X Class Solar Flare – Earth Facing

Updated: 10th September 2014 X Flare

Another X class solar flare.

Space Weather Message Code: SUMX01
Serial Number: 103
Issue Time: 2014 Sep 10 1827 UTC
SUMMARY: X-ray Event exceeded X1
Begin Time: 2014 Sep 10 1721 UTC
Maximum Time: 2014 Sep 10 1745 UTC
End Time: 2014 Sep 10 1820 UTC
X-ray Class: X1.6
Optical Class: 2b
Location: N15E09
NOAA Scale: R3 – Strong
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.

Space Weather Message Code: ALTTP2
Serial Number: 960
Issue Time: 2014 Sep 10 1814 UTC
ALERT: Type II Radio Emission
Begin Time: 2014 Sep 10 1727 UTC
Estimated Velocity: 3750 km/s
Description: Type II emissions occur in association with eruptions on the sun and typically indicate a coronal mass ejection is associated with a flare event.

The estimated speed is enormous and there’s already a magnetic storm watch up for Friday due to a flare/cme yesterday – today’s is much stronger. Awaiting NASA/NOAA preliminary analysis…

Original Post

No Don’t Panic but this is another sign the Sun is acting more like it should do at Solar Max.


X1.2 Flare

X1.2 Flare


As Sunspot Groups 1943/1944 are almost directly Earth facing any associated CME will likely be Earth directed. No it won’t fry the grids but we might have some Aurora activity in a couple of days.

EDIT: Updated with Imagery from STEREO Ahead (on the opposite side of the Sun from the Earth).

Stereo Ahead Cor(ona) 2

STEREO Ahead Cor(ona) 2

Product: Geophysical Alert Message wwv.txt
Issued: 2014 Jan 08 1510 UTC
# Prepared by the US Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center


severe (G3-strong) storm levels are expected early on day two (09 Jan) in response to the arrival of the 07 Jan CME. Day three (10 Jan) is likely to start out at major (G2-moderate) to severe (G3-strong) storm levels, decreasing to minor storm levels (G1-Minor) by midday before returning to unsettled conditions as CME effects begin to subside.

Stay Tuned and keep up to latest info at http://www.solarham.net

205 thoughts on “X Class Solar Flare – Earth Facing

  1. The following Space Weather Warnings currently in effect.


    Space Weather Message Code: ALTXMF
    Serial Number: 208
    Issue Time: 2014 Jan 07 1818 UTC

    ALERT: X-Ray Flux exceeded M5
    Threshold Reached: 2014 Jan 07 1817 UTC
    NOAA Scale: R2 – Moderate
    Potential Impacts: Area of impact centered on sub-solar point on the sunlit side of Earth. Extent of blackout of HF (high frequency) radio communication dependent upon current X-ray Flux intensity. For real-time information on affected area and expected duration please see http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/drap/index.html.

    Space Weather Message Code: ALTEF3
    Serial Number: 2099
    Issue Time: 2014 Jan 07 1533 UTC

    ALERT: Electron 2MeV Integral Flux exceeded 1000pfu
    Threshold Reached: 2014 Jan 07 1525 UTC
    Station: GOES13
    Potential Impacts: Satellite systems may experience significant charging resulting in increased risk to satellite systems.

    Space Weather Message Code: WARPX1
    Serial Number: 411
    Issue Time: 2014 Jan 07 1258 UTC

    EXTENDED WARNING: Proton 10MeV Integral Flux above 10pfu expected
    Extension to Serial Number: 410
    Valid From: 2014 Jan 06 0837 UTC
    Now Valid Until: 2014 Jan 07 2100 UTC
    Warning Condition: Persistence
    Predicted NOAA Scale: S1 – Minor
    Potential Impacts: Radio – Minor impacts on polar HF (high frequency) radio propagation resulting in fades at lower frequencies.

  2. AA… Aint a big fan of bbc but 8pm tonight they are Live looking at Aurora…

    And typical i have to be out…First night back at bjui jitsu Help Gotta dash

  3. Brian,

    Planetary K Index (measure of Earth’s magnetic field disturbance) is currently only about 3 (no visible aurora on UK mainland at that level). A minor glancing blow from a previous CME is currently passing the planet but so far it hasn’t stirred things up too much. Need to await corona imagery from SOHO and STEREO spacecraft to see what’s just lifted off of the Sun and heading our way which should be available in a few hours. Could be virtually nothing or it might be enough to trigger visible aurora over much of the UK in a couple of days when the CME arrives. Just have to wait a bit and see.

