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JR8935
2005-Feb-05, 01:44 AM
I have a question on sunspots. On some forums I frequent, some people have become convinced that in a few days when the sun rotates around...a giant sunspot that is on the far side is going to kill us all. There is an abnormally large sunspot on the farside of the sun, that when it is again facing us is going to unleash flares and rays that will toast us all.

Some of these people are convinced that this is true.

I was just wondering really...how much truth is in this? I found this website and it seems a knowledgable place to ask.

Thanks, JR

George
2005-Feb-05, 01:59 AM
Welcome to the board.

There are many here which can help better than me.

Here is a place you might want to check out.... here (http://sidc.oma.be/index.php3)

It shows a nice sized sunspot from last month which is likely now behind the sun.

Nothing about it excites me, however. [Edit: Ok, now that I have read a little further, it is an above average sunspot group. Since it has already been here, I see no reason why it will destroy us when it comes back. :) ]

We are approaching solar minimum. The Sun varies in activity (and sunspots) every 11 years. So, the doom sayers may just be a little impatient as we have not even reached minimum yet. :-?

Edit: You might want to show us where you are hearing this wild news.

George
2005-Feb-05, 02:12 AM
Here is a better report on the sunspot.... here (http://spacescience.com/headlines/y2000/ast06feb_1.htm)

Impressive but not lethal in the slightest.

JR8935
2005-Feb-05, 02:27 AM
Thank you for the replies. Here is the link to where the doomsdayers are talking about the sunspot:

http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showthread.php?t=138534

JR

ToSeek
2005-Feb-05, 02:41 AM
There is definitely a good-sized sunspot coming around to face us again; however, as noted on the thread, it seems to be weakening. Also, we've somehow managed to uphold civilization for thousands of years without being toasted yet - odds are against anything so dire happening this weekend.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-05, 07:48 AM
Hi and welcome.

Not only is the large sunspot not going to destroy the Earth, it was already here on this side before it rotated around to the farside.

From www.spaceweather.com today though if you go to the link it will change daily:
SOLAR REPORT: Giant sunspot 720 is about to return. If predictions are correct, it will peek over the sun's eastern limb on February 6th, then slowly turn to face Earth by February 13th. Solar activity should increase during this time.

On January 20th, sunspot 720 unleashed an X7-class solar flare. The blast sparked bright auroras over Europe (pictured right) and an intense proton storm on the Moon. Since then the 'spot has been transiting the far side of the sun--thus the recent quiet.

Most sunspots decay after only a few weeks. We know sunspot 720 still exists, however, because astronomers have been watching it cross the far side of the sun. They do this using a technique called helioseismic holography. Recent farside maps reveal sunspot 720 plus another sunspot complex, newly-formed:

ToSeek
2005-Feb-05, 02:11 PM
Hi and welcome.

Not only is the large sunspot not going to destroy the Earth, it was already here on this side before it rotated around to the farside.



But, as your quote indicates, it's been joined by another sunspot group that at one point was even larger than the original (though the latest indications are that it's diminishing again).

beskeptical
2005-Feb-05, 07:35 PM
Hi and welcome.

Not only is the large sunspot not going to destroy the Earth, it was already here on this side before it rotated around to the far side.



But, as your quote indicates, it's been joined by another sunspot group that at one point was even larger than the original (though the latest indications are that it's diminishing again).I saw that today and was intrigued. How do they know the additional spot is a new one, since they lose sight of the spots when they are lateral to us, then see them again as they rotate opposite us? I presume the location is easily tracked, is that correct?

But so as not to alarm our friend, we have had bigger sun spots before. Sunspots are not dangerous except they can be the source of big solar flares that blow off big coronal mass ejections. The particles are similar to air molecules in that they feel like wind to our magnetic field. (They would not feel like wind to you.) When they blow the magnetic field they cause it to move closer to our planet on the 'windward', (Sun), side. It's like blowing gently on a large bubble and causing an indentation. When the field is blown below the orbit of satellites they are exposed to cosmic radiation that can be harmful. No flares, however are known to be big enough from our Sun to create CMEs that could blow the magnetic field down to Earth level. And, the magnetic field cannot be 'blown away'. It doesn't work that way.

In addition to the magnetic field disturbance, the CME contains charged particles. The particles can overwhelm electrical grids and satellite electronics causing them to burn out. In 1989 we had a big blackout from this process. And, we are all still here of course, except those that died of other causes. :wink: We have lost a satellite or two over the years but now they try to face them away from oncoming CMEs and/or close them up to shield them when possible.

