Tag Archives: Coronal Mass Ejections

Radio blackout: X-Ray Event exceeds X1

latest_sxi

I’ve heard from several of you this morning that the shortwave bands are dead.

It’s not your radio…it’s our sun. We’re currently experiencing an X-ray event exceeding X1 on the NOAA Space Weather Scale. This equates to wide area blackout of HF radio communication and loss of radio contact for about an hour on sunlit side of Earth.

SWLing Post reader, Richard Langley, shares this space weather alert from NOAA:

Space Weather Message Code: SUMX01
Serial Number: 105
Issue Time: 2014 Oct 22 1454 UTC

SUMMARY: X-ray Event exceeded X1
Begin Time: 2014 Oct 22 1402 UTC
Maximum Time: 2014 Oct 22 1428 UTC
End Time: 2014 Oct 22 1450 UTC
X-ray Class: X1.6
Optical Class: 2b
Location: S14E13
NOAA Scale: R3 – Strong

NOAA Space Weather Scale descriptions can be found at
www.swpc.noaa.gov/NOAAscales

Potential Impacts: Area of impact consists of large portions of the sunlit side of Earth, strongest at the sub-solar point.

Radio – Wide area blackout of HF (high frequency) radio communication for about an hour.

Fear not, this shall eventually pass and SWLing will return to normal. Indeed, you might even catch a few rare band openings between event. I believe you can expect overall unsettled conditions near term, based on recent solar history.

Spread the radio love

Incredible band openings tonight

X1.6 Solar Flare, sunspot 2158 (source: Solar Ham)

X1.6 Solar Flare, sunspot 2158 (source: Solar Ham)

After an X class solar flare that caused a serious HF radio black-out earlier today, we’ve been rewarded with superb radio conditions this evening in North America.

This is, perhaps, one of the best temporary band openings I’ve experienced this year.  Unfortunately, there’s a good chance an incoming CME could wipe out the bands again in the next 12-24 hours. Check out the forecast here: http://www.solarham.net/

But who cares? The following are just some of the stations I logged on 25 and 31 meters this evening.  Note that I didn’t include all of the weak stations I could hear and I also omitted many CRI, RHC, and religious broadcasts:

Starting 22:00 UTC on 25 meters

  • 11780 RN da Amazonia
  • 11810 KBS World Radio
  • 11820 Radio Riyadh
  • 11855 Radio Aparecida
  • 11880 RHC French
  • 11915 Radio Riyadh
  • 11930 Radio Marti
  • 11940 Radio Romania International
  • 11965 RHC? (French)
  • 12050 EWTN (WEWN)

Starting 23:00 UTC on 31 meters

  • 9420 Voice of Iran
  • 9535 Radio Exterior de Espana
  • 9575 Radio Mediterranee International
  • 9620 Radio Exterior de Espana
  • 9645 Radio Bandeirantes
  • 9665 Radio Voz Missionaria (with WRM from other broadcasters)
  • 9740 Radio Romania International (Spanish)
  • 9765 Radio Romania International
  • 9795 FEBC Radio (under heavy QRM)
  • 9850 Radio Tirana
  • 9855 Radio Australia
  • 9875 Radio Free Asia (Tibetan)
  • 9900 (RA?) English
  • 9965 Radio Cairo
  • 10000 WWV

Staring 00:00 UTC on 31 meters

  • 9420 Voice of Iran, then ERT Open (VOG)
  • 9500 Radio Sultanate of Oman
  • 9520 Radio Romania International (Romanian)
  • 9535 Radio Exterior de Espana
  • 9550 Radio Boa Ventade
  • 9570 China Radio International English
  • 9530 Radio Transmundial
  • 9620 Radio Exterior de Espana
  • 9630 China National Radio 1
  • 9645 Radio Bandeirantes
  • 9665 Radio Voz Missionaria
  • 9690 All India Radio
  • 9700 Radio Romania International
  • 9710 China Radio International (Portuguese)
  • 9730 Adventist World Radio (Burmese)
  • 9800 China Radio International (Spanish)
  • 9810 Radio Havana Cuba
  • 9820 Radio 9 de Julho
  • 9880 Voice of America (Chinese)
  • 9930 The Overcomer Ministry
  • 9955 Radio Marti ?
  • 9965 Radio Cairo
  • 10000 WWV