  4. Initial reports have this as a very fast moving CME. Earth impact could be late tomorrow night/early Thursday. This could be the biggest CME impact on Earth for quite some time. Still need NASA/NOAA to update their models though to confirm or otherwise.


    UPDATE 19:30 UTC:
    A bright and fast CME can be seen leaving the blast site. Our first measurements indicate the CME left the Sun at a speed around 2.000 km/s, which is fast for a CME.

  5. http://solarham.net/wwv.htm

    Product: Geophysical Alert Message wwv.txt
    Issued: 2014 Jan 08 1510 UTC
    # Prepared by the US Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center


    The geomagnetic field is expected to be at quiet to unsettled levels on
    day one (08 Jan) into the first part of day two (09 Jan). Minor
    (G1-minor) to severe (G3-strong) storm levels are expected early on day two (09 Jan) in response to the arrival of the 07 Jan CME. Day three (10 Jan) is likely to start out at major (G2-moderate) to severe (G3-strong) storm levels, decreasing to minor storm levels (G1-Minor) by midday before returning to unsettled conditions as CME effects begin to subside.

  6. Stargazing Live on BBC2 suggesting everyone be on the look out for an Aurora display tonight. Their prediction is it might be visible as far south as London if we are lucky.

  7. Latest arrival time prediction is for sometime between midnight and 9am UK time. Event duration should last until at least Thursday evening.

  8. S3 Strong Radiation Storm threshold has been reached.

    Space Weather Message Code: ALTPX3
    Serial Number: 27
    Issue Time: 2014 Jan 08 2334 UTC

    ALERT: Proton Event 10MeV Integral Flux exceeded 1000pfu
    Begin Time: 2014 Jan 08 2320 UTC
    NOAA Scale: S3 – Strong
    Potential Impacts: Radiation – Passengers and crew in high latitude, high altitude flights may experience increasing radiation exposures. Astronauts on EVA (extra-vehicular activity) are exposed to elevated radiation levels.
    Spacecraft – Single-event upsets to satellite operations, noise in imaging systems, and slight reduction of efficiency in solar panels are likely.
    Radio – Degraded or episodically blacked-out polar HF (high frequency) radio propagation.

    Still awaiting the CME

  9. Supply mission to International Space Station postponed.


    On Jan. 8, 2014, Orbital Sciences Corp. elected to scrub that day’s launch attempt of an Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va., due to unusually high levels of space radiation – an example of the ways in which space weather can affect human technology.

    Monitoring for space radiation – which refers to excessive high-energy protons in near-Earth space, often funneled in from space in association with an event on the sun such as the solar flares and associated coronal mass ejections that occurred on Jan. 7, 2014 – is a standard protocol for any launch attempt. Excess radiation can affect the critical computer systems aboard the launch vehicle.

    “The launch vehicle avionics do everything from guiding the rocket, to telling it when to start up, to moving it through the various stages, to communicating with the payload after it has been ejected,” said Chris St. Cyr, a space weather scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “If there’s too much radiation these crucial systems could be damaged.”

    There are two ways that the radiation can cause problems. First, a single well-aimed proton can interfere with the electronic systems, causing circuit damage or system shut downs. Second, a strong dose of radiation can cause degradation of microelectronics. Such radiation effects are also of concern to satellites that orbit high above Earth, and in the face of a strong proton storm spacecraft operators sometimes put their spacecraft into safe mode for added protection.

    They now plan on launching tomorrow…

  10. Still awaiting the CME arrival. The longer delayed it is the slower it is travelling and the less likely for major storming. Really should arrive within the next few hours though. With a bit of luck it will be dark in the UK again when it does.

  11. Oh well at least as you say Clark it is dark again. The CME is now so long overdue that it is well outside the supposed latest possible arrival time from the models. Still low energy protons continue to show the signature of an inbound CME. High energy protons are dropping slowly but low energy protons aren’t.

