No sunspots. No solar flares. No CMEs. No gust of solar wind. In short, there was no reason to expect an outburst of auroras on Oct 11… and then this happened ^^^ [featured image shot by Markus Varik of Tromsø, Norway on Sunday evening].
“We headed out with a small group of adventurers on what seemed like Mission Impossible,” reports Varik. “There was no hope of finding auroras. But never say never — on October 11th we saw this amazing outburst. We got the complete palette of colors.”
There is an explanation, writes Dr Tony Phillips over at spaceweather.com.
Just as Varik headed out, a crack opened in Earth’s magnetic field. Slow-moving solar wind poured through the gap, sparking auroras of green and even pink. The color pink is significant, points out Dr Phillips. It means that particles from space are descending lower than usual in Earth’s atmosphere. Green auroras happen when electrons strike oxygen atoms 100 to 200 km above Earth’s surface, pink appears when the electrons burrow deeper, striking nitrogen molecules at the 100 km level and below.
Excluding the unusual “pink”, unpredictable displays like yesterday’s can happen at any time around the Arctic Circle, where magnetic cracks often surprise observers–no solar storm required. However, evidence suggests that these cracks and surprise auroras are becoming far more frequent — phenomenons correlating neatly with Earth’s weakening magnetic field.
No sunspots. No solar flares. No CMEs. No gust of solar wind — so, what exactly sparked Sunday evening’s stunning auroras?
2) Earth’s magnetosphere is waning due to a Grand Solar Minimum and a Magnetic Pole Shift. These two independently occurring phenomenons drastically reduce Earth’s magnetic field strength — the upshots of which include: a) an influx of Cosmic Rays which heat the muons in silica-rich magma triggering large-scale volcanic eruptions + increase cloud nucleation, and b) space weather (such as that originating from the Sun) having a much larger impact here on Earth, meaning, for example, even “normal” streams of solar wind can produce surprisingly dramatic results [a) contributes to global cooling, while b) means trouble for the electrical grid].
A grid-down scenario is coming to a town near you–it’s a matter of when, not if. Best guesses see the highest level of threat occurring during the ramp-up of Solar Cycle 25, when solar activity is increasing while Earth’s shields remain low (this “ramp-up” runs from now until around 2025–possibly longer).
Along with the lights going out, the COLD times are returning, too — the mid-latitudes are REFREEZING in line with historically low solar activity, cloud-nucleating Cosmic Rays, and a meridional jet stream flow.
Both NOAA and NASA appear to agree, if you read between the lines, with NOAA saying we’re entering a ‘full-blown’ Grand Solar Minimum in the late-2020s, and NASA seeing this upcoming solar cycle (25) as “the weakest of the past 200 years”, with the agency correlating previous solar shutdowns to prolonged periods of global cooling here.
Furthermore, we can’t ignore the slew of new scientific papers stating the immense impact The Beaufort Gyre could have on the Gulf Stream, and therefore the climate overall.
Prepare accordingly— learn the facts, relocate if need be, and grow your own.
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Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift