Tuesday, June 7, 2011

THE SUN: Solar Activity - "Hair-Raising, Unbelievable, Incredible,..."?!

According to Space Weather, although there are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun, a sunspot complex 1226-1227 produced a strong M2-class flare on June 7th at 0641 UT with more eruptions in the offing.

M-FLARE AND RADIATION STORM: This morning around 0641 UT, magnetic fields above sunspot complex 1226-1227 became unstable and erupted. The blast produced an M2-class solar flare, an S1-class radiation storm, and a massive coronal mass ejection (CME). A recording of the blast from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory ranks as one of the most beautiful and dramatic movies of the SDO era. A video with commentary from solar physicist C. Alex Young of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows material splashing back to the stellar surface. "I've never seen material released this way before," he says in the video. "It looks like someone kicked a clod of dirt in the air--an amazing, amazing event." Coronagraphs onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) are still monitoring the CME as it billows away from the sun. Watch the cloud expand. The speckles are caused by energetic charged particles hitting the camera's CCD array. This is what we mean by a "radiation storm"; the particles were accelerated by the explosion and are now peppering Earth-orbiting satellites and spacecraft like SOHO. Although the blast was not squarely Earth-directed, it will affect our planet. The CME should deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field during the late hours of June 8th or June 9th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras when the CME arrives.
HAIR-RAISING SOLAR ACTIVITY: Over the past few days, amateur astronomers have recorded some of the most photogenic solar activity in years. Onlookers describe huge prominences of magnetized plasma rising above the stellar surface as "Unbelievable!" - "Hydrogen at its best"--"Massive and incredible!" This shot was simply hair-raising. Alan Friedman took the picture from his backyard observatory in Buffalo, New York, on June 5th. "There are more to come," he promises. And why not? The show is still underway. Latest images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory reveal at least three regions of continued activity. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to train their optics on the limb of the sun.
WATCH: An amazing solar filament eruption.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Hey Al Gore, It’s Snowing In Hawaii... In June!

A rare June snowfall blanketed the summit of Mauna Kea up to eight inches of hail and snow closing the summit road Saturday and Sunday (June 4-5). Summer officially arrives June 21 but a storm made a bit of Hawaii feel like Winter. After crews cleared the roadways and sun melted some of the snow a few visitors braved the trip to the summit and were rewarded with clear skies and just enough snow to do some sledding with bodyboards.

Snow on the summit of Mauna Kea: it’s not exactly a rare sight during a Hawaiian winter. But how about in June? With just a few days removed from the official start of summer, the summit of the Big Island’s biggest mountain was covered by white after a passing thunderstorm dropped inches of ice at the 13,000 foot level. Noteworthy weather for Waimea resident Pam Akao, her daughter and her friends… “It was hailing in Waimea!” said Pam. “I dont know if it has to do the with the world climate change, or what.” The Mauna Kea Access Road was closed for a period this weekend, but by Sunday afternoon, the summit was open to the public once more. Employees on the roofs of the summit observatories worked to clear as much snow from the telescopes as possible before nightfall. The roads were in good condition, and although the mountain was quiet for a snow day, there were still some brave groups who ventured up. The snowy slopes were not ideal for sledding, but it was difficult for Akao and the kids to resist going down on their bodyboards. Their second run illustrated the dangers that can be present on the mountain. Hitting one of Mauna Kea’s large rocks is an easy mistake to make. Luckily no one was hurt, but it was a reminder that this sort of recreational use of the mountain has its pitfalls. It is also important to keep in mind the altitude: respiratory issues, frigid temperatures, and snow blindness are all potential problems at 13,000 feet above sea level. And what’s a trip to the top of Mauna Kea without bringing a little snow back down, where Hawaii enjoys its typical climate… at a warm 80 degrees. - Big Island Video News.
WATCH: Summer snow in Hawaii on Mauna Kea.

THE DELUGE: China Floods - 21 Dead & Over Half-A-Million Affected!