Staring at 01:00 UTC on 25 meters

  • 11580 The Overcomer Ministry
  • 11590 NHK Radio Japan (Hindi)
  • 11620 All India Radio (Urdu)
  • 11640 Radio Free Asia (Uyghur)
  • 11650 China Radio International (Chinese)
  • 11670 Radio Havana Cuba (Spanish)
  • 11695 Radio Free Asia (Tibetan) ? QRM from another station
  • 11711 Radio Argentina Exterior
  • 11730 Vatican Radio (Tamil)
  • 11740 All India Radio (Sinhala)
  • 11760 Radio Havana Cuba (Spanish)
  • 11765 Radio Tupi – Super Radio Deus e Amor
  • 11780 RN da Brasilia
  • 11815 Radio Brasil Central
  • 11825 The Overcomer Ministry
  • 11840 Radio Havana Cuba (Spanish)
  • 11855 Radio Aparecida
  • 11870 EWTN – WEWN (Spanish)
  • 11905 Sri Lanka BC (English/Hindi)
  • 11925 Radio Bandeirantes
  • 11945 Radio Free Asia (Uyghur) & jamming noise
  • 11955 Radio Romania International (French)
  • 11980 China Radio International (Amoy) – vy faint
  • 11995 BBC (Hindi) vy faint
  • 12005 Voice of Vietnam (English)
  • 12020 Voice of America – Deewa Radio (Pashto)
  • 12025 UNID (Spanish / religious)
  • 12070 POssible Radio Cairo behind strong jamming or transmitter noise
  • 12105 WTWW (English)
  • 12115 Radio Free Asia (Burmese)?

Enjoy this opening while it lasts! As my buddy Mike (K8RAT) suggested earlier today, we may be rewarded with further openings if the incoming CME only glances Earth–not probable, but possible.

I’m curious how conditions have been in other parts of the world? If you’ve been enjoying this band opening, please comment with stations you’ve logged.

Spread the radio love

Geomagnetic storms in weekend forecast

(Source: SpaceWeather.com)

(Source: SpaceWeather.com)

Heads up! Geomagnetic storms may make it a challenge to hear the test broadcast of Hamburger Lokalradio this weekend or any shortwave broadcaster for that matter.

Full details at Spaceweather.com and the ARRL (below):

(Source: ARRL)

Spaceweather.com reports a strong geomagnetic storm is in progress as Earth passes through a region of south-pointing magnetism in the solar wind. The storm has generated auroral displays as far south as Kansas in the US. The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center indicates the storm is a G3 level event. WWV announced at 0900 UTC, “Geomagnetic storms reaching the G3 level are likely” over the next 24 hours. NOAA says that in a G3 level storm, HF radio may be intermittent. Calculated band conditions reported on the DX Summit site indicate “poor” conditions on 80 through 10 meters. WWV reported the estimated planetary K index at 0900 UTC was 5 (the 0600 UTC figure was 7). […] A coronal mass ejection (CME) is expected to deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field late on June 30 or early on July 1.

Spread the radio love

Massive solar flare launches CME – poor propagation today

(Source: SpaceWeather.com)

(Source: SpaceWeather.com)

(Source: Discovery News)

The sun has unleashed the biggest solar flare of the year, quickly followed by an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME). Both phenomena have the potential to impact communications and electronics on Earth and in orbit.

[…]A CME is a magnetic ‘bubble’ containing high-energy solar particles. When the CME hits Earth’s global magnetic field, it may align just right to generate a geomagnetic storm. Should this happen, we’ll be able to measure the extreme magnetic distortion of the magnetosphere and bright aurorae at high latitudes may result. Aurorae are caused when solar particles are injected into the polar regions via the Earth’s magnetic field — the particles then collide with atmospheric gases, generating a beautiful light display.

This morning’s CME was clocked traveling at a breakneck speed of 600 miles per second — at that rate it should hit Earth in the early hours of Saturday morning (April 13).

Shortly after the M-class flare erupted, a weak solar energetic particle (SEP) event was detected. This “radiation storm” was the result of relativistic particles slamming into the Earth’s upper atmosphere originating from the flare site.[…]

Read the full news article on Discovery News.

Spread the radio love

Massive sunspots appear, solar flares could follow

(Source: NASA/SDO/AIA/HMI/Goddard Space Flight Center via CSM)

(Source: NASA/SDO/AIA/HMI/Goddard Space Flight Center via CSM)

(Source: Christian Science Monitor)

A colossal sunspot on the surface of the sun is large enough to swallow six Earths whole, and could trigger solar flares this week, NASA scientists say.

The giant sunspot was captured on camera by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory as it swelled to enormous proportions over the 48 hours spanning Tuesday and Wednesday (Feb. 19 and 20).[…]

“It has grown to over six Earth diameters across, but its full extent is hard to judge since the spot lies on a sphere, not a flat disk,” wrote NASA spokeswomanKaren Fox, of the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., in an image description.

[S]ome of the intense magnetic fields in the sunspot region are pointing in opposite directions, making it ripe for solar activity.

“This is a fairly unstable configuration that scientists know can lead to eruptions of radiation on the sun called solar flares,” Fox explained.

