Guide On How To View and Understand The NICT Magnetosphere Readings
Please keep in mind I am no expert, but just one of many who have a interest in solar activities. With solar cycle 24 solar max just around the corner, the Sun will be becoming more and more active. Due to this I felt that a guide to understand the NICT magnetosphere website would be helpful to fellow solar watchers that have an interest in what is going on.
When the Sun produces a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), the ejection sends solar winds out into space. The solar winds sent out by a CME carry with it it's own magnetic field called the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF) and solar particles (density).
The strength of the CME is what determines how strong the Solar Winds are and the density varies with each CME.
The levels of CME strength are A, B, C, M and X (in order of weakest to strongest).
The stronger the CME is, the stronger the solar wind IMF is.
If a CME is Earth directed, it then sends those Solar Winds and IMF in Earths direction. The IMF is not constant and changes in strength and polarity (north/south) orientation.
This simulation shows the effects of Solar Flares and CME's on Earths Magnetosphere in real time.
(Note: Earth facing magnetic filament eruptions and coronol hole's also effect Earths magnetosphere. Do a search to learn more about these events)IMPORTANT NOTE:
a Solar Flare and CME are NOT the same.
A solar Flare is produced by a sunspot explosion and reaches Earth very fast, in around 8 minutes.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_flare
A CME (coronal mass ejection) may or may not be produced by the sunspot explosion. If it does produce a CME, it takes anywhere from 2 to 3 days to reach Earth, and sometimes even longer. A coronal mass ejection (CME) is a massive burst of solar wind, other light isotope plasma, and magnetic fields rising above the solar corona or being released into space.
Coronal mass ejections are often associated with other forms of solar activity, most notably solar flares, but a causal relationship has not been established. Most ejections originate from active regions on Sun's surface, such as groupings of sunspots associated with frequent flares. CMEs occur during both the solar maxima and the solar minima of sun activity, albeit with decreased frequency during the minima. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronal_mass_ejection
(TOP LEFT PICTURE) = The real time simulated picture of of all NICT magnetosphere data. The red and blue lines represent magnetic lines of force found within Earths magnetic field.
When the lines are crossed or in a ball (Example:http://api.ning.com/files/KXDDcbgjz45w5k2FBF1yrj*zWKfxg86ELDPDZMKUe-r3RM-UNEummhSe3qDe2JPlnU*EyA7-dMM-AMn-6YZimocZNlKFLdnc/test_6.20100218065029.jpg ), The IMF is in a north direction (positive) and the magnetosphere is protecting its self from solar winds and particles. This is good.
When the lines are open (into wings), the IMF is in a southward direction and the Magnetosphere is open allowing solar wind IMF and particles to connect with Earth's magnetic field.
(Top Right Picture) = The real time simulated picture of the Pressure on the Magnetosphere (Solar Wind Speed + Density)
When the solar winds and Density is low, the magnetosphere is under little pressure and turns darker blue.
When the solar winds and density is high, the magnetosphere is under high pressure and turns white.
(see scale to the right of simulation)
Speed of Solar Winds "V(km/s)" = Energy level
Density "Dens.(p/cc)" = Number of Particles in the Solar Wind
Speed of Solar Winds + Density = Amount of Pressure on our Magnetosphere
= same as
V(km/s) + Dens.(p/cc) = Amount of Pressure on our Magnetosphere
Low Solar Wind Speed = Low amount of Energy
High Solar Wind Speed = High amount of Energy
Low Density = Low amount of Particles
High Density = High amount of Particles
Bz(nt) and By(nt):
Bz = North / South
By = East / West
Bz and By measure the angel of the solar wind interplanetary magnetic field (IMF)
Bz and By define a vertical plane like plus sign (+).
The solar wind angle is the angle produced from the vector sum of By and Bz. You can see the solar wind clock angle here along with a more detailed explanation.
Link to Solar Wind Clock Angle: http://www.ips.gov.au/Category/Solar/Solar%20Conditions/Solar%20Wind%20Clock%20Angle/Solar%20Wind%20Clock%20Angle.phpBz being positive (in the green)
= A Northward direction of the Solar winds.