    Could be so puny when it arrives that it barely tickles the magnetosphere. That would be very strange though given the G3 storm warning.

  12. While we await the CME, here’s NASA tv with live coverage coming up of the ” planned 1:07 p.m. EST launch of Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft on the Orbital-1 cargo resupply mission to the space station. Antares will launch Cygnus from Pad 0A at Wallops Flight Facility. The probability of acceptable weather has improved to 95 percent. Join the conversation on Twitter by following #Orb1″.



    [Squonk Edit: embedded video removed as event is over]

  13. $20 to read the actual paper (1 day access) unfortunately. Interesting and there’s been much more research into this in the last decade or so. No new physics involved though – just working out which of several possible mechanisms was the right one.

    As to the CME models, we really need a small fleet of mini-sats orbiting the Sun at a much closer range than earth orbit. At the moment the models can only use input from spacecraft about 93 million miles away from the Sun.

    I’ve been staring at squiggly lines from ACE far too much, but I think if I am reading the low energy protons correctly the CME arrival is still heading this way and might be here very soon now. Now that I’ve said that, LEP will trend down again just to spite me.


  14. Solar wind speed just jumped from 400km/sec to 500km/sec. Density on the way up. Interplanetary magnetic field responding as seen by ACE. Still not major yet but this does look like the CME is finally arriving.

  15. NOAA/NASA confirm CME detection by ACE early warning spacecraft

    Space Weather Message Code: WARSUD
    Serial Number: 144
    Issue Time: 2014 Jan 09 1951 UTC
    WARNING: Geomagnetic Sudden Impulse expected
    Valid From: 2014 Jan 09 2000 UTC
    Valid To: 2014 Jan 09 2030 UTC
    IP Shock Passage Observed: 2014 Jan 09 1932 UTC

    Initial arrival time at Earth – 2000-2030 UTC/GMT

    Still needs a lot more for a really good show though. Waiting patiently. Stargazing Live now just starting on BBC2 in UK

  16. I have to say Mary, that things aren’t looking so good right now. CME, so far, seems much weaker than expected but the BBC did get some spectacular pictures from their plane which happened to be in the air over Norway exactly at the CME’s initial impact..

    Things can still pick up though but conditions so far aren’t looking good for the UK. I stayed up most of last night waiting for it and have to get more sleep tonight. My going to sleep will probably be the cue for the real show to start 🙂

  17. Its a Mission…I was out around 6am this morning…Was good to see a crystal clear sky for first time in ages…no Activity but there was a really kool fireball with long ghostly tail… I’m Not long in, after taking a gamble on weather, all clouds again, and forecast is for more CRAP… i know some Dudes in the east coast are still hopeful with clear skies, and are out on the hunt…and North Ayr had some nice fotos coming out from last night. they say it may still be on for tomorrow night, just have to wait and see thanks for all the updates AA…:)

  18. All reports are of no Activity….Even North Orkney with clear skies… has nothing Doing . ( for now ) most people calling it a day, and off to bed..me too.

    But first …check out this amazing image From Deepest Deeps…they call it “Frontier Fields”…Close up of Galaxy Cluster Abell 2744, its the deepest ever made of any cluster of galaxies. –


    now for some kip

  19. Hey Brian.

    Just finished watching 2001 again after so many years. Truly amazing ,still.
    The mad genius Kubrick captured Clarke’s vision of a sterile future while captivating you with Hubble-esq images. Hard to believe it’s nearly 50 years since post production.

  20. Mary,

    Sadly that Sky story is out-dated.


    Space Weather Message Code: WARK04
    Serial Number: 2207
    Issue Time: 2014 Jan 10 1547 UTC

    CANCEL WARNING: Geomagnetic K-index of 4 expected
    Cancel Serial Number: 2206
    Original Issue Time: 2014 Jan 09 2034 UTC

    Comment: Warning conditions are no longer present.

    Space Weather Message Code: WATA50
    Serial Number: 49
    Issue Time: 2014 Jan 10 1411 UTC

    CANCEL WATCH: Geomagnetic Storm Category G3 Predicted
    Cancel Serial Number: 48
    Original Issue Time: 2014 Jan 08 1214 UTC

    Comment: G3 Watch cancellation . G3 conditions are no longer expected.