History's Biggest Sunspots (http://spaceweather.com/sunspots/history.html)

1989 Blackout (http://www.windows.ucar.edu/spaceweather/blackout.html)

Space weather primer (http://www.sec.noaa.gov/primer/primer.html)

Take your pick from these additional topics (http://www.sec.noaa.gov/Education/index.html)

Maddad
2005-Feb-05, 11:44 PM
some people have become convinced that in a few days when the sun rotates around...a giant sunspot that is on the far side is going to kill us all.A you see the sunspot because it's cooler than the surrounding surface and therefore looks darker. Cooler means less energetic, so it is illogical to worry that it would somehow kill anyone.

As for flares and coronal mass ejections (CME), we have two built-in protections. Our atmosphere and our magnetic field. They both deflect particles coming from the sun. If the CME were particularly large then we would have a display of Northern Lights. Possibly some satellites in space would be damaged, and sometimes electrical lines can overload and trip transformers. It isn't going to be killing a bunch of people though.

Russ
2005-Feb-05, 11:44 PM
Thank you for the replies. Here is the link to where the doomsdayers are talking about the sunspot:

http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showthread.php?t=138534

JR

I followed your link. Based on what I read, they are a bunch of people struggling under the burden of their ignorance. I suggest you invite them to read TBA's site and then come here to the BABB to get answers to their questions. :)

SarahMc
2005-Feb-05, 11:59 PM
I saw that today and was intrigued. How do they know the additional spot is a new one, since they lose sight of the spots when they are lateral to us, then see them again as they rotate opposite us? I presume the location is easily tracked, is that correct?

Yes, just as any location can be tracked on a planet by latitude and longitude, so can locations on the Sun (http://www.raben.com/maps/). Active regions are noted by solar lat/long, size, and magnetic properties. Since the Sun's rotation at the equator is well known, the re-appearance of active regions (as well as coronal holes) can be predicted with fairly good accuracy. That is, if they survive during the approximate two weeks on the far side.

Active regions can also be imaged (somewhat) on the far side using "helioseismic holography (http://soi.stanford.edu/press/ssu03-00/backside_paper/lindsey.pdf)" (warning, large pdf file). The imaging is far from perfect, but it does give a general idea of what's about to appear from behind the solar limb.

Far side seismic holography images created using the MDI instrument on SOHO are archived here (http://soi.stanford.edu/data/farside/#image_sets).

beskeptical
2005-Feb-07, 12:52 AM
From the spaceweather site:


SUNSPOTS: Something's coming. Take a look at this photo (http://www.spaceweather.com/images2005/05feb05/20050205_1319_eit_304.gif) taken by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) on February 5th. Magnetic loops of hot-glowing gas surging above the sun's eastern limb are a telltale sign of sunspots just around the bend. Are they big ones? We'll find out in the days ahead as the sun's rotation turns them toward Earth.

I wonder if they know this kind of anticipation is too much for some of us? :wink:

720 + another bigger spot next to it!! Woohoo!! :D

frogesque
2005-Feb-07, 01:51 AM
Yep, watching for 720 and its new neighbour. Could be in for more aurora treats. 8)

Ilya
2005-Feb-07, 02:57 AM
On some forums I frequent, some people have become convinced that in a few days when the sun rotates around...a giant sunspot that is on the far side is going to kill us all.

See if they will sell you their houses cheaply.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-07, 03:05 AM
On some forums I frequent, some people have become convinced that in a few days when the sun rotates around...a giant sunspot that is on the far side is going to kill us all.

See if they will sell you their houses cheaply. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

beskeptical
2005-Feb-07, 10:06 AM
Well supposedly 720 is here and fading but check out this flare sequence that just went off from the 'other' big spot still rotated out of view. If someone has the skills, time and software they could make us a fun little movie.8)

For those less familiar, the far right number is the time (24hr clock) and the images are from LASCO C2 and C3. (http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime-images.html) C2 is the closeup and C3 a wider view.

