking… links! The possibility of seeing me some aurora would probably get me out of the house, if there weren’t all of these nasty buildings in the way (which reminds me of how annoyed I was not to be able to look at Venus and Jupiter on the 1st — it was my first day living in Chicago!)… I’m not sure exactly what conditions are necessary for it to be visible way down here, but just a guess… they might be something like the current conditions. I saw the aurora once from my home in southern Ontario, and I must say, it took me a while to figure out what the hell it was (it was partially cloudy, so I assumed it was some sort of freakish lightning at first :) Hey, I’m not that dumb… Roman emperor Tiberius once sent his men out to Ostia to put out a “fire” that was actually a freakish occurance of red aurora (of course, I can’t seem to find a source for this, and the internets don’t seem to agree about whether this happened in 34 or 37 BC — I’ve gathered that Seneca recorded the event, but that’s not very specific, now is it) (UPDATE: Seneca wrote about this in his Quaestiones Naturales — Book I. I know enough Latin to find the section of the text that talks about it, but not to translate it, for I am very rusty, and didn’t know that much Latin to begin with).
I wish I could remember when my aurora happened, so I could link it up with a particular storm, or that I’d thought of doing so at the time. It was quite impressive even that far south, so I can only imagine what it must be like up north. And see, dammit… I clicked on some more links — did you know that September is aurora season? Because I didn’t.
I’m going to stop now, before I dig into my browser history to find the link to recent crackpot theories about sunspots that I’ve read. Whoever wrote the page I saw had some pretty precise predictions for what is now the present, and related sunspots to earthquakes and one causing the other, somehow. I’ll dig it up later if I can find it, and link it here. Because everything’s more hilarious once crackpots get their hands on it! Now I’m gonna get me out of the house, and stop rambling. Since I’m fairly sure that I’m not even being intelligible, anyhow!