    In other words they no longer expect a minor magnetic storm let alone a major one. A NOAA spokesman blamed the forecasting failure on the lack of satellites to properly measure what blasted off from the Sun, relying instead on what’s basically a camera over 90 million miles away. NASA did have a proposal for the satellites to do the job properly but that was cancelled in budget cuts years ago. Basically we have little idea of just how dense the CME is until it hits the ACE spacecraft which gives less than 1 hour warning as it is close to Earth.

  21. yeh AA…nuthin doing at all for tonight, a few people heading out anyway, always something one can foto under a dark starry sky…might force myself oot Lol

    Ben, Hullo

    Half a centuary…Watching 2001 around 30 years ago…i thought a future in space cant be more than a few years away… but we have been taking Giant steps backward…. Regression of Morals and sanity….Sigh…. Arthur C Clark was / is one of my hero’s… And what about that Haunting illuminating Music –


  22. The Sky News article that Mary linked starts with the words “Scientists say”.

    That specific opening to corporate media “science” articles is really starting to piss me off. It’s a vague appeal to some unknown but intellectual authority. It had been lurking at the back of my mind for, oh, years, before I saw it used as the opening for a puff-piece for Monsanto and Bill Gates foundation. “Scientists say…”

    Simon says do this…

  23. Mary, note all the comments on the article which say that was not the northern lights but rather lights shining off of clouds at best. It was also taken on Thursday night. Satellites in earth orbit and ground based magnetometers literally monitor the earth’s magnetic disturbance every second of the day. As the article says you need a Kp index of 7 or 8 minimum to even stand a chance of seeing an aurora in North Wales. The highest it actually reached on Thursday night was 3.1 (exactly at the moment the BBC plane got the best pics over Norway. NASA/NOAA have a live graphic of the aurora over the poles, showing how far south it comes, as seen by satellites which saves you standing outside in the cold when there is nothing visible.

    So sadly it is a very nice pic but it is not an aurora image. Again the Sky News article repeats that a light show was expected on Friday night but quotes predictions made two or three days previously as if they were current. As my earlier link shows all predictions of visible aurora in mainland UK were cancelled many hours before Sky published that article. The highest value the Kp index reached last night was only 1. So anybody standing outside because of Sky last night was wasting their time!

  24. I also note after a bit of searching that other organisations that published the supposed Kim Price Aurora pics (including the local North Wales Daily Post newspaper) have now taken them down. I wonder if wedding photographer Kim Price might even have done some photoshopping for publicity reasons. The Daily Post has also deleted these photographs from their twitter feed. See https://twitter.com/dailypostwales/status/421639404986171392/photo/1 – or rather don’t see 🙂

  25. So Sky is so much rubbish. Agreed.

    In any case they are totally occupied at the moment putting out eulogies for the late departed Ariel Sharon and his ‘peacemaking’!

    Wait for other tributes.

  26. Sorry to cut in completely off-topic but there’s been a bit of a break-through in the Assange Swedish case. Rolf Hillegren, respected legal professional and previously prosecutor, writes in a leading Swedish Daily today: “Time for Sweden to close the case Assange”. He suggests that the Head Prosecutor (ex officio) should close the investigation and cancel the arrest order. The case is weak and would be closed if it had been properly handled, he writes. Such an action would also save Britain from its embarrasment of having “lost him”, according to Hillegren.


    The Swedish newspaper is opening a debate column for the Swedish public tomorrow, I think at 10am, so can I make a plea for all hands on deck please? Or at least to all of you who are on Twitter, or know someone on Twitter you can contact very quickly. It would be great if everyone can please retweet these four WL tweets that have all the good links to evidence in them. Point them at Swedish twitterers, if you can – perhaps highlighting some points from the article: it confirms JA didn’t flee Sweden; it states there’s no point in even questioning him; it says the women’s disputes with JA aren’t even normally dealt with by the courts.