http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/javagif/gifs_small/20050205_1331_c2.gif
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/javagif/gifs_small/20050205_1430_c2.gif
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/javagif/gifs_small/20050205_1454_c2.gif
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/javagif/gifs_small/20050205_1506_c2.gif
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/javagif/gifs_small/20050205_1530_c2.gif
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/javagif/gifs_small/20050205_1554_c2.gif
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/javagif/gifs_small/20050205_1606_c2.gif
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/javagif/gifs_small/20050205_1630_c2.gif
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/javagif/gifs_small/20050205_1618_c3.gif
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/javagif/gifs_small/20050205_1642_c3.gif
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/javagif/gifs_small/20050205_1718_c3.gif
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/javagif/gifs_small/20050205_1742_c3.gif
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/javagif/gifs_small/20050205_1842_c3.gif
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/javagif/gifs_small/20050205_1942_c3.gif

mickal555
2005-Feb-07, 11:09 AM
yeah ok whatever I'll try to fireworks somthing...

mickal555
2005-Feb-07, 12:00 PM
http://users.bigpond.net.au/scotsons_shack/SOHO.htm


Yeah have to wait a bit for it to load....
Sorry about that big flash of white bar at the end this is my first attempt to make somin dispite having fireworks for years.....

Dads pestering me to go to bed do I'll do the other one later :roll:

jofg
2005-Feb-07, 02:59 PM
THANKS mickal555 - that was excellent!

=D>

Metricyard
2005-Feb-07, 03:55 PM
THANKS mickal555 - that was excellent!

=D>

That was cool!

I am so tempted to break out my 3d modeler program and produce a crispy earth caused by a solar flare. Could probably wind up a few people on the web sites mentioned above.

\:D/

tofu
2005-Feb-07, 04:15 PM
that's awesome mickal555.

Since we're talking about CMEs, does anyone know if there are heavier elements in there than just H and He?

um3k
2005-Feb-07, 04:35 PM
Very cool, mickal! :D

Wait, it's a solar flare. Very hot, mickal! :lol:

beskeptical
2005-Feb-07, 07:43 PM
I knew someone could do it. :D :D Wow, it makes a big difference. Clicking on one image after the other just doesn't give the same effect. =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D>

frogesque
2005-Feb-07, 07:56 PM
Yep, nice work Mickal =D> =D> =D>

beskeptical
2005-Feb-07, 07:59 PM
Not to overshadow mickal's excellent work but I found these gifs are on the SOHO site and I hadn't been aware. :oops:

http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/LATEST/current_c3small.gif
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/LATEST/current_c2small.gif

They show yet another CME from a few hours ago, again appearing to be from behind the visible side of the Sun.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-07, 08:08 PM
that's awesome mickal555.

Since we're talking about CMEs, does anyone know if there are heavier elements in there than just H and He?According to this presentation*, (http://www.mps.mpg.de/projects/planetary-plasmas/presentations/LR_20030508_IMPRS2003.pdf) CMEs from our Sun are
Made up of hydrogen, a few percent of helium
and small amounts of heavier elementsThe presentation goes on to talk about interplanetary CMEs from other stars.

*(Warning, that's a long download considering how short the presentation is.)

expirationdate
2005-Feb-07, 09:10 PM
I have a question on sunspots. On some forums I frequent, some people have become convinced that in a few days when the sun rotates around...a giant sunspot that is on the far side is going to kill us all. There is an abnormally large sunspot on the farside of the sun, that when it is again facing us is going to unleash flares and rays that will toast us all.

Some of these people are convinced that this is true.

I was just wondering really...how much truth is in this? I found this website and it seems a knowledgable place to ask.

Thanks, JR

If it does fry us I'll bring the mallows you bring the grams and hersheys!

beskeptical
2005-Feb-09, 07:53 PM
From the spaceweather site:


SUNSPOTS: Something's coming. Take a look at this photo (http://www.spaceweather.com/images2005/05feb05/20050205_1319_eit_304.gif) taken by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) on February 5th. Magnetic loops of hot-glowing gas surging above the sun's eastern limb are a telltale sign of sunspots just around the bend. Are they big ones? We'll find out in the days ahead as the sun's rotation turns them toward Earth.

I wonder if they know this kind of anticipation is too much for some of us? :wink:

720 + another bigger spot next to it!! Woohoo!! :DI should know better than to get excited. :roll: Despite those big CMEs coming off the hidden side of the Sun, the spots are here and totally flared out. www.spaceweather.com didn't even mention the side blast CMEs.


SUNSPOT REPORT: Last week solar physicists using a technique called helioseismic holography spied two big sunspots on the far side of the sun. Since then the sun's 27-day rotation has turned the pair toward Earth. They're no longer impressive. Decaying sunspot 720 is small and scattered, while sunspot 733, about as wide as Earth, has a simple magnetic field posing little threat for flares. Solar activity should remain low.

Evan
2005-Feb-09, 08:11 PM
Humbug.