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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

06:02:2013 -- Listen as Solar Flare Engulfs Radio Waves


Dear Friends,


Be Well.
David


By Breanna Draxler | February 6, 2013 8:09 am

Spectrograph of the February 2 solar flare. Image courtesy of Richard Flagg, Windward Community College Radio Observatory.

We’re not supposed to look at the sun, but no one said anything about listening. If you, like amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft, had your radio tuned to the right frequency last Saturday evening, you would have heard the garbled effects of a solar flare drowning out radio waves here on Earth after it erupted on the surface of the sun. For those of you who still want to listen after the fact, you’re in luck:

Thomas Ashcraft is an independent, self-taught radio astronomer who operates his own Heliotown Observatory in north central New Mexico. Using optical telescopes and radio instruments, Ashcraft keeps an eye (and an ear) on the Sun, Jupiter, meteoric fireballs and transient luminous events called red sprites. He recorded the sound of the solar flare this weekend and shared his methodology and thoughts with DISCOVER writer Breanna Draxler via e-mail.

DISCOVER: What exactly are we hearing on this recording?

Ashcraft: We are hearing a solar Type III radio burst that was generated by a solar flare as recorded at 28 MHz and 21 MHz. Although the flare was relatively small, this particular radio burst was quite strong. Type III solar radio emissions are produced by electrons accelerated to high energies by solar flares. As the electrons stream outward from the sun, they excite plasma oscillations in the sun’s atmosphere. The plasma oscillations in turn generate radio emissions that sweep out into space.

On one stereo channel there was a voice transmission in progress, likely a ham radio operator, and as the solar radio wave passed through the voice gets thoroughly overpowered and then returns as the blast passes through. Type III solar bursts are also called “fast drift bursts” because they drift down in frequency. It is a little hard to hear in this recording but the burst actually hits one channel at 28 MHz first and then can be heard at 21 MHz a second later on the other stereo channel.  Listen close to hear this.

What kind of equipment do you use to record the activity of a solar flare?

I have a complex array of instruments and observe at multiple frequencies. This particular solar burst was recorded using two simple shortwave radios connected to a three element yagi antenna. The Sun radiates across the full spectrum but, serendipitously, it can be very strong and hot at common shortwave radio frequencies. I audio record into a digital recorder.

Was the flare on February 2 a big one, relatively speaking?

The flare at 1954 UT on February 2, 2013 was relatively small in x-ray output. It was measured at C 2.9. Stronger flares go way higher into M classification and occasional very powerful flares achieve X classification. But interestingly, some X-class flares produce minimal receivable radio bursts whereas some smaller flares can send forth a strong electron blast.

How does it compare to the superflares of 1960 and 1859?

This flare was generated by a small sunspot group so there was less physical area of magnetic entanglement. Superflares are generated by very very large sunspots so they pack more force due to sunspot size across and below the sun’s surface.

What kind of damage could a major flare do to our electronic-dependent society today?

Well, that is a complex question. Modern satellites are prepared for strong flares to a great degree. Occasionally a satellite is knocked out by a strong flare but not often, at least so far. I have experienced the strongest solar flares of the past two decades and I don’t think the modern power grid sputtered appreciably up to an X 28 flare, which was the largest flare in recorded history. Modern society cannot afford to have business transactions interrupted so they work hard to safeguard their equipment as best they can.

What can we expect in terms of solar flares as the sun enters a new solar cycle this year?

The sun is well into its solar cycle at this point, nearing maximum actually, and it has been a relatively weak solar cycle in terms of strong flares. It is baffling to solar scientists. So, it is somewhat hard to predict what is coming. But, I would bet, and as an astronomer myself, hope, that there will be some large sunspot groups within the next year or two based on my own experience of the past three solar cycles.  Large sunspots and hot radio emissions make for great fun.

For all the details on superflares and their future threats, check out DISCOVER’s Beware: Superflare.

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How to Digitally Record/Video a UFO sighting:


Como registar digitalmente ou gravar um vídeo de um avistamento de um UFO:




Stabilize the camera on a tripod. If there is no tripod, then set it on top of a stable, flat surface. If that is not possible lean against a wall to stabilize your body and prevent the camera from filming in a shaky, unsteady manner.

Estabilize a camera com um tripé. Se não tiver um tripé, então coloque-a em cima de uma superfície estável. Se não for possível, então encoste-se a uma parede para estabilizar o corpo e evitar que a camera registe de maneira tremida e instável.

