Space Weather Ponder


Years ago my understanding of space weather was limited to – What? Space has weather? Reading about the Carrington Event changed everything. In 1859,¬† Richard Carrington recorded a massive solar storm – the following day auroras were witnessed in Cuba, telegraph stations sparked and caught fire. Witnesses spoke of night skies bright enough to read newspapers by. Today, a solar storm of this magnitude would obliterate power grids –¬† days, weeks, possibly months before power was restored. Space weather had my full attention.

Bookmarking http://spaceweather.com/ was the easy part. Over the next few years terminology became vocabulary. Obsessive compulsive monitoring of solar wind speed, sunspot activity and aurora oval drove a need to understand. Patient family endured¬† months of exuberant outbursts. Sentences peppered with solar sector boundary crossing, geomagnetic flux, interplanetary magnetic field and probability of earth directed impact. Unfazed by rolled eyes or perceptible sighs of “here we go again” – I’ll never forget the day my husband called from work ( after a particularly boisterous declaration of earth directed solar activity ) saying a colleague couldn’t reach his daughter in Seattle because solar activity temporarily knocked out cell phone service. Powerless to squelch an “I told you so”, it was a good thing he didn’t witness my happy dance.

Saying – foundations crucial to dynamics of our universe lurk in rudimentary understanding of solar and planetary interactions – isn’t likely to ignite passion in those not inclined. While powerless to imprint enthusiasm, I promise you this – space weather will blow your mind.

Spaceweather.com is a reasonable site, but for outstanding access to terminology and explanation – click on the NOAA link below.

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/