01.19.10 Re-posted due to the public’s urgent need to know – buried news re-excavated by Chase Hunter
I am asking the $64,000 question this morning, having recently excavated two buried news stories which potentially have staggering consequences for an unprepared world population.
Both stories [ second story is below ] pertain to a recently discovered hole, or breach in the earth’s magnetosphere, which is apparently so huge that it alarmed NASA scientists. The second story is a somewhat disconcerting and genuinely comical attempt by a San Francisco writer to quickly address the possible implications this magnetosphere breach may have on human populations, since the hard science behind it infers that enormous amounts of solar plasma particles, aka solar wind, will tear through earth’s atmosphere beginning on or around [you guessed it] 2012, lasting for the duration of an entire 11 year solar cycle.
All this gives me great pause, that is, after I laughed hysterically for nearly 20 minutes over the writer’s attempt to soothe our spirits by posting a photo of Obama body surfing in Hawaii, reminding us all that we can just “ride the waves” of these solar winds with a good positive attitude and we will all be just fine. Of course, none of our electronic devices will work by then, and kids will continue to shoot their parents, teachers and each other over losing in a video game, but surely those little aberrant bursts of psychosis won’t be inflamed at all by a sudden 11 year long dose of more gamma ray energy blowing through human body tissue than ever in human history. Nah, shouldn’t be a problem at all, infers the writer.
Aaaall rightee then.
The prescription to cure all this? Just surf your way through in on positive vibes.At least, that’s what this author suggested, in the face of yet another dire 2012 cosmic science factoid, blithely presented and skimmed over oh so lightly, then moving on, of course to full UFO disclosure by Obama, and how that would be a good way to lead us through the worst ongoing solar storm we had never prior imagined.
Oh, those Californians, don’t you just love their freshly sprouted Obama kool-aid logic? I’ll have mine with green tea, thanks. Hey, you gotta love em. Or flee for your life to another less windy solar system, for sheer sanity’s sake.
|NASA Discovers A Giant Breach in Earth’s Magnetic Field||12.16.2008|
Dec. 16, 2008: NASA’s five THEMIS spacecraft have discovered a breach in Earth’s magnetic field ten times larger than anything previously thought to exist. Solar wind can flow in through the opening to “load up” the magnetosphere for powerful geomagnetic storms. But the breach itself is not the biggest surprise. Researchers are even more amazed at the strange and unexpected way it forms, overturning long-held ideas of space physics.
“At first I didn’t believe it,” says THEMIS project scientist David Sibeck of the Goddard Space Flight Center. “This finding fundamentally alters our understanding of the solar wind-magnetosphere interaction.”
The magnetosphere is a bubble of magnetism that surrounds Earth and protects us from solar wind. Exploring the bubble is a key goal of the THEMIS mission, launched in February 2007. The big discovery came on June 3, 2007, when the five probes serendipitously flew through the breach just as it was opening. Onboard sensors recorded a torrent of solar wind particles streaming into the magnetosphere, signaling an event of unexpected size and importance.
Right: One of the THEMIS probes exploring the space around Earth, an artist’s concept. [more]
“The opening was huge—four times wider than Earth itself,” says Wenhui Li, a space physicist at the University of New Hampshire who has been analyzing the data. Li’s colleague Jimmy Raeder, also of New Hampshire, says “1027 particles per second were flowing into the magnetosphere—that’s a 1 followed by 27 zeros. This kind of influx is an order of magnitude greater than what we thought was possible.”
The event began with little warning when a gentle gust of solar wind delivered a bundle of magnetic fields from the Sun to Earth. Like an octopus wrapping its tentacles around a big clam, solar magnetic fields draped themselves around the magnetosphere and cracked it open. The cracking was accomplished by means of a process called “magnetic reconnection.” High above Earth’s poles, solar and terrestrial magnetic fields linked up (reconnected) to form conduits for solar wind. Conduits over the Arctic and Antarctic quickly expanded; within minutes they overlapped over Earth’s equator to create the biggest magnetic breach ever recorded by Earth-orbiting spacecraft.
Above: A computer model of solar wind flowing around Earth’s magnetic field on June 3, 2007. Background colors represent solar wind density; red is high density, blue is low. Solid black lines trace the outer boundaries of Earth’s magnetic field. Note the layer of relatively dense material beneath the tips of the white arrows; that is solar wind entering Earth’s magnetic field through the breach. Credit: Jimmy Raeder/UNH. [larger image]
The size of the breach took researchers by surprise. “We’ve seen things like this before,” says Raeder, “but never on such a large scale. The entire day-side of the magnetosphere was open to the solar wind.”
The circumstances were even more surprising. Space physicists have long believed that holes in Earth’s magnetosphere open only in response to solar magnetic fields that point south. The great breach of June 2007, however, opened in response to a solar magnetic field that pointed north.
“To the lay person, this may sound like a quibble, but to a space physicist, it is almost seismic,” says Sibeck. “When I tell my colleagues, most react with skepticism, as if I’m trying to convince them that the sun rises in the west.”
Here is why they can’t believe their ears: The solar wind presses against Earth’s magnetosphere almost directly above the equator where our planet’s magnetic field points north. Suppose a bundle of solar magnetism comes along, and it points north, too. The two fields should reinforce one another, strengthening Earth’s magnetic defenses and slamming the door shut on the solar wind. In the language of space physics, a north-pointing solar magnetic field is called a “northern IMF” and it is synonymous with shields up! “So, you can imagine our surprise when a northern IMF came along and shields went down instead,” says Sibeck. “This completely overturns our understanding of things.”
Northern IMF events don’t actually trigger geomagnetic storms, notes Raeder, but they do set the stage for storms by loading the magnetosphere with plasma. A loaded magnetosphere is primed for auroras, power outages, and other disturbances that can result when, say, a CME (coronal mass ejection) hits.
The years ahead could be especially lively. Raeder explains: “We’re entering Solar Cycle 24. For reasons not fully understood, CMEs in even-numbered solar cycles (like 24) tend to hit Earth with a leading edge that is magnetized north. Such a CME should open a breach and load the magnetosphere with plasma just before the storm gets underway. It’s the perfect sequence for a really big event.”
Sibeck agrees. “This could result in stronger geomagnetic storms than we have seen in many years.”