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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Tides in Earth's Plasmasphere?

Daily Sun: 08 Feb 23
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A new and apparently large sunspot is emerging at the circled location. Also, sunspot AR3213 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI



 Tides are one of the oldest phenomena known to physics.  Ocean waters rise and fall like clockwork in response to the gravitational pull of the sun and Moon.  There's nothing surprising about tides.

Yet, researchers studying tides have just found a big surprise. There are tides in Earth's plasmasphere, and they are very strange. The discovery was published in the Jan 26th edition of Nature Physics.

What's going on?  The researchers aren't certain, but they believe gravity and electromagnetism may have joined forces to produce a new kind of tidal effect.

Space physicists have long known that the Moon's gravity affects winds in Earth's ionized upper atmosphere. This means the Moon can actually modify electrical currents in the ionosphere, altering electromagnetic fields. MORE




Two days ago, sunspot AR3213 didn't even exist.  

Now it stretches almost 100,000 km across the surface of the sun with at least two dark cores larger than Earth.  The fast-growing spot is crackling with solar flares. The strongest so far, an M6-class flare on Feb 7th (2307 UTC), caused a shortwave radio blackout over the Pacific Ocean: Mariners and ham radio operators around the Pacific may have noticed unusual propagation effects at frequencies below 30 MHz for at least an hour after the flare.  This explosion did not produce a CME.  However, future explosions might.  The sunspot has an unstable 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for strong flares; NOAA forecasters say there is a 25% chance of M-flares and a 5% chance of X-flares on Feb. 8th. The sunspot is almost directly facing Earth, so stay tuned. HERE

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