Provide visual reference points for comparison. This includes the horizon, treetops, lampposts, houses, and geographical landmarks (i.e., Horsetooth Reservoir, Mt. Adams, etc.) Provide this in the video whenever is appropriate and doesn’t detract from what your focus is, the UFO.

Forneça pontos visuais de referência para comparação. Isso inclui o horizonte, cimo das árvores, postes de iluminação, pontos de referência geográficos (como o Reservatório de Horsetooth, Mone Adams, etc) Forneça esses pontos no vídeo sempre que for apropriado e não se distraia do que é o seu foco, o UFO/a Nave.

Narrate your videotape. Provide details of the date, time, location, and direction (N,S,E,W) you are looking in. Provide your observations on the weather, including approximate temperature, windspeed, any visible cloud cover or noticeable weather anomalies or events. Narrate on the shape, size, color, movements, approximate altitude of the UFO, etc and what it appears to be doing. Also include any unusual physical, psychological or emotional sensations you might have. Narrate any visual reference points on camera so they correlate with what the viewer will see, and thereby will be better able to understand.

Faça a narração do vídeo. Forneça pormenores sobre a data, hora, local e direcção (Norte, Sul, Este, Oeste) que está a observar. Faça observações sobre as condições atmosféricas, incluindo a temperatura aproximada, velocidade do vento, quantidade de nuvens, anomalias ou acontecimentos meteorológicos evidentes. Descreva a forma, o tamanho, a cor, os movimentos, a altitude aproximada onde se encontra o UFO/nave, etc e o que aparenta estar a fazer. Inclua também quaisquer aspectos pouco habituais de sensações físicas, psicológicas ou emocionais que possa ter. Faça a narração de todos os pontos de referência visual que o espectador irá ver e que, deste modo, será capaz de compreender melhor.

Be persistent and consistent. Return to the scene to videotape and record at this same location. If you have been successful once, the UFO sightings may be occurring in this region regularly, perhaps for specific reasons unknown, and you may be successful again. You may also wish to return to the same location at a different time of day (daylight hours) for better orientation and reference. Film just a minute or two under “normal” circumstances for comparison. Write down what you remember immediately after. As soon as you are done recording the experience/event, immediately write down your impressions, memories, thoughts, emotions, etc. so it is on the record in writing. If there were other witnesses, have them independently record their own impressions, thoughts, etc. Include in this exercise any drawings, sketches, or diagrams. Make sure you date and sign your documentation.

Seja persistente e não contraditório. Volte ao local da cena e registe o mesmo local. Se foi bem sucedido uma vez, pode ser que nessa região ocorram avistamentos de UFOs/naves com regularidade, talvez por razões específicas desconhecidas, e talvez possa ser novamente bem sucedido. Pode também desejar voltar ao mesmo lugar a horas diferentes do dia (durante as horas de luz)para ter uma orientação e referência melhor. Filme apenas um ,inuto ou dois em circunstâncias “normais” para ter um termo de comparação. Escreva tudo o que viu imediatamente após o acontecimento. Logo após ter feito o registo da experiência/acontecimento, escreva imediatamente as impressões, memórias, pensamentos, emoções, etc para que fiquem registadas por escrito. Se houver outras testemunhas, peça-lhes para registar independentemente as suas próprias impressões, pensamentos, etc. Inclua quaisquer desenhos, esbolos, diagramas. Certifique-se que data e assina o seu documento/testemunho.

Always be prepared. Have a digital camera or better yet a video camera with you, charged and ready to go, at all times. Make sure you know how to use your camera (and your cell phone video/photo camera) quickly and properly. These events can occur suddenly, unexpectedly, and often quite randomly, so you will need to be prepared.

Esteja sempre preparado, Tenha sempre uma camera digital, melhor ainda, uma camera vídeo consigo, carregada e pronta a usar sempre que necessário. Certifique-se que sabe como lidar com a sua camera (ou com o seu celular/camera fotográfica) rápida e adequadamente. Esses acontecimentos podem acontecer súbita e inesperadamente e, por vezes, acidentalmente, por isso, necessita estar preparado.

Look up. Be prepared. Report. Share.

Olhe para cima, Esteja preparado, Relate, Partilhe.

MUFON.COM

ESOTERIC



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