Coronal mass ejection headed for Earth : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

18 Feb 2000 Active regions 8869 and 8872
surprised forecasters by producing M-class
solar flares on February 17. One of the flares
was associated with a full halo coronal mass
ejection that appears to be headed directly for
Earth. When the leading edge of this
disturbance reaches our planet on Feberuary 19
or 20, it could trigger aurorae and other geomagnetic

Space Weather

-- spider (, February 18, 2000


We have a Shuttle in orbit -- wouldn't this sort of thing affect the crew?

-- Tom Carey (, February 18, 2000.

Yes, solar flares have a detrimental effect on Tang.

-- Longshot (, February 18, 2000.

What is Tang?


-- justthinkin com (, February 18, 2000.

Thanks Longshot,

I had a good laugh on that one. Side note: Do they still make that stuff? And astronauts still drink it?

-- bz (, February 18, 2000.

While working for cable, HBO handed out Freeze Dried Space Ice Cream to all the employees, to celebrate the appearance of Apollo 13 on HBO. It tasted like shit. really really really bad!

I recall something called "space bars" or something like that, commercial junk food, that was really nothing more than some hard brownie stick in a wrapper. They said the astronauts ate that too.

It is my sincere hope that the menu for astronauts has changed dramatically since then. PS...Tang tastes like shit too!

-- kritter (, February 18, 2000.

Tang is a orange drink concentrated powder, first used in NASA programs for beverage on space flights. Not bad stuff. Was marketed in the 1960's and early 70's like CoolAid. Anyone remember 'energy sticks' of the same era.

-- ..- (dit@dot.dash), February 18, 2000.

The orange tang tasted rather bland...the grape tang was GREAT! yes, they did have a grape tang.

A CME would DEFINITELY affect astronauts in the shuttle if they were in its path....not much shelter material in a shuttle...Unless they've changed stuff measurably, a CME could be deadly to an man in space or exposed on the moon's surface.

-- xyz (, February 18, 2000.

More info can be found at the sources below.

From an amateur perspective, it appears that knowledge of what may be coming is still developing. Last night late (U.S. EST) they were talking 5ish. The numbers I think I am seeing this AM are a little stronger.

"NASA Space"

"Solar Terrestrial Activity Report"

Quoting Solar Terrestrial...: "Thereis a 100% chance that Earth will receive an impact from this CME, the question is when and how significant the event will be. The likely impact time window is from noon on February 19 until late on February 20. If the brightness of the observed halo is an indication of the severeness of the impact and the effect on the geomagnetic field, then this will likely be the most significant CME impact in some time. Minor to very severe storming is possible (K index in the range 5-8, isolated K9 intervals are not unlikely)."

"MSU Solar Physics" has what I found a useful discussion of these events.

-- redeye in ohio (, February 18, 2000.

Tang is the stuff that will allow our astronauts to form the "50 mile high club". And not all Tang tastes like shit.

-- Answer Guy (, February 18, 2000.

Will this one be strong enough to jeopardize solar panels? If so, what should be done to protect them?

-- marsh (, February 18, 2000.

I doubt that your solar panels will be affected.

-- spider (, February 18, 2000.

Coronal Mass Ejections are the most effective way to blow away the Ozone layer, at least for several hours...

Wear sunglasses for the next few days.

-- K. Stevens (kstevens@ It ALL went away last month .com), February 18, 2000.


-- Squirrel Hunter (nuts@upina.cellrelaytower), February 18, 2000.

Yep, they still make Tang. I've got a number of jars of it in my pantry right now as it's a regular part of our food storage program. A disappointing number of powdered drink mixes contain nothing more than sugar, flavoring and a bit of color.

Now as for the astronuauts, I can't say. Given the cost of getting anything into orbit, the cost of the product itself is nearly irrelevant, they may have gone to something more high class.


The Providence Cooperative - free preparedness & survivalism FAQ's

-- A.T. Hagan (, February 18, 2000.

Headlined on DrudgeReport now:


[UK Press Association] -- A massive cloud of hot electrically charged gas spewed out by the Sun appears to be hurtling towards the Earth, threatening communication satellites and power grid systems, it was disclosed today.

