By FatherMotherGod… – Posted on 14 October 2012

GEOMAGNETIC STORMING: Earth’s magnetic field is unsettledon Oct. 14th following a lengthy G1-class geomagnetic storm the day before. While the storm of Oct. 13th subsides, another may be in the offing: NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Oct. 14-15 in response to an incoming solar wind stream. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras tonight.Aurora alerts: textvoice.

During the past few nights of storming, auroras with rare pulsations,colors, and shapes have been sighted all around the Arctic Circle. In Lofoten, Norway, the lights formed an exquisite green butterfly:

If this picture confuses you, turn it sideways to see it the same way photographer June Grønseth did. “I took more than 400 pictures last night,” says Grønseth. “The butterfly and the heart were my favorites.”

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

INCOMING ACTIVE REGION: An active sunspot located just over the sun’s northeastern limb exploded during the early hours of Oct. 14th. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed a bright loop of hot plasma twisting over the blast site:

The eruption hurled a coronal mass ejection into space: SOHO movie. The cloud will not affect Earth because our planet was not in the line of fire. Future eruptions, however, might be geoeffective. The sun’s rotation is about to bring the sunspot onto the Earthside of the sun where we could become targets for future flares. Stay tuned. Solar flare alerts: textvoice.

RADIO STORM ON JUPITER: Two nights ago, there was a storm on Jupiter–a radio storm. Amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft recorded the event using a shortwave radio telescope located in New Mexico. Click on the dynamic spectrum (a plot of intensity vs. frequency vs. time) to hear the whooshing, crackling, popping sounds that emerged from his telescope’s loudspeaker:

Dynamic spectrum courtesy of Wes Greenman, Radio Alachua Observatory

“Listen to the recording in stereo,” advises Ashcraft. “I recorded the audio from two separate radios at 21.1 MHz and 20.9 MHz, so there is a stereo spatial effect from the frequency drift of the emissions.”

Jupiter’s radio storms are caused by natural radio lasers in the planet’s magnetosphere that sweep past Earth as Jupiter rotates. Electrical currents flowing between Jupiter’s upper atmosphere and the volcanic moon Io can boost these emissions to power levels easily detected by ham radio antennas on Earth. Jovian “S-bursts” and “L-bursts” mimic the sounds of woodpeckers, whales, and waves crashing on the beach. Here are a few audio samples: S-burstsS-bursts (slowed down 128:1), L-Bursts

Now is a good time to listen to Jupiter’s radio storms. The distance between Earth and Jupiter is decreasing as the giant planet approaches opposition on Dec. 3rd; the closer we come to Jupiter, the louder it gets.NASA’s Radio Jove Project explains how to build your own receiver.


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