back to article BILLION-TONNE BELCH emitted from Sun to hit Earth this weekend

It's a stormy forecast from the space met offices for this weekend, as those whose business it is to monitor these things say the Sun has coughed out a couple of hefty plasma belches in our direction and these can be expected to pelt the planet with particles in coming days. Better out than in According to NASA, which felt …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This again

    This again, big story that has little effect so why male a big deal about it.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Mike Pellatt

      Re: This again

      Because aside from being utterly necessary to human life. the behaviour of the Sun is utterly fascinating to anyone slightly geeky.

      And we are all geeks around here, aren't we ??

      1. LaeMing
        Thumb Up

        Re: This again

        It sure beats elections, sports and celebrity gossip. I am just auto-marking national news feed as 'mark-all-read' in my news reader because it isn't worth trolling through the 104 spam pieces for something of actual relevance.

        At least /this/ is interesting!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This again

      you don't find this interesting? hand in your geek badge and try not to get hit by the door on your way out.

    4. Winkypop Silver badge

      Re: This again

      I bet the dinosaurs said that (about the approaching asteroid)

      Who needs science anyway?

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: This again

        You may not know it, but Dinosaurs were into Intelligent Design and never doubted that Raptor Jesus would deflect any asteroidical crap heading their way at the last moment if they just kept the Faith going strong.

  2. MacroRodent Silver badge


    Great, I hope the weather stays clear in Helsinki this weekend. Late in August we are finally getting dark nights at these latitudes, so there could be a nice change of seeing the aurorae.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      Re: Fireworks

      I am hoping for that too, but a very large waning gibbous moon may reduce the visibility

      1. perlcat

        Re: Fireworks

        Why "male(sic) a big deal about it"?

        It's freudian! We have sunspots, and we now have sunspooge -- the stellar daytime equivalent of nocturnal emissions.

        [I know. BAD DOG PERLCAT!! NO BISCUIT!]

  3. Mystic Megabyte

    Proton Flux levels

    A handy link if you are thinking of Aurora watching

    1. Velv

      Re: Proton Flux levels

      Another handy link, which you can also get to email and tweet you alerts:

  4. Anomalous Cowshed

    A reminder of how puny we are

    "Were the kings of men to look up to the stars once and anon., however lofty their thrones, what humble and benevolent rulers they would be!"

    1. Rukario

      Re: A reminder of how puny we are

      "Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot."

      1. perlcat

        Re: A reminder of how puny we are

        Easy there, Ozymandius.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    32,000 feet at 87.6°N

    A month ago thankfully.

  6. Disco Dance Donkey


    I'm off to Oslo this evening, and massive CME.

  7. Frederic Bloggs

    For them's that are interested...

    This is a useful compendium site that gathers together all the various sun related data, graphs and pictures. It updates itself regularly, so that one can watch the whole thing unfolding. As usual on these occasions the southern part of the UK will be under cloud and rain during this CME's likely earthfall.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EM radiation?

    "These particles cannot travel through the atmosphere to harm humans on Earth, but they can affect electronic systems in satellites and on the ground."

    Odd wording in that sentence - it implies that even though the particles cannot travel through the atmosphere they can still affect electronic systems on the ground. It doesn't allude to the mechanism by which this may happen. I thought a CME also included EM radiation and it was that which did the electronics damage on the ground. But obviously, I'm no CME expert.

    1. Mark #255

      Re: EM radiation?

      The EM radiation which is emitted by the sun at the same time as the CME takes 8 minutes to reach us - this is why there can be a warning.

      The (charged) particles then (eventually) hit the Earth's atmosphere, and twang about (technical term[TM]) in our magnetosphere. It's this twanging about which causes EM disturbances, which can interfere with ground-based systems.

      1. Martin Budden Silver badge

        Re: EM radiation?

        For anyone who is unsure what twanging about involves, I recommend this educational video (SFW).

      2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        Re: EM radiation?

        As a (lapsed) physicist I can confirm that it is indeed the twangy-wangy stuff that's the problem.

  9. tempemeaty


    Interesting stuff. The Aurora from on of these was once so powerful it was seen as far south as Arizona. It would be cool to see that happen again. I hope it doesn't fry anything in orbit though. This isn't one, but it would suck if we had another "Carrington event" because everything is on magnetic only storage these days.

  10. Christoph

    Slowing the ISS

    find their trusty habitat slowing down as it ploughs through the plasma rainstorm

    I thought it was "ploughs through thicker atmosphere which has expanded more than usual due to the plasma rainstorm"

  11. TheNix

    Don't you mean


  12. Gareth 7

    Glad I'm not on call this weekend

    The last time I spent about 3 days trying to explain to some middle management type why there was absolutely nothing we could do about parity errors in some of our kit.

  13. fearnothing

    Billion tonne belch? Can we have that translated into blue whales?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Approximately 5.8 MegaWhales

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        ...and a few Petunias

  14. Jerky Jerk face

    All i want to see is some aurora borealis without going to the north pole and it will be worth it for me.

    If my phone craps out or the internet berps, i'll alive on and happily if i get to see the light show! :)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    War of the Worlds...

    Jeff Wayne already told us, but we wouldn't listen.. "The chances of this coming from Mars are a billion to one they said, but still it comes..."

    We know what's up ;-)

    Awesome piece of music by the way.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: War of the Worlds...

      H. G. Wells beat Jeff to it by a few years. His music wasn't so good though.

      (And no, I don't mean the fictitious dark haired sultry female action hero/geekess of Warehouse 13 fame either!)

      Icon...because even the educators need to be reminded sometimes :-)

  16. David Glasgow

    Safe to take of the tinfoil hat yet?

    I kept checking the aurora watch sites. Nothing. The two wobbly line charts showed no extraordinary wobbling.

    So where did the energy/matter go?

  17. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    IT Angle


    Nuclear EMP is caused by the large burst of charged particles at the right altitude. Moving charged particles --> broadband EM wave source

    The Starfish test in (IIRC) 1962 managed to shut down the power grid for Hawaii. It also screwed up long range radio reception for months.

    While most of the time these wil result in nothing but "pretty lights" in the sky the potential results for the industrialized world are pretty serious.

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