Waves of ionization are rippling through Earth’s upper atmosphere

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Fast-growing sunspot complex 1161-1162 erupted on Feb. 18th, producing an M6.6-class solar flare. The almost-X category blast was one of the strongest flares in years and continued the week-long trend of high solar activity. NOAA forecasters estimate a 75% chance of more M-flares during the next 24 hours.

Waves of ionization are rippling through Earth’s upper atmosphere in response to the recent onslaught of solar flares. This affects the propagation of radio signals–suppressing some frequencies and boosting others. By monitoring distant transmitters at a frequency of 23.4 kHz, Rudolf Slosiar of Bojnice, Slovakia detected nearly a dozen sudden ionospheric disturbances (SIDs) on Feb. 18th:


VLF SID events chart

More waves of ionization are iin the offing as sunspot complex 1161-1162 continues to crackle with M-class solar flares. The next SID could be over your backyard. Do-it-yourself SID monitors are available from Stanford University.

One and possibly two CMEs hit Earth during the early hours of Feb. 18th, creating a gusty solar wind environment around our planet and fueling a minor G1-class geomagnetic storm. Although the storm has subsided, it could flare up again as the solar wind continues to swirl around Earth.

 

 

recommended video watch Significant geomagnetic disturbance Feb 19

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