  27. The easiest way to find Swedish people to tweet at is to search for them using the hashtag #svpol

  28. OOPs LOL…. was that just two birds with one Video Squonk.

    Don’t lose heart Orbit…. stick around. 🙂

  29. AA…Ben….. Clark, and Newbie Mary…. all Space cadets

    Check oot this work of art

    great escape from Earthly matters… Brill music and Artistry


    P.s….What is this Haiku poem about ?…By me

    Sun-dance, a million years
    To kiss, to Blush, and rush away
    The ghost of yourself.

  30. There was an interesting item on the BBC South news tonight about the first scientific voyage of this ship, following her launch and trials.

    The scientists on board will be investigating how much atmospheric carbon is being absorbed by the oceans, especially by the shelf seas around our coast, how long it will remain there and the effect it is having on the marine environment.


    The structure of NERC (horrible acronym) is as follows. The funding comes from Cable’s department.

    The Natural Environment Research Council is an amalgam of these bodies –
    British Antarctic Survey

    British Geological Survey

    Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

    National Centre for Atmospheric Science

    National Centre for Earth Observation

    National Oceanography Centre

  31. Ben ….
    Fantastic…YES… You have made my day…i have been toying, tweaking this ison thingy… its like 11 haiku now and one Western type Poem…Effin Japanese for ya…Gotta get the Syllables EXACT…..Which of course i have Not… A Mission Lol.

    Cheers indeed

  32. Someone,

    Unfortunately in low solar activity periods the UK tends to get colder winters with winds more often coming in from the east/north. Been known about for a while now


    Ebbing sunspot activity makes Europe freeze

    Lockwood is quick to point out that even if the recent lull in sunspot activity extends into another Maunder minimum, the effects are regional and it will not offset global warming. “This is very much a European phenomenon,” he says.

    Still, he says that there is a chance that Europe can expect more chilly winters. “The Sun has been unusually active for the past few decades and is now declining towards average or even low-activity levels,” he says.

  33. Rosetta: Alarm to sound for comet mission
    Jonathan Amos
    Science correspondent, BBC News, Darmstadt

    Mission controllers are waiting for a very simple signal that will tell them the great endeavour remains on course .

    One of the most daring space missions ever undertaken reaches a key milestone on Monday.

    Europe’s Rosetta probe was launched a decade ago on a long quest to chase down and land on a comet, and has spent the past two-and-half-years in hibernation to try to conserve power.

    But at 10:00 GMT, an onboard “alarm clock” is expected to rouse the spacecraft from its slumber.

    Rosetta will then warm its systems before sending a signal to Earth.

    Receipt of this “I’m awake” message will confirm the great endeavour is still on course.

    Rosetta is due to rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August.


  34. Mary, 700 million kilometres seems about right for Rosetta. By comparison, Earth orbits the sun at about 150 million kilometres, so Rosetta is nearly five times as far from Earth as Earth is from the sun.

    In the scale of our solar system, 700 million kilometres is only just starting to border on “distant from Earth”. Our solar system consists of the sun, and heading outward we find the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars; four relatively small planets, each of them relatively dense, solid and rocky.

    At about the distance out that you’d expect the next planet to be, we instead find the Asteroid Belt, a dispersed ring of rocky lumps. Further out again we find the four giant planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, each of them far larger and more fluid than the group of inner planets to which Earth belongs.

    Pluto is no longer considered a planet; its orbit is not circular enough. You can’t call it “further out” because its elliptical orbit sometimes brings it closer to the sun than Neptune. Pluto is best forgotten about; it should never have been called a planet in the first place and it just confuses matters. The sun, four rocky planets, the asteroids, then four giant fluid planets; that’s how to think of the solar system.

    The inner, rocky planets are Earth’s real neighbours. Beyond the asteroids, Jupiter’s orbit marks the point where things start getting relatively distant. Jupiter orbits about 800 million kilometres from the sun, and Rosetta’s distance is similar to that.

    But Jupiter is our solar system’s milestone or way-point. You don’t need to imagine, you can’t miss seeing the thing. It’s huge. One humorous description goes “the solar system consists of the sun, Jupiter, and assorted debris”. The seven other planets put together don’t add up to one Jupiter. The brightest natural objects in Earth’s sky, in decreasing order of brightness, are the sun, the moon, Venus and… Jupiter. From the UK, Jupiter is the very bright object, brighter than any star, currently up and left from the constellation of Orion. Really, you can’t miss it.


