An “extreme” geomagnetic storm, resulting from yesterday morning’s massive X17 solar flare, is still in progress. Last night, auroras were seen as far south as Georgia, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and Oklahoma — and tonight could be a repeat performance. The planetary K-index remains at its highest level, 9, and Northern lights are being seen right now in England and Ireland, according to SpaceWeather.com.
Meanwhile, another extremely strong solar flare — this one rated X11 — erupted today, creating the potential for spooky Halloween auroras!
UPDATE: The ongoing space storm has disrupted a Japanese satellite.
The BCS is un-American. If college football doesn’t adopt a playoff system, we’ll be letting the terrorists win! :)
The coronal mass ejection produced by yesterday morning’s enormous solar flare has reached the Earth. It hit at roughly 1:30 AM Eastern. A strong geomagnetic storm is now underway, with Northern lights seen as far south as central California, according to SpaceWeather.com, which promises further updates.
A map of auroral activity as of 3:14 AM EST. (Hmm… it doesn’t look like there are any auroras in California…)
Unfortunately, it’s cloudy and rainy here in Connecticut (where I arrived around 2:30 AM, having left NYC with my mom shortly after midnight). The only “Northern lights” we can see from my house are from the light dome of Hartford, illuminating the clouds. :( Oh, well.
With five minutes left before my new cell-phone “month” begins, I have officially used 998 out of my 1000 night and weekend minutes. That’s right, I have exactly two minutes left out of a thousand. I am extremely proud of this. :)
The third-biggest solar flare in recorded history could produce some “great auroras,” a NASA scientist told CBC.
But the article adds that “until scientists figure out the orientation of the cloud’s magnetic field, they can’t predict how severe the geomagnetic storm will be.”
It also looks to me like the height of auroral activity will probably arrive during daylight hours here tomorrow, which would be a bummer. But these things are notoriously hard to predict, so who knows? Wednesday night Northern lights are certainly possible.
Meanwhile, SpaceRef.com has a video of the flare (notice how the radiation from the eruption begins to interfere with the camera near the end of the sequence), and a detailed advisory bulletin from NOAA’s Space Environment Center.
CNN also has a story about it now.
This morning’s solar flare has been upgraded from an X14 to an X17. It may have been the strongest in 14 years, though it seems the jury is still out on that. (UPDATE: It turns out there was a flare in 2001 that was stronger, but that one was directed away from Earth. This one was pointed almost straight at us. Here is the list of strongest solar flares in recorded history.)
Regardless, an S3 radiation storm is now in progress, strong enough to potentially deliver a chest X-ray’s worth of radiation to airplane passengers in high latitudes.
Also, there is a massive gust of solar wind (a coronal mass ejection) moving very fast and directly toward Earth — fast enough that Northern lights are possible tonight. The CME is pictured above; the many small dots in the picture are high-energy protons from the radiation storm, interfering with the camera.
One of the most powerful solar flares in years, a remarkable X17-category explosion, erupted from giant sunspot 486 this morning at approximately 1110 UT and, as a result, a strong solar radiation storm is in progress. … The explosion hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) directly toward Earth. When it left the sun, the cloud was traveling 2125 km/s (more than 4 million mph). This CME could trigger bright auroras when it sweeps past our planet perhaps as early as tonight.
UPDATE: The Space.com article says today’s event “appears to be the third most powerful flare in recorded history.” The CME “could hit Earth mid-day Wednesday with more effect than any since 1989, when an entire Canadian province had its power knocked out. … Depending on the storm’s magnetic orientation, it could set off a dramatic display of colorful northern lights well into mid-latitudes of the United States and Europe.”
One of the most powerful solar flares in years, a remarkable X14-category explosion, erupted from sunspot 486 this morning at approximately 1110 UT. An intensifying S2-class solar radiation storm is in progress. The explosion almost certainly hurled a coronal mass ejection toward Earth, which could trigger bright auroras when it arrives on Oct 29th or 30th. Stay tuned for details.
Northern lights on my birthday? Bring ‘em on! Woohoo!