Rain-triggered floods in southwestern China have killed 21 people and left scores missing while damaging roads, bridges and tens of thousands of homes.

The provincial civil affairs bureau said the rain-triggered floods had hit 11 cities and counties in the Guizhou province since Friday, affecting at least 270,000 people. At least 35 people are missing in the floods, which have toppled thousands of homes, washed away hundreds of cars and destroyed roads and bridges. The Wangmo County, where all 21 deaths were reported, was among the worst hit with some 45,000 people forced to evacuate when the floodwaters inundated the area on Monday. Another 3,000 people are said to be still stranded there, county officials said. Authorities added the waters flattened 300 houses and left 2,400 submerged, while 21 square miles (5,500 hectares) of farmland was under water in the county, which is home to eight million people.

Power and water supplies and telecommunication services were also affected. While thousands of school children in the affected towns have had to stay at home with dozens of classrooms submerged following the floods. The flooding follows months - and in some cases, years - of crop-destroying droughts in the centre and north of the country. Some stretches along the Yangtze River, which supports more than 400 million people, have almost run dry in southwest China's Chongqing municipality. More than a thousand small lakes are on the brink of drying up, and have been declared "dead" by the authorities. Millions of people face shortages of drinking water. Last month, in order to avert the worst effects of the drought, the Chinese Government announced it had turned to "weather modification" - firing liquid nitrogen-filled rockets into the sky to encourage precipitation. It is not known if this method was what caused the latest onslaught of wet weather
. - Sky News.

MYSTERY: "Bio-Station Alpha" - Space Station on Planet Mars?!

According to the following report, a armchair astronaut discovered a mysterious area on the planet Mars, that he thinks is a space station or spaceport.

We have all heard of little green men from Mars. But now an American 'armchair astronaut' claims to have discovered a mysterious structure on the surface of the red planet - by looking on Google Earth. David Martines, whose YouTube video of the 'station' has racked up over 200,000 hits so far, claims to have randomly uncovered the picture while scanning the surface of the planet one day. Describing the 'structure' as a living quarters with red and blue stripes on it, to the untrained eye it looks nothing more than a white splodge on an otherwise unblemished red landscape. He even lists the co-ordinates 49'19.73"N 29 33'06.53"W so others can go see the anomaly for themselves.

In a pre recorded 'fly by' video of the object, Mr Martines describes what he thinks the station might be. He said: 'This is a video of something I discovered on Google Mars quite by accident. 'I call it Bio-station Alpha, because I'm just assuming that something lives in it or has lived in it. 'It's very unusual in that it's quite large, it's over 700 feet long and 150 feet wide, it looks like it's a cylinder or made up of cylinders. 'It could be a power station or it could be a biological containment or it could be a glorified garage - hope it's not a weapon. 'Whoever put it up there had a purpose I'm sure. I couldn't imagine what the purpose was. I couldn't imagine why anybody would want to live on Mars. 'It could be a way station for weary space travellers. It could also belong to NASA, I don't know that they would admit that. 'I don't know if they could pull off such a project without all the people seeing all the material going up there. I sort of doubt NASA has anything to do with this.

'I don't know if NASA even knows about this.' The 'discovery' is similar to that of the infamous 'face on Mars.' Uncovered by the Viking 1 probe in 1976, a quirk of geography threw shadows over a small hill on the Cydonia region of Mars, making the inanimate rock look like a carved face. The picture was heralded as proof of an alien civilisation by some but was dismissed as a mere trick of the light by scientists at NASA. MailOnline has tried to contact both NASA and Google for a response to the image, but neither has replied
. - Daily Mail.
WATCH: Martines shows how to locate the mysterious area on Mars on Google Earth.

WATCH: Martines interviewed at Vivisviv productions in San Luis Obispo, California.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Chile volcano spreads ash to South America!