    With a pair of 8×50 binoculars, clear sky, a dark viewing location and steady hands, you can see four of Jupiter’s moons; Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. These are called the Galilean moons, because they’re what Galileo Galilei saw in January 1610 when he pointed Newton’s new invention, the telescope, at Jupiter. Proclaiming the existence of these four moons brought Galileo into conflict with the teachings of the Catholic church (everything was said to revolve around Earth, but here were four objects visibly orbiting Jupiter!); the propaganda reflex kicked in and Galileo was placed under house arrest to shut him up (does anything ever change?). So do please take a look at Jupiter through binox just to give the finger to the authorities in 1610, who would probably have banned the manufacture of optical equipment if they’d had their way.

    Light – light ‘travels’ at 300,000 kilometres per second (from an observer’s point of view); that would be about seven times around Earth’s equator (if light didn’t prefer to move in straight lines) in one second. That sounds unimaginably fast, but on the scale of the solar system it is pretty reasonable. Earth is between eight or nine light-minutes from the sun. At light speed, Jupiter’s orbit is about forty-five minutes out from the sun. Jupiter orbits the sun about once every eleven years, so about once a year we make our closest approach to Jupiter as Earth passes roughly between Jupiter and the sun. At such times, Earth is about thirty-five light-minutes from Jupiter. So when you look at Jupiter, you’re looking more than half an hour ‘into the past’.

    At light speed, the next nearest star is over four years distant. The furthest thing you can see without optical aid is the Andromeda galaxy. We see that as it was two million years ago, which is less than a thirtieth of the way back towards the time of the extinction of Earth’s dinosaurs, sixty-five million years ago.

    I hope that helps! 🙂

  35. So look up and find Jupiter, and remember that this tiny disc of brilliance is a huge planet, eleven times the diameter and three hundred times the mass of the whole planet you’re standing on. Then imagine Rosetta at about the same distance, an object about the size and mass of a Ford Transit, consuming less power than your toaster, a little bundle of robotics and programmed curiosity, transmitting back a trickle of information from that deep, dark emptiness…

  36. Thank you very much Clark for that explanation. You are a good explainer and obviously have great knowledge of and a passion for astronomy. Have you ever thought of teaching the younger generation and passing on your knowledge?

  37. I think it was AC Clarke who speculated that Jupiter was a failed star. Imagine a binary system. Hey! Isn’t there a chance we are in a binary system? {musings from the uniformed}

  38. “what Galileo Galilei saw in January 1610 when he pointed Newton’s new invention”

    Newton wasn’t born until 1642. Galileo used one of the first refracting telescopes, invented in the Netherlands in 1608. Newton built the first reflecting telescope in 1668, by which time Galileo was long gone.

  39. Mary, I couldn’t handle a classroom full of kids; I remember how badly my class treated some of the teachers, and I only barely cope with Villager, Anon, ESLO, Resident Dissident and Habbabkuk.

  40. Clark LOL

    I have just done a rough post count on Craig’s Syria thread. ESLO and H are dominating proceedings. Any thoughts on the provenance of ESLO? A previous contributor using another name? I can’t remember the name from earlier days.

    The BBC ‘news’ was more unwatchable than ever this evening with Alagiah intoning the lies as if from tablets of stone sent down from the mountain.

    ITV little better. Sky have had that woman on who reports the lies from Afghanistan and Iraq, Lisa Holland They have a video on their website of da Silva describing the torture photos. I have not watched it.

    Video: Report author Sir Desmond de Silva describes the torture used

  41. Mary, ESLO was once one of the many “Anons”, then “I am the lizard Habbakuk” and then “For the return of Habba and Free Speech” or something like that. There’s an exchange of comments with Jon somewhere which explains it all.

  42. Space cadet alert: New supernova in M82 – bit up and to the left of one of the two constellations I recognise – the Plough – should be binocular-visible in a few days. Allegedly.

  43. “I wonder if any of us will live to see Betelgeuse explode”

    Yes, any time within the next million years they reckon. Every night before retiring I survey the sky to ensure the universe is in good order. And every night I stare at Betelgeuse, tantalizingly red and ready to go, willing it to go supernova before my eyes. Nothing to report yet but I’ll keep you posted. There are those who speculate that it’s already happened and we’re just waiting for the light to arrive, which is a nice thought.

