| 28 Mar 2003 @ 22:05, by Letecia Layson|
For the last several years I have been facinated by sun spots solar flare activity and geomagnetic storms. Many thanks to Jeff Gordon from NCN and The Well Now Project, who introduced me to these celestial happenings. He has a link on his site for Today's Space Weather which I found really informative and useful.
Here are some solar effects
The Sun goes through cycles of high and low activity that repeat approximately every 11 years. The number of dark spots on the Sun (sunspots) marks this variation; as the number of sunspots increases, so does solar activity. Sunspots are sources of flares, the most violent events in the solar system. In a matter of minutes, a large flare releases a million times more energy than the largest earthquake.
Episodic solar activity has a number of effects that are of interest to us. A radiation dose from energetic particles is an occasional hazard for astronauts and for electronics on satellites. Geomagnetic field disturbances may damage power systems, disrupt communications, degrade high-tech navigation systems, or create the spectacular aurora (Northern and Southern lights). SEC provides warnings of these events and continues the solar monitoring that began 400 years ago with Galileo's invention of the telescope.
... disrupted by solar and geomagnetic events
Space Shuttle and Space Station activities
High-altitude polar flights
Electric power distribution
Long-line telephone communication
HF radio communication
Solar Flare Characteristics
Solar flares are tremendous explosions on the surface of the Sun. In a matter of just a few minutes they heat material to many millions of degrees and release as much energy as a billion megatons of TNT. They occur near sunspots, usually along the dividing line (neutral line) between areas of oppositely directed magnetic fields.
Flares release energy in many forms - electro-magnetic (Gamma rays and X-rays), energetic particles (protons and electrons), and mass flows. Flares are characterized by their brightness in X-rays (X-Ray flux). The biggest flares are X-Class flares. M-Class flares have a tenth the energy and C-Class flares have a tenth of the X-ray flux seen in M-Class flares. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) monitors the X-Ray flux from the Sun with detectors on some of its satellites.
Ok, so if we have an active sun spot with a coronal mass ejection we get a Geomagnetic Storm
One to four days after a flare or eruptive prominence occurs, a slower cloud of solar material and magnetic fields reaches Earth, buffeting the magnetosphere and resulting in a geomagnetic storm. These storms are extraordinary variations in Earth's surface magnetic field. During a geomagnetic storm, portions of the solar wind's energy is transferred to the magnetosphere, causing Earth's magnetic field to change rapidly in direction and intensity and energize the particle populations within it.
We are part of the "particle population" on planet Earth, few of us have mastered the "wave aspect". Jeff and a few others members of NCN have been tracking these events and how the translate in our personal lives over the last several years. It seems that we each respond to the events in different ways, some need more sleep, some are all charged up - energized in a good way, some are aggitated or angry, tense or stressed out.
A Primer on Space Weather tells us:
There is a growing body of evidence that changes in the geomagnetic field affect biological systems. Studies indicate that physically stressed human biological systems may respond to fluctuations in the geomagnetic field. Interest and concern in this subject have led the Union of Radio Science International to create a new commission entitled Electromagnetics in Biology and Medicine.
Possibly the most closely studied of the variable Sun's biological effects has been the degradation of homing pigeons' navigational abilities during geomagnetic storms. Pigeons and other migratory animals, such as dolphins and whales, have internal biological compasses composed of the mineral magnetite wrapped in bundles of nerve cells. While this probably is not their primarily method of navigation, there have been many pigeon race smashes, a term used when only a small percentage of birds return home from a release site. Because these losses have occurred during geomagnetic storms, pigeon handlers have learned to ask for geomagnetic alerts and warnings as an aid to scheduling races.
And ends by saying:
It has been realized and appreciated only in the last few decades that solar flares, CMEs, and magnetic storms affect people and their activities. The list of consequences grows in proportion to our dependence on technological systems. The subtleties of the interactions between Sun and Earth, and between solar particles and delicate instruments, have become factors that affect our well being. Thus there will be continued and intensified need for space environment services to address health, safety, and commercial needs.
Until I read this primer today, I had an intuitive sense that we were being affected by these solar activites. The pressure seems to build, with some of the people I know feeling a hightened sense of anxiety, pressure even prior to an event and some immediately afterward and some still do not feel the anything until the wave of particles hit our planet. We try to make meaning of all of this additional 'feeling', find the reason for why we are feeling the way we do. Maybe it is just a solar flare and not your partner's behavior afterall! The jury is still on how we are being influenced/affected, though more evidence shows that solar activity does affect us some how.
It's spring! Ride the energy waves...