When sunspot 930 erupted on Wednesday in an X6-class solar flare, it didn’t just produce a radiation storm — it also produced a sort of “solar tsunami”:
“These large scale ‘blast’ waves occur infrequently, however, are very powerful. They quickly propagate in a matter of minutes covering the whole Sun, sweeping away filamentary material,” said Dr. K. S. Balasubramaniam, of the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Sunspot, NM, who is studying these and other phenomena. “It is unusual to see such powerful waves encompassing the whole sun from ground based observatories.”
Pretty freakin’ awesome.
In a related story, there could be some Northern lights tonight:
A coronal mass ejection (CME) is expected to brush past Earth tonight, sparking a mild geomagnetic storm. The display will probably favor high latitudes–e.g., Scandinavia, Canada and Alaska–but it could descend as well to northern-tier US states such as Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The source of the CME is sunspot 930, which has been exploding regularly since it first appeared on Dec. 5th. The sunspot is slowly turning to face Earth. As it does, it might send more CMEs our way, and they would hit head-on rather than merely brushing past. By next week, Northern Lights could reach deep into the United States. Stay tuned. (And keep your fingers crossed.)
Lisa took a slightly closer-up video than I did of Notre Dame students rushing the court after beating #4 Alabama yesterday:
And, from some other YouTube user, here’s a very close-up view, not of the court rush itself, but of a student-section cheer shortly beforehand. (Warning: mild profanity.)
The Associated Press reports the House ethics committee has concluded that Republican leaders did not break any rules in handling ex-Rep. Mark Foley's improper advances to former male pages but were negligent in protecting the teenagers, a congressional aide said today. Visit CNN for the latest.
I’d suggest the story of Patrick Willis, Ole Miss senior linebacker for you.
I remember following this kid’s progress as a high school player for tiny little Bruceton-Hollow Rock High School in rural west Tennessee back in my sports radio days. The kid could play, and deserved to win the Mr. Football award in his classification his senior year.
He’s had an incredibly difficult life, including the death of his younger brother this summer, and yet remains positive, focused, and committed to his family and team.
Last night, he properly won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top college linebacker. This spring, any NFL team that needs a dominant, intensely dedicated middle linebacker to patrol the field on Sundays should snap him up in a heartbeat.
Congratulations, Patrick Willis.
Here’s my video of students rushing the court after Notre Dame’s win over #4 Alabama tonight at the Joyce Center last night. Actually, the first portions of the video show people getting into position to rush the court. The actual court rush begins 50 seconds into the clip.
Here’s an AP photo of the court rush:
Heh. I can’t decide what’s the best part: the guy with the red beard in the Guinness shirt leading the charge, the guy behind him wearing a neon-green clown wig, the guy in the Phillies shirt and what look like pajama pants with green shoes and crazy hair proclaiming “We’re #1,” the shirtless face-and-chest-painted guy going nuts, the black-shirted jumpers going even more nuts, or the Alabama player looking at all of them and wondering what the hell is wrong with Notre Dame students. ;)
I didn’t rush the court with that first “wave” of students because I wanted to videotape the mayhem from a wide-view perspective, as shown previously. But I eventually did work my way down there — in time to high-five Ryan Ayers and then celebrate on the court as the band played various songs — as you’ll see in this rather chaotic compilation of video clips:
If you’re wondering why the camera work is so shaky from 1:07 to 1:34 in the clip, it’s because I’m doing the “Rakes of Mallow” jig with a pair of complete strangers, and thus not really paying attention to where the camera was pointing. :)
Just in case anyone who was at the game would like to download AVI versions of these clips for posterity, I’ve made them available on my ND web space as ndbama1.avi (25.7 MB) and ndbama2.avi (30.9 MB). Download ‘em now if you want ‘em, as they won’t be there forever.
Oh, and here are my photos of the game.
Anyway… great win for the Irish tonight. They had a 10-point lead with just under 4:00 left, then nearly squandered it by committing three consecutive turnovers and allowing ‘Bama to go on a 7-0 run to pull within 3. The sense of dread, of “here we go again,” was palpable in the student section — understandbly so, after all those heartbreaking close losses last season. But then something happened that never seemed to happen in the closing minutes of games last season: the Irish shook it off, regained their composure and answered. After ‘Bama missed a layup that would have cut the lead to one, Luke Harangody grabbed the rebound and Russell Carter swished a three-pointer to make it 88-82. Then Kyle McAlarney stole the ball, and Carter took a horrible off-balance shot from just inside the three-point line with plenty of time left on the shot clock… and it went in. 90-82 Irish. Then came another steal, which was really a handoff from an Alabama player to Harangody, and Harangody took it all the way to the hoop, got fouled, and hit the layup, sending the crowd into an absolute frenzy as he increased the lead to 92-82 (93-82 after the free throw) with two minutes left. Game over.
Kudos to my fellow Domers, who really made the Joyce Center a very loud place tonight. As I said, it was rockin’ and rollin’. I haven’t felt that much energy in a basketball arena since the USC-Oregon game in 2002 that deciding the Pac-10 regular-season title (alas, USC lost that one). The crowd was just going nuts. It was great. And the court-rushing was awesome, sort of cosmically making up for the fact that I missed unranked USC’s win over #2 Arizona my freshman year. I’ve never quite forgiven myself for that, but now at least I can say I’ve seen one of my alma maters (or soon-to-be alma maters, in ND’s case) knock off a Top 5 team, and rushed the court afterwards. :)
GO IRISH! BEAT ELON! (Heh.)
P.S. My classmate JohnMac has a good analysis:
What a great win for this program. After the 3 TOs and Bama getting within 3 pts, I think everyone was thinking Ã¢â‚¬Å“oh not not againÃ¢â‚¬?, but the team totally showed their composure, and the senior Carter drilled some monster shots.
Mike Brey is a really nice guy, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m happy things seem to be working out after last year. I felt last year was mostly bad luck, with some bad coaching, too much faith in a few guys. Brey has totally changed his philosophy on this team this year and it seems to be working wonders. Instead of only playing 6 guys, he’s constantly rotating in 9 guys. The offense now has an inside game, and the guards can penetrate which makes this team very difficult to guard since if you try to stop the penetration you will give up the 3 ball. Brey talked a lot about playing defense in the offseason and it’s definitely showing up now, this team forces turnovers, and fights hard on defense.
Should be a really fun basketball season for my last year here.
I agree, and having come into this season unsure of what to root for — a really good season, or a really bad season so that Brey would be fired — I’m now officially rooting for a good season. :) I also won’t be saying an unkind word about Coach Brey until at least January 7, in keeping with my pre-game promise. Nice job, coach! Go Irish!
Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn won the Maxwell Award for college football’s player of the year, upsetting Ohio State’s Troy Smith. But Smith, who is considered the overwhelming favorite to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, won the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s best quarterback and earned the Walter Camp Foundation’s nod for player of the year.
According to The Onion, the BCS computers have determined that no team is good enough to play Ohio State in a championship game this year.