UPDATE: My birthday is Oct. 30, by the way, if you didn’t know. :)
Anyway, I just got this e-mail alert, which I will also get any second as a phone alert from Space Weather Phone:
Hi, this is Dr. Tony Phillips calling with a space weather alert. It’s Tuesday, Oct. 28th. One of the most powerful solar flares in years erupted this morning at 11 o’clock Universal Time. It was an X14-class event. Because of the explosion, energetic solar protons are streaming past Earth. An S2-class solar radiation storm is in progress. This poses no threat at present to air travelers or astronauts, but the storm seems to be intensifying. We’ll call you again if it become significantly stronger.
If I’m reading the data right, a positively enormous solar flare — one of the biggest ever recorded — just occurred at 6:10 AM. SpaceWeather.com is calling it an “X14″ solar flare, which I didn’t know was even possible. Normally, the scale for strong solar flares goes from X1 to X9, so this is pretty much off the charts.
For comparison’s sake, the “Bastille Day event” of July 14, 2000, which produced a substantial radiation storm, was an X6. The solar flare last Wednesday that produced all the talk about satellite disruption and such was an X3. To reiterate, this was an X14. Here is a chart showing the X-rays it produced.
UPDATE: NOAA’s Space Environment Center says there is, or was, a “severe” radio blackout. My radio is working, however.
Tomorrow is my last day working at Jobs & the City. Tomorrow night or Wednesday morning, I head back to Connecticut, and then on Nov. 11, I’m off to Phoenix. Anyway… tomorrow I’ll be saying farewell to my friends at work. I’ll miss you guys!
From left: Tim McDonough, Sara Asselin, me, and Scott Lucy.
I’ll also miss the gorgeous view of Midtown from the 13th-floor loft where we work. Today, the scene was particularly dramatic as heavy rain caused the Empire State Building to seemingly disappear, then reappear a few minutes later:
Here’s what the view looks like on clearer days. The first picture is in the morning, the second in the afternoon just before sunset.
You know, I sort of hate to admit this, because I feel like I’m giving in to mass marketing and pop culture, not to mention Rubert Murdoch… but you know what? I’m really starting to like the new Fox show Skin.
Specifically, I really liked the second episode, which just aired. The first episode was more than a little anticlimactic, because there were really no surprises in it after all those incessant, detailed commercials during the baseball playoffs. But the second episode was quite good, I thought. I particularly like the fact that the pornographer actually seems to be one of the more moral adult characters. And it’s hard to go wrong with a Romeo and Juliet story… particularly when Juliet (or in this case, “Jewel”) is played by a gorgeous blue-eyed blonde. (I have a thing for gorgeous blue-eyed blondes, in case anyone hadn’t noticed. :)
Hey! I just realized that the Juliet character’s first name is Jewel and the Romeo character’s last name is Roam. Coincidence? I THINK NOT!
Daily Trojan sports writer Arash Markazi — who, by the way, is one of the real winners at that paper, a good journalist and a good guy — writes that USC tailback Reggie Bush wants people to call him “The President.” He apparently wants it so badly that he lied to Arash, claiming it’s already his team nickname when, apparently, it’s not. Read it. It’s funny. (It’s also a superbly written article. Quick, somebody hire this kid!)
Really, though, let’s call it a statistical tie with #5 Georgia, because it might as well be: we have 11.07 points, they have 11.15. (Lower is better in the BCS.) And Georgia has a pretty strong schedule for the rest of the season, so frankly, I think we need them to lose.
We also need #3 Florida State to lose, not only because they’re ahead of us but because, as ESPN points out, the higher they’re ranked, the higher Miami is ranked, thanks to the Hurricanes’ quality-win points from their victory over the Seminoles. This doesn’t matter if it’s Oklahoma that loses a game, but if the Hurricanes lose one, they become a competitor for the “best one-loss team” spot, too.
And, of course, we need either #2 Miami or #1 Oklahoma to lose. Both have tough games this weekend, against Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!) and Oklahoma State (Go Cowboys!), respectively. Meanwhile, Florida State is playing Notre Dame (Go Irish!), and Georgia will take on Florida (Go Gators!).
And then obviously the Trojans need to win out, starting with Saturday’s possibly Pac-10-deciding Homecoming game in L.A. against Washington State (Beat the Cougars!). All in all, it’s going to be a huge weekend of college football. ESPN says it will be the biggest November Saturday since 1997; they’re calling it Survival Saturday.
