This essay is an unscientific attempt to offer information about CMEs, solar flares and strange sounds, in the simplest of terms. Please forgive me if I oversimplify the possibilities of the connection.
There is much talk about coronal mass ejections (CMEs) causing strange sounds. A CME is defined as solar wind, plasma and magnetic fields from the sun. These are injected into space by the sun and are believed to originate from sunspots associated with frequent solar flares. See more here.
The earth is surrounded by something called the magnetosphere. Solar winds energize particles in this magnetic field that stimulate molecules and result in auroras. Auroras produce beautiful bands of color that can be seen in the North and South poles of the Earth.
Okay that wasn’t easy. I tried to break it down in the simplest of terms and if I forgot something, you get the gist anyway. Read more at the Geophysical Institute in Alaska here.
Now that we know the effect of CMEs on the Earth we can look at an event that occurred in 1859. According to the video below, filmed with NASA-Goddard astronomer, Sten Odenwald, the Earth has seen some spectacular effects of CMEs in the past.
In September of 1859, a clipper ship, in rough seas off the coast of Chile, experienced auroras of blood red accompanied by crimson lights. Even compasses ceased to work. They survived, but upon their return they discovered these strange skys covered two-thirds of the world.
Around this time, amateur astronomer Richard Carrington (here) observed sunspots that produced an enormous solar flare. The flare was ten times the diameter of the earth. As a result, auroras were seen over a great portion of the earth.
The electrical charge of this CME disrupted communications via telegraph around the world. The paper of the telegraph machines actually burned. When they cut power to the machines they continued to function solely on the electric charges surging through the air. This would be akin to the internet being disrupted due to the same cause. The largest flares recorded recently aren’t half the size of the one from the Carrington event. Scientists are confident we’ll experience such a disruption in the future. See more here.
A terrific and not boring video below describes the Carrington Event, auroras and CMEs.
Solar activity spikes within an eleven year cycle. We are currently within this cycle. There has been much solar activity recently, but this February 14th event has scientists scratching their heads.
A magnetic disturbance without a solar flare created spectacular auroras. This was created without an uptick in solar activity.
From a space.com article here:
“Sometimes the sky surprises us,” astronomer Tony Phillips wrote on Spaceweather.com. “On Feb. 14-15, with little warning, geomagnetic activity rippled around the Arctic Circle, producing an outbreak of auroras that veteran observers said was among the best in months.”
The below video shows the incredible auroras that were recorded during this February 14th event.
Now let’s get to the business of an association of CMEs with “strange sounds”. Can “strange sounds” be heard? Yes and no.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP…