Early September could be stormy for the earth – Nature blog

Weekend is on track to be particularly powerful one because of this massive solar flare and eruption on the sun’s surface Remember the great October storm of 1938? This weekend is on track to…

Early September could be stormy for the earth – Nature blog

Weekend is on track to be particularly powerful one because of this massive solar flare and eruption on the sun’s surface

Remember the great October storm of 1938? This weekend is on track to be even more powerful because of a massive solar flare and eruption on the sun’s surface.

The worst potential impact of a geomagnetic storm is power disruption, but that might not happen because this is still weeks away from an impact. Still, due to the large size of the eruption, warnings are being issued.

The current NOAA Solar storm watch list just went up today.

The NOAA geomagnetic storm forecast 11pm – 5am

The indication of a large geomagnetic storm is the tilt of the Earth’s axis of rotation towards the sun.

Sunday – Monday is expected to be particularly powerful on 11:46pm on Sunday. 10pm on Monday is expected to peak at 11:31pm, and the contrast between the biggest peak of the previous couple of days (12.41am, Sept 17) and the fourth peak today (13:47pm) should make for a much more dramatic appearance.

However, it does not mean that all will be revealed on the weekend. Although we will have the two periods highlighted, one less than an hour apart, this is just the start of something that could change geomagnetic activity later in the year.

This is because our astronomical calendar is a very good one for estimating date and time. Back in January and February, the sun never rose over Greenwich but if we look carefully, the next day can be called the next day. Even now, looking at a model which goes from Wednesday through to Sunday, using the years 2011 as reference, and an outlook of a peak on Friday at 5pm (midnight Greenwich Mean Time), we can see that by mid October, we might be looking at exactly Oct 29 as the time and date of the next solar maximum. If that happens, it would be the most powerful storm of the solar cycle.

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