  44. MJ:

    “There are those who speculate that it’s already happened and we’re just waiting for the light to arrive, which is a nice thought.”

    But the wave function doesn’t collapse until an observation is made, and as far as the light is concerned, its journey from Betelgeuse to Earth takes no time at all… I really just don’t know how to think about that.

    To save me looking it up, do you know how far away Betelgeuse is?

  45. 642.5 light years. Some of us aren’t working hard enough, eh?

    Should excite the gravitational-pulse people anyway.

  46. Komodo

    Here’s some more on you’re new Supernova –


    Mj yes i always look toward Betelgeuse….wondering When it will go, or indeed if it already has… i remember reading exactly this time last year… about a dusty wall that Betelgeuse is due to collide with in about 5,000 years…and some think this collision will trigger the Supernova event… in winter months i always gaze towards Sirius too… they way it Twinkles Kaleidoscope-Colours

    P.s…. Darkest skies i have seen is on the Outer Hebriean Isle of Lewis…not too many street lights around…and they all switch off, about 12;30, which is Bliss 🙂

  47. Komodo, thanks. Betelgeuse ia fair way away then. When the Summer Triangle is up, I like to point out Vega and Deneb, about 25 and 1600 light years respectively, I think, but comparable in apparent brightness. Deneb must be a monster. Betelgeuse is a monster; ol’ Patrick said that if Betelgeuse was swapped for our sun, Earth would be within it.

    Dunno about working; I’ve been barely functional recently. A bit better today; I’ve at least got a few things done.

  48. Yeah, had a quick read on t’web about Betelgeuse. Not only is it very variable, but its shape apparently changes – think vast, dense, hot atmosphere sloshing around , gravity barely balancing radiation pressure. Wouldn’t want to be too close to that.

    Sorry about your reduced functionality, Clark. The short days don’t help either…

  49. Yes, I scanned through the Wikipedia article on Betelgeuse last night. Words fail me. I suppose that our sun has lulled me into not really thinking what a star can be like, though the time-lapse images of our sun with its CMEs are impressive enough.

    Betelgeuse is young and short-lived, large, and unstable. But none of those words do any justice to the reality. One five-hundredth the age of Sol but already near the end of its life. So big it would subsume not only Earth but Mars and the asteroids. And so unstable that it’s not even nearly symmetrical; it must be – I don’t even have a word – moving like one of those blobs of fluid you see astronauts playing with in zero G, but it’s not a docile liquid, it’s live plasma. Crazy. Unthinkable.

  50. So you area Science fiction Reader Clark

    Wonder if you can help…i’ve been trying to re-locate a book i read must be 15 or more years ago…i forget everything – author, title, everything except the story line…. i was wondering if you might have heard of, or even read it…. Story was that – the asteroid belt, was once a Planet , destroyed by wars, but not before some survivors made it to Earth, so we, are them… at the very end a pushy modern day Archaeologist chides one of his students for picking up a “child’s toy”… and suggesting it is of ancient age … so he throws it away…. The “Child’s toy” was in fact, high technology from the asteroid belt planet

    sorry a bit long winded there, but any ideas?…i’d love to read that book again.

  51. Ahh…..Thank you AA

    Was kinda hoping there was something Real about it all…i see the video is around 14 mins, so i’ll have a look later, cos am heading out for dinner… New i could rely on you to Straighten that oot 🙂

    P.s…must look into this stuff Hawkins is saying, that there are no Black holes… interesting. Bye for noo

  52. Dunno about Google Moon, but you can certainly have fun with some of the technical glitches in Google Maps and Street View.

    A friend wanted to look on Google Maps to follow a train journey across India. We found her station of departure, switched to “satellite view”, and started tracking north. Suddenly the view was divided by a diagonal staircase-shaped boundary. The area on the bottom-left was mostly green. To the top-right of the boundary, mostly light brown.

    It took me a while to work it out; change of season. These Google views are made of many separate images stitched together by software, and the images from one part of the picture had been taken at a different time from the other.