This is the same direction as Earths magnetic field.
Because of this, when the SOLAR WIND IMF hit Earths magnetosphere they are repelled back into space.Bz being Negative (in the red)
= A Southward direction of the solar winds.
This is in the opposite direction of Earths magnetic field.
Because of this, when the IMF hits Earths magnetosphere
the two fields connect in a process called Magnetic Reconnection
The more the Bz in the green = the more the northward IMF direction and the stronger the repulsion
The more the Bz is in the red = the more the Southward IMF direction and the stronger the connection
When the solar wind speed "V(km/s)" and the density "Dens.(p/cc)" get high, into the green and the Bz(nt) goes south, into the red area, This is when we get a geomagnetic storm.
The more extreme these are into these areas, the more extreme the storm
Photo Example: How to read some of the other basic data monitors: http://www.angelfire.com/geek/solarstormmonitor/ NOAA Space Weather Scale for Geomagnetic Storms: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/NOAAscales/LINKS:http://spaceweather.com/http://solarcycle24.com/http://solarimg.org/artis/http://www.solarmonitor.org/index.phphttp://www.swpc.noaa.gov/http://gong.nso.edu/data/farside/http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/spaceweather/http://www.lmsal.com/solarsoft/last_events/http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/rt_plots/xray_5mBL.htmlhttp://www.swpc.noaa.gov/rt_plots/xray_1m.htmlhttp://iswa.ccmc.gsfc.nasa.gov:8080/IswaSystemWebApp/http://hirweb.nict.go.jp/sedoss/solact3http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/drap/Global.pnghttp://www.swpc.noaa.gov/pmap/
Auroral Activity Extrapolated from NOAA POEShttp://www.gdgps.net/products/images/tec-map-br.jpg
One thing to look at regards solar wind spead, its not the amount of Energy so to speak. It's the actually SPEED or VELOCITY of the particles coming from the sun and varies according to rate of ejection AND intervening space conditions. But obviously a faster wind delivers more "energy".
As an example, a car traveling at 20 mph, if it runs into a tree, the damage is far less than a car running into a tree at 60 mph. Also to consider is the density of the car. A heavier car will suffer more damage than a light car, leaving out the factors of how the car is constructed of course. So in this a faster wind with also more particles, will have more effect on the pressure image! and thus on our magnetic field. and there are many factors involved with the magnetic field itself as to how it will react, besides speed and particles. Heat is one of those. Some storms have a much higher heat with them than others, plus other space conditions.A solar flare can come from a magnetic filament, and ditto produce a CME if the filament is ejected into space.
Another example of these forces regards what they can do besides the car hitting a tree, is if you throw a baseball at someone, it is hard, and weighs more than a tennis ball and will do more damage. Also if you throw the tennis ball harder and faster, it will do more damage, hit with a harder force than if you toss it.
As to WIND, if you are driving a car or walking into the WIND, which is nothing more than particles, moving fast, this wind will resist your movement, and if the wind is at your back, it helps you move. Some ejections from the sun are "tossed" and some are thrown hard. And they vary in size, (particles).
Now because of intervening space condition, these particles being tossed as a CME, can be helped along, pushed, or slowed down. This is why sometimes a huge CME tossed off the sun at a high rate of speed, straight at us, will have different effects different times.
The CME that accompanied the X 2.2 flare, that seemed huge, acted like a coronal hole, the mass even though it looked huge, space conditions absorbed some of that mass, the particles, mostly protons, and we didn't get that much of them. I was expecting for example, a proton effect of 40 to 50 and that did not happen, the mass that arrived was not as large as it appeared for a halo CME on Stereo A and B. Intervening space conditions is likely cause, but maybe the mass just was less dense in the first place. It was flung off pretty rapidly, and maybe that suggested to me that the mass coming was going to be larger.
Usually the earth directed CME will have a lot of protons initially, and then the wind speed rises. With a coronal hole, we get less mass, and the wind is the greater feature early into it, than with the CME.