The solar eruption, or Coronal Mass Ejection, was spotted by the Sun observation spacecraft Soho yesterday.

Billowing away from the Sun at up to 2,000 kilometres per second, the plasma cloud weighing as much as 10 billion tons is expected to reach the Earth some time in the next two days.

Fortunately the mass is spread out across a huge area.

When it arrives communication satellites could be knocked out of action, power grids on Earth overloaded and dazzling aurora displays appear in the sky across the whole of Britain.

Ahead of the CME will be a bow-wave of fast-moving charged atomic particles, mainly electrons and protons, that can damage sensitive equipment and pose a hazard for space-walking astronauts.

As the cloud envelopes the Earth it is likely to kick up a geomagnetic storm - a major disturbance of the Earth's magnetic field.

Large geomagnetic storms have in the past knocked out communication satellites and caused power surges which threaten electricity supplies on Earth.

In March 1989 the whole of Quebec's hydro-electric system collapsed, cutting off six million people, because of a power surge overload caused by a geomagnetic storm triggered by a solar eruption.

Three years ago a Coronal Mass Ejection was blamed for the loss of Telstar 401, a TV communication satellite.

The satellite was beaming an episode of Star Trek to viewers in the US when it suddenly stopped working, never to recover.

Yesterday's mass ejection event accompanied one of two medium-sized solar flares - bright outbursts of atomic particles and X-rays - that erupted from sunspot groups near the middle of the Sun's face.

It was spotted by an instrument aboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (Soho) as an expanding halo around the Sun.

Solar expert Dr Richard Harrison, from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Didcot, Oxfordshire, said: "The cloud can be seen expanding beyond the Sun's disc. It could either be coming towards us, or going away from us. But given the flare activity on the part of the Sun facing us, it's very, very likely that the mass ejection is heading towards the Earth.

"This thing is basically a cloud of gas carrying its own magnetic field. The Earth has a magnetic field, and as anyone knows when you bring two magnets together you expect to see an effect.

"It can give the Earth's magnetic field quite a kick, even at ground level. You won't notice it, but it can overload electrical systems. In addition there's a shock wave of accelerated atomic particles which can threaten satellites.

"All you need are a few energetic particles to zap your computer and you have problems. To be honest there's not much satellite operators can do about it."

He said that when the CME reached the Earth one effect could be magnificent auroras. The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, which is normally only seen in extremely northerly latitudes, may be visible the whole length of Britain.

Auroras are caused by atomic particles streaming towards the Earth's magnetic poles and bombarding gases in the atmosphere. They produce curtains and bands of light in the sky, usually green in colour, but often glowing blue or red.

"When there's a big event like this you might even be able to see an aurora down here," said Dr Harrison. "It's well worth looking out for."

Solar activity follows an 11-year cycle which will peak later this year, making it likely that more flares and mass ejections will occur.

Both the flares seen yesterday were associated with disappearing solar filaments, magnetic field loops with hot gas trapped inside that appear and vanish in just a few minutes or hours. A disappearing solar filament is a sign that big changes are taking place in the Sun's local magnetic field, and is an indicator for mass ejections.

Dr Harrison said: "Unfortunately it's still very difficult to predict these events. It's not like weather forecasting. As we become more and more dependent on satellites this is going to be a problem."

A Nasa mission called Stereo - for which scientists at Birmingham University have supplied instruments - is due to launch a pair of spacecraft in 2004 to observe the Sun from two different angles.

This will give scientists a much better idea of in what direction a Coronal Mass Ejection is heading.

-- sumpin (, February 18, 2000.

-- uh-oh (here@it.comes), February 18, 2000.

Got surge protectors?

-- ~ (fried@with.that), February 18, 2000.

Those things were called "Space Food Sticks." They were notsovery good tasting long tootsie roll thingy. Kinda tasted like those "Ayds" diet candies. Ughh.

-- Ivan (, February 18, 2000.

There was a thread a few months back in the Y2000 Prep Forum that had a post from a Canadian participant about Tang. Allegedly, Tang is available up there in Grape and Raspberry as well as the standard Orange.

-- chairborne commando (, February 18, 2000.

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