The Chilean volcano which erupted on Saturday has sent a towering plume of ash across South America, forcing thousands from their homes, grounding airline flights in southern Argentina and coating ski resorts with a gritty layer of dust instead of snow. Booming explosions echoed across the Andes as toxic gases belched up from a three-mile-long fissure in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic complex - a ridge between two craters just west of the Chilean-Argentine border that began erupting Saturday. Winds blew a six-mile high cloud of ash all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and even into southern Buenos Aires province, hundreds of miles to the north-east.

Ash spreading to South America.
Thousands of people were forced to leave their homes as the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano sent a high plume of ash across South America on Tuesday. The flights were also delayed in South Argentina which witnessed a thick layer of dust covering the snow everywhere. Booming explosions were also heard across the Andes as toxic gases erupted from the volcano, reports said. Winds blew a six-mile high cloud of ash all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. Authorities in Chile went house-to-house to evacuate people who are living near the volcano because of an increasing danger of toxic gas and flash floods. Ash clouds fanned by the winds blew over neighboring Argentina, darkening the sky and resulting in the closure of the nearby airport. The volcano eruption also prompted authorities to close a border crossing into Argentina. It was not clear which of the chain's four volcanoes had erupted because of ash cover and weather conditions, a report in Daily Mail says. The chain last saw a major eruption in 1960. Local media said the smell of sulphur hung in the air and there was constant seismic activity. "The Cordon Caulle (volcanic range) has entered an eruptive process, with an explosion resulting in a 10-kilometer-high gas column," the state emergency office ONEMI said. The government said it has evacuated 3,500 people from the surrounding area. - International Business Times.
Ash on the streets of Argentina.
WATCH: Chile volcano ash cloud shifts direction.

WATCH: Raw Video of Chilean volcano sparks lightning.

WATCH: Lightning and ash as Chile volcano erupts.

WATCH: Lightning inside Chile Puyehue volcano ash cloud.

THE DELUGE: Flash Floods hits Davao Del Sur town in the Philippines!

About 40 families fled their homes after a flash flood spawned by heavy rains ravaged Brgy. Poblacion, Magsaysay, Davao Del Sur in the Philippines.

The flash flood was triggered by the overflowing of Bulatukan River at around 5 p.m. yesterday. No fatalities or injuries were reported from the incident. Some houses made from light materials were washed away. Even the town chapel was not spared after a hip-deep water entered it.

Resident Virgie Ricoplacion expressed despair after her house and some of her belongings were washed away by the flash flood for the second time. Brgy. Poblacion was first hit by a flash flood in 2006. Affected residents are now staying in safer places such as the barangay hall and town gym, while some chose to stay in their relatives’ houses.
The local government of Magsaysay are still counting the cost of the damages brought by the disaster. Meanwhile, relief efforts are being done for the affected residents. - ABS-CBN News.

EARTH CHANGES: Arizona Wildfire doubles in 2 Days to 400 sq. miles!

The devastating Arizona wildfires has doubled in size in just two days, as almost 400 square miles go up in smoke and thousands are evacuated.

Firefighters worked furiously Monday to save a line of mountain communities in eastern Arizona from a gigantic blaze that has forced thousands of people from their homes and cast a smoky haze over states as far away as Iowa. Strong winds and lightning storms were expected to make matters worse in an area dotted with cabins and campgrounds that have long provided a cool summer getaway from the oppressive heat of the nearby desert. The fire had grown to nearly 365 square miles, officials said. Authorities believe an abandoned campfire may have sparked the blaze more than a week ago. Lighter winds a day earlier sent embers flying as far as three miles and triggered a series of spot fires. So far, the flames have destroyed five buildings and scorched 233,522 acres of ponderosa pine forest. No serious injuries have been reported. The blaze nearly doubled in size between Saturday and Monday. About 2,000 people fled Alpine and Nutrioso late last week and headed to larger towns for shelter. Roughly 2,500 firefighters, including many from several western states and as far away as New York, are working to contain the wildfires, fire information officer Peter Frenzen said. A ridge of high pressure was carrying the haze to central Iowa, said Kyle Fredin, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Denver. The smoke was visible in New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas. Fredin said the smoke wouldn't be noticeable in the Midwest, where humidity already makes conditions hazy. He said it could, however, produce striking orange-pink sunrises and sunsets. In eastern Colorado, the haze obscured the view of the mountains from downtown Denver and prompted some municipal health departments to issue air quality warnings. - Daily Mail.