    Google Maps’ “satellite view” obviously isn’t simple satellite imagery, as what you’d see would mostly be cloud. The higher resolutions must be made from aerial photography pictures taken from aircraft, as on many of them you can see the sides of buildings. But no one could get a full cloud-free satellite view of a large area like a country in one go anyway. The Google views must be assembled by selecting the cloud-free views from many different image sets.

    I’ve found a couple of entertaining Street View anomalies. There’s a Street View of a place just up the road from my place. If you “go along the road” one way, it’s brilliant sunshine reflecting off puddles just after a shower. If you “go back” again in the opposite direction, it’s dark and overcast. Another in a place near Lampeter in Wales; a road “leads to” a T-junction. If you “turn right”, all seems normal. But if you “turn left” and then “double back”, the turning on the right that you just came out of has gone, and you have to “go back” about a mile to find it.

  53. Aha! On opening the link on my 8:48 comment, first the map is displayed before it converts to Street view. Note that the little man appears on the map displaced down and right from centre. That’s the “space-warp”; the place I actually linked from was the next junction on the left, heading north-west up the road. If you go there on Street View and try to head down that turning, you get displaced to the place that my link takes you to.

  54. Just watched ‘Donnie Darko’ again after some years. Here I always thought the score was cobbled from current hits of the 80’s whereas it was an original by the genius Michael Andrews. It was reformulated by various artists in 2004.

    2004 British re-release[edit]

    Coinciding with the release of the film’s director’s cut, an expanded two-disc edition of the album was released in the United Kingdom in 2004. This edition included the 1980s pop and alternative rock songs from the theatrical edition and the director’s cut.

    “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS – 3:04
    “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears – 4:16
    “Under the Milky Way” by The Church – 4:58
    “Lucid Memory” by Sam Bauer and Gerard Bauer – 0:46
    “Lucid Assembly” by Gerard Bauer and Mike Bauer – 0:52
    “Ave Maria” by Vladimir Vavilov and Paul Pritchard – 2:57
    “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Steve Baker and Carmen Daye – 3:12
    “Show Me (Part 1)” by Quito Colayco and Tony Hertz – 2:05
    “Notorious” by Duran Duran – 4:00
    “Stay” by Oingo Boingo – 3:38
    “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division – 3:23
    “The Killing Moon” by Echo & the Bunnymen – 5:55

  55. Wow….Ben

    Some sizzling Choons there… Joy D….the Echo’s…magic stuff…..I Sooo love Joy,D’s Atmosphere…-



    Cheers for link ……. No Joy….and em no pun intended RE link above Lol

    it is a good read…. been all over the joint looking… it all made me think of some other books i read…. The stand out ones for now….

    by Patrick Tilley….


    Clark… cheers anyway… Dragon’s Egg, Kinda reminds me of a good read called – VISCOUS-CIRCLE – By Piers Anthony –


  56. Brian; Being a little cryptic @ CM, but wanted to be clear. I guess there are a few different interps so I’ll make sure you have the Heinlein version.

    Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthling assumptions) as color means to a blind man.

  57. Ben

    No worries My friend…. you’re sentence was in two parts… i do confess i did not know what grok meant… but the last part of your sentence made it clear… and i agree…and thank you… Still think you have a bit of the wee Bard in ya….i think we at Squonk could all write an amazing si fi , book / film / what with techies / poets / politico’s…. i have read Heinlein…. one of the greats…i’ve got so many faves… i need to get back to si fi… Ben remind me to share my epic poem MOONDREAM with ya somtime..:)


  58. “Still think you have a bit of the wee Bard in ya…”

    I am open to a collaboration, but I would have to be a silent partner. You see, I have been successful in life, in direct proportion to my fear of fame and fortune, Brian. 🙂

    AA; I didn’t have to explain ‘grok’ and that makes me happy to know you must be an old codger like meself. 🙂

  59. Ben

    Did you know that there is now an uncut edition of Stranger in a Strange Land? The original 1961 edition had about 60,000 words cut from the manuscript at the insistence of the publishers but the full uncut original was rediscovered shortly after Heinlein’s death and was first published about 1990. I haven’t read the uncut version but will try to remember to now I’m reminded it exists.

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