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SPACE WEATHER WOMAN

The Sun is Crushing It

Dear <<First Name>>,

It has been a while since we have seen the Sun rapid-fire solar storms at Earth, but here we go again! A fast-growing X-flare player, region 3078, has managed not only to keep us on our toes, but to launch no less than six partially Earth-directed solar storms in just the past several days. Of course, the media has adopted the tired terminology, namely, "cannibal CMEs" (thank you Tony Phillips of SpaceWeather.com), but to be honest, this is a total misnomer. Although these solar storms are being launched in rapid succession, the idea that they are eating one another is just silly. In actuality, they arent even merging into a single, larger storm. Rather, they are "crushing" into one another, which means they are forming a long chain of compressed storms. Even the picture above shows the six storms that will hit us are not merging into one big storm. The NASA prediction model (shown in the bottom right of the image with the white background) shows the first storm hitting early on August 17 (yes, it is hitting now as I write this) and the NOAA model (shown larger, with the blue background) has the other five hitting early on the 18th through the 19th. 

Sadly, the media will likely continue to spread the idea that these solar storms are cannibals. I am sure it makes for effective click-bait. All we can do is shake our heads and hope such language does not cause the public to become even more fearful that these solar storms might somehow cannibalize Earth itself.

As we turn to the forecast, I decided it was better to do an in-depth and informal, live briefing this week than to do a formal forecast on this complicated set of solar storms. This way I could focus my attention on alleviating fears that they present any real threat to Earth. Even with the current NOAA/SWPC G3-level storm watch ongoing through August 18, these storms should be looked upon as a wonderful opportunity to catch aurora down to mid-latitudes, not a harbinger of doom. In the worst case, they will disrupt amateur radio and GPS reception, put the power utility companies on alert, and possibly delay the upcoming Artemis launch (currently scheduled for August 19). But even if these storms ultimately fizzle, no doubt the Sun is crushing it this week.

Cheers,
Tamitha
 

Incoming Solar Storm Crush | Informal Live Space Weather Briefing 08.16.2022

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