The monster Arizona wildfire is also threatening a line of mountain towns.

Dry, windy conditions whipped flames and spread dense smoke across several states Monday as a massive Arizona wildfire grew to more than 350 square miles and threatened mountain communities. Wind gusts of up to 40 mph and temperatures into the 80s, combined with low humidity and a threat of dry lightning, strained efforts by more than 2,300 firefighters to contain the blaze in the Apache and Sitgreaves National Forests. "Visibility is pretty bad at times," said Dan Muth, vice mayor of Springerville, Ariz., situated in a valley just north of the burn area. He said the fire was driving wildlife out of the mountains and into the valley in search of food and water, and that one motorist collided with an elk Monday morning. "It's not pandemonium, but people are concerned," he said. "It's the sheer magnitude" of the fire. The U.S. Forest Service and other federal agencies battling the blaze say it expanded considerably over 24 hours and by Monday afternoon had burned 233,522 acres, or 365 square miles. Called the Wallow Fire, it was uncontained and burning near Nutrioso and Alpine in eastern Arizona near New Mexico. Smoke was visible as far east as Iowa, as well as closer states including New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas. It was blamed for hindering views of the Rocky Mountains from downtown Denver. Evacuation orders were in effect for Alpine and Nutrioso and expanded Monday to include Greer and Sunrise. Luna, N.M., was put on notice to be ready to leave, the Forest Service said, as were residents of Springerville and Eager. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer declared a state of emergency. - USA Today.

WATCH: Arizona forest fire expands with strong winds.

THE DELUGE: Torrential Rains Slams Haiti Leaving 6 Dead!

At least six people were dead Tuesday after torrential rains slammed the disaster-weary country of Haiti, turning roads to rivers, collapsing fragile houses and swamping the city's squalid camps set up after last year's earthquake.

The worst rains to hit the impoverished country so far this year, at the start of the hurricane season, paralyzed the city, with three people killed in house collapses in the upscale neighborhood of Petitionville, according to Alta Jean Baptiste, Haiti's civil protection director. Two people died as rushing waters soaked the downtown tent camp near the ruined presidential palace, and one person was killed in the town of Belladere, east of the capital, Jean Baptiste said.

Newly-elected President Michel Martelly said he was en route to the city's most impoverished neighborhood Cite Soleil, which officials said was completely swamped by the rainfall. "I was in the streets during the rain, and I got home, put my boots on, and I'm back in the streets to assess the situation," Martelly said in remarks broadcast on national television. "I'm now trying to help people, and distribute some food. I hope people can find shelter," said Martelly, who was with members of his new cabinet as he handed out supplies. The rains had meanwhile brought the entire city to a virtual standstill as waters ran through streets and cars were jammed up in long lines, some abandoned by their owners.

Thunderstorms were washing across north Carribean islands early Tuesday, but with little chance of the large low pressure area developing into a cyclone, according to the U.S.-based National Hurricane Center (NHC). The associated rainfall, warned the NHC, "could cause flash floods and mud slides over portions of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Cuba. In Jamaica, the national Meteorological Service issued flash flood warnings for low-lying and areas of Kingston and surrounding towns. Haitians face some of the stiffest challenges to the strong weather in the region, however, due to its crumbling infrastructure and precarious shelters for thousands who have been living rough in the capital since the disastrous 7.0 magnitude earthquake in January 2010.
- Montreal Gazette.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 4.2 Magnitude Earthquake in Missouri!

