Image: NASA

Blog Editor’s Note: We continue to learn about all the ways the sun threatens technology, and even civilization as we know it.

From this article about a newly observed type of solar weather, it appears that scientists are still learning as well. Good thing this one was mostly a miss.

We hadn’t heard about the Navy’s mines exploding in the 70’s. Very interesting. 

Also interesting that the last couple media items on solar weather we have seen have been in “Sky News” and “The Sun!”


Surprise geomagnetic storm opens ‘crack’ in Earth’s magnetosphere

A geomagnetic storm hit our planet over the weekend, surprising scientists as it did not appear to originate from a solar flare.

The storm came amid a rare alignment of five planets, offering photographers the opportunity to picture them against against a bright aurora.

Astronomers now believe the storm was the result of a much rarer phenomenon than a solar flare – something called a co-rotating interaction region (CIR) caused by two streams of solar wind meeting.

CIRs are created when solar wind streams at different speeds interact, bringing with them a huge shock and build-up of plasma at an extraordinary speed – 700km per second in this case – and without the tell-tale sign of a sunspot.

Without a sunspot signaling a coronal mass ejection, scientists had no signal that a geomagnetic storm was on the way.

When it hit Earth the storm managed to “open a crack in our planet’s magnetosphere” according to the Space Weather news site.