Propagation in the higher portions of the HF band could be very interesting over the course of the next few days.  If a solar flare erupts, however, it could make shortwave listening quite difficult.

Thanks for the tip, Bill!

Spread the radio love

Wired: Listen to a Solar Flare Drown Out Radio Communications on Earth

(Photo: NASA via Wired)

(Photo: NASA via Wired)

(Source: Wired)

Over the weekend, a tiny spot on the sun erupted into a moderately sized solar flare that was particularly loud in radio waves. With the sound of a roaring wave, it completely drowned out radio communication all over the Earth between 28 MHz and 21.1 MHz.

The recording [found on this page] comes from either a short wave radio station or a Ham radio transmission, said amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft, who works with NASA’s Radio JOVE project. It’s interesting to hear the voices get “swallowed up as the solar wave passes through,” he added in an e-mail to Wired.[]

Read the full article on Wired.

Spread the radio love

Telegraph operations in the Great Auroral Storm of 1859

Sunspots of September 1, 1859, as sketched by Richard Carrington A and B mark the initial positions of an intensely bright event, which moved over the course of 5 minutes to C and D before disappearing. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

These days, CMEs and solar flares get a great deal of media attention. But it’s mostly speculation–for even with our advanced abilities to measure the potential impact, we can’t be sure what will happen each time this occurs. Might this solar flare be strong enough to damage our satellites and electrical infrastructure? we may wonder. Could it ‘fry’ our electrical grid?

The concerns are merely speculative. But is there actual cause for concern? Surely. A massive solar flare could damage much of our technology in space–such as our satellites–and could also certainly cause headaches for those who manage our electrical grids.

But do we know how powerful solar events can be? History may hold the answer.

In September of 1859, a solar flare was so massive that there were newspaper reports of it across the globe, and many found the strange light it created baffling. Of course, now, there’s no speculation as to what happened then–eyewitness accounts and plenty of written evidence in this pre-internet era paint a clear picture of a massive coronal ejection. This event has been referenced many times as a benchmark–one that, should it happen now, would certainly give us serious pause.  Technologically, that is.

I happened upon a fantastic article about the 1859 flare on ARS Technica called: 1859’s “Great Auroral Storm”—the week the Sun touched the earth.

The following is an excerpt:

It hit quickly. Twelve hours after Carrington’s discovery and a continent away, “We were high up on the Rocky Mountains sleeping in the open air,” wrote a correspondent to the Rocky Mountain News. “A little after midnight we were awakened by the auroral light, so bright that one could easily read common print.” As the sky brightened further, some of the party began making breakfast on the mistaken assumption that dawn had arrived.

Across the United States and Europe, telegraph operators struggled to keep service going as the electromagnetic gusts enveloped the globe. In 1859, the US telegraph system was about 20 years old, and Cyrus Field had just built his transatlantic cable from Newfoundland to Ireland, which would not succeed in transmitting messages until after the American Civil War.

“Never in my experience of fifteen years in working telegraph lines have I witnessed anything like the extraordinary effect of the Aurora Borealis between Quebec and Farther Point last night,” wrote one telegraph manager to the Rochester Union & Advertiser on August 30:

The line was in most perfect order, and well skilled operators worked incessantly from 8 o’clock last evening till one this morning to get over in an intelligible form four hundred words of the report per steamer Indian for the Associated Press, and at the latter hour so completely were the wires under the influence of the Aurora Borealis that it was found utterly impossible to communicate between the telegraph stations, and the line had to be closed.

But if the following newspaper transcript of a telegraph operator exchange between Portland and Boston is to be believed, some plucky telegraphers improvised, letting the storm do the work that their disrupted batteries couldn’t:

Boston operator, (to Portland operator) – “Please cut off your battery entirely from the line for fifteen minutes.”

Portland operator: “Will do so. It is now disconnected.”

Boston: “Mine is disconnected, and we are working with the auroral current. How do you receive my writing?”

Portland: “Better than with our batteries on. Current comes and goes gradually.”

Boston: “My current is very strong at times, and we can work better without the batteries, as the Aurora seems to neutralize and augment our batteries alternately, making current too strong at times for our relay magnets.

Suppose we work without batteries while we are affected by this trouble.”

Portland: “Very well. Shall I go ahead with business?”

Boston: “Yes. Go ahead.”

Telegraphers around the US reported similar experiences. “The wire was then worked for about two hours without the usual batteries on the auroral current, working better than with the batteries connected,” said the Washington Daily National Intelligencer. “Who now will dispute the theory that the Aurora Borealis is caused by electricity?” asked the Washington Evening Star.

Read the full and fascinating article, 1859’s “Great Auroral Storm”—the week the Sun touched the earth on arstechnica.

Spread the radio love