As we continue to track developments along the New Madrid Seismic Zone, a magnitude 4.2 earthquake struck Missouri at a depth of just 5.1 kilometres (km) or 3.2 miles. The quake hit at 08:10:34 UTC Tuesday and was located at 38.121°N, 90.933°W.  According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) the epicentre was 49 km or 30 miles South of Washington, Missouri; 58 km or 36 miles northwest of Farmington, Missouri; 85 km or 52 miles southwest of St. Louis, Missouri; and 120 km or 74 miles southeast of Jefferson City, Missouri. Fortunately, there are no reports of damage at this time.

Here is a summary of the area from the USGS:
This large region borders the much more seismically active New Madrid seismic zone on the seismic zone's north and west. The Illinois basin - Ozark dome region covers parts of Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas and stretches from Indianapolis and St. Louis to Memphis. Moderately frequent earthquakes occur at irregular intervals throughout the region. The largest historical earthquake in the region (magnitude 5.4) damaged southern Illinois in 1968. Moderately damaging earthquakes strike somewhere in the region each decade or two, and smaller earthquakes are felt about once or twice a year. In addition, geologists have found evidence of eight or more prehistoric earthquakes over the last 25,000 years that were much larger than any observed historically in the region. Earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S., although less frequent than in the western U.S., are typically felt over a much broader region. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area as much as ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast. A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt at many places as far as 100 km (60 mi) from where it occurred, and it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake usually can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from where it occurred, and sometimes causes damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi).

PLANETARY TREMORS: Chile Volcano - All Hell Is Breaking Loose!

I am not sure I have ever seen this before in my entire life. The pictures and reports in the following article from the Daily Mail, of the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano in Chile, must surely constitute a point of recognition and realization of our entrance into a new paradigm and the end of all normalcy.

Flames reach up to the heavens as lightning flashes criss-cross the sky. These extraordinary images show the full force of Mother Nature as a Chilean volcano erupts for the first time in 50 years. Ash has been thrown six miles up into the sky and the South American government has ordered the evacuation of thousands of residents.

Winds fanned the ash toward neighbouring Argentina, darkening the sky in the ski resort city of San Carlos de Bariloche, in the centre of the country, and its airport has also been closed.

The eruption in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic chain, about 575 miles south of the capital, Santiago, also prompted authorities to close a busy border crossing into Argentina. It was not immediately clear which of the chain's four volcanoes had erupted because of ash cover and weather conditions. The chain last saw a major eruption in 1960. Local media said the smell of sulphur hung in the air and there was constant seismic activity. 'The Cordon Caulle (volcanic range) has entered an eruptive process, with an explosion resulting in a 10-kilometre-high gas column,' the state emergency office ONEMI said. As a precaution, the government said it was evacuating 3,500 people from the surrounding area. This development is the latest volcanic activity to affect the country.

Three years ago, Chile's Chaiten volcano erupted spectacularly for the first time in thousands of years, spewing molten rock and a vast cloud of ash that reached the stratosphere and was visible from space. It also drifted over neighbouring Argentina, coating towns. Chile's Llaima volcano, one of South America's most active, also erupted that year and again in 2009. Chile's chain of about 2,000 volcanoes is the world's second largest after Indonesia. Some 50 to 60 are on record as having erupted, and 500 are potentially active. It was the latest in a series of volcanic eruptions in Chile in recent years.

Chile's Chaiten volcano erupted spectacularly in 2008 for the first time in thousands of years, spewing molten rock and a vast cloud of ash that reached the stratosphere. The ash also swelled a nearby river and ravaged a nearby town of the same name. The ash cloud from Chaiten coated towns in Argentina and was visible from space. Chile's Llaima volcano, one of South America's most active, erupted in 2008 and 2009. Chile's chain of about 2,000 volcanoes is the world's second largest after Indonesia. Some 50 to 60 are on record as having erupted, and 500 are potentially active.

- Daily Mail.