CAVEAT: ESPN wisely points out:
This Saturday’s schedule of games certainly should separate the pretenders from the contenders, but if it also happens to separate either Oklahoma or Miami from its perfect record, don’t assume that team’s national title hopes would be lost, as well.
The Sooners have a strong schedule and the benefit of a conference championship game to make a final statement to poll voters. The ‘Canes have a remaining schedule that includes Tennessee and Pittsburgh and would help them rise back up in the computers.
It’s always better to lose early in the season than late, but OU and UM are far enough ahead of everyone else in the BCS right now that neither should fall too far with a competitive loss. The once-beaten teams would love to see them go down, but there’s no guarantee that it would give someone else a spot in the Nokia Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4.
Grady Little is toast.
Toni, in California, sends along this news flash via e-mail:
They had this writer on from Forbes, talking about the top dead celebrities who are making money, and J.R.R. Tolkien is 5th on the list. Then they were talking about the new movie coming out and the guy says, well, with the new movie coming out, it generates alot of interest and money. Then he says… I read this morning a man in New York is quitting his job just to go see the movie!
LOL! That’s awesome. But I sort of hope my name didn’t get mentioned… I’d rather not have the whole world thinking that Brendan Loy is some dorky, unreliable employee who quits jobs left and right to go see movies… that impression might not be too good for my future employment prospects… and, as I explained yesterday, it’s not true.
You know, technically speaking, I might have grounds for a libel suit here. Stating that I quit a job for no good reason could easily be interpreted as defamatory… and I’m a private figure (I don’t think BrendanLoy.com is quite big enough to move me into the public arena), so the standard would be mere negligence, not “actual malice”… and making a convenient assumption that makes the story more interesting but was not supported either by our phone conversation or by my original blog post about this issue, certainly seems rather negligent…
But no, I bear no ill will toward Leanne (the reporter) — indeed, I rather liked her story, embellishment notwithstanding, and naturally, I love the 15 minutes of fame — and I ain’t gonna sue anybody… well, at least not unless this ends up damaging me in some way. So far, my name apparently hasn’t showed up on the wires (that according to a Google News Search), so that’s good. As long as this stays in Albuquerque and doesn’t expand much further, it remains just plain funny. :)
However, just to repeat, for anyone who finds their way here and hasn’t already heard: I DID NOT QUIT MY JOB TO GO SEE TRILOGY TUESDAY. As I stated here, I quit my job for various good reasons, with the final straw being that the company wanted to convert my IT job into primarily a sales job, and I was not interested in a sales job. My decision to quit was made roughly 48 hours prior to my purchase of the Trilogy Tuesday tickets, and the two decisions were entirely unrelated. As explained (or at least implied) here, Trilogy Tuesday did play a role in cementing my decision to move to Phoenix after quitting, rather than staying in New York after quitting, but it had no role in my employment decision.
You can follow the evolution of this story in my Lord of the Rings category.
NOTE: You’ll notice that I did NOT mention the last name of the reporter, Leanne, in the post above. This is not accidental. As I said, I bear Leanne no ill will whatsoever, and I would not want her full name to appear in the same post as a libel accusation, even a hypothetical one, lest someone someday do a Google search for her name, and stumble upon this post out of context. To that end, I would appreciate it if commenters on this post would cooperate and not use Leanne’s last name.
UPDATE: Bolstering my “no ill will” position on her reportage, Leanne writes, “The copy desk cut out the part of the story that had you saying something like ‘I was going to move to Phoenix anyway, I’m just doing it sooner so I can see this movie.’ There was space, so I don’t know why the cut was made. I’ll find out today.”
I have a guess why: the copy desk realized the story would be more interesting without the caveat, so they made the decision to embellish the story by deleting it. Heh. Blame Canada? No… “Blame Copy Desk!” :)
No new BCS standings yet, but the Seattle Times declares, “USC leads group of one-loss teams,” and predicts, “Florida State, Georgia and USC will be neck and neck in the race for third place when the new BCS standings come out today.”
The Times also notes, painfully, that “if not for a triple-overtime loss at California in September, the Trojans would be in prime shape for the Sugar Bowl.”