How Earth’s Magnetic Field Twists and Buckles During Solar Storms

How Earth’s Magnetic Field Twists and Buckles During Solar Storms


Traveling at the near speed of light, energetic
particles shooting out from the sun can zip through space, smack into our planet’s atmosphere,
and cause incredible disruptions. And one of the biggest impacts we know of happened
during the tail end of the Vietnam War. President Nixon really wanted to pull us out, but wanted
to do it sort of saving face, and decided that the best way to do that was to stop the
flow of war material into North Vietnam. The decision was to mine Haiphong Harbor, and
many of the smaller harbors to the South. This is Delores Knipp, a space weather scientist
and former officer in the US Air Force. She likes digging into dusty archives, and uncovered
a war mystery that’s now connected to a major solar event. Space weather forecasters
had noticed that there was one region on the Sun that appeared to be a little more active
than anticipated. They kept watching it, and then when it came around in late July 1972
on the east limb of the Sun it was already large. It did start producing solar flares,
producing coronal mass ejections but at that time we didn’t have those words. We didn’t
really understand the concept of the Sun actually throwing mass, and magnetic material out.
We had a general sense that something like a plasma cloud was coming at us, but our ideas
were that, “Well, okay it might get here in a couple three days.” As a matter of fact,
it got here in 14.6 hours. Typically, the solar wind is moving at about 400 kilometers
per second, which is supersonic, but very, very tenuous. But this particular event in
1972 traveled at about 2,800 kilometers per second, so seven times faster than the norm,
and carrying tremendous magnetic field, and mass with it. And when that hit, our magnetic
shield virtually buckled. We had no idea that something could come from the Sun that fast.
We were pretty much unprepared. And when it hit earth, those sea mines blew up. Those
mines were what the president was relying on to keep the pressure on in the war. And
suddenly the whole mine field had been swept by nature, by the Sun, by a CME. That created
probably one of the largest solar energetic particle events in recorded history. The naval
observers who were up at the time, it was just past dawn, noted that there were a half-dozen
sea mines that blew within 30 seconds. And they go, “Whoa! Did we do that?” It was a
furious time in terms of the Navy records, trying to figure out what had happened. In
these declassified reports, Delores found just a few lines that had basically said,
“Yes, in August of 1972 “a solar storm swept the sea mines in Haiphong Harbor.” And so
I go, “Oh, it looks like something did happen.” There were and are many impacts that have not been
adequately described. And they’re just now starting to come to light. Our sun is a huge
ball of magnetized gas and plasma, and it’s activity goes through a roughly 11 year cycle. We
know whether we’re in a solar maximum or solar minimum by counting the number of sunspots
on the surface. These spots are indicators for giant eruptions, like solar flares, which
are sudden outbursts of energy and coronal mass ejections, which are even larger but
slower eruptions from the Sun’s corona. They can increase during the sun’s cycle, but
luckily, we have some built in protection. We can think of Earth’s magnetic field as
being kind of a magnetic cocoon that keeps most of the solar winds, magnetic field, and
the plasma outside of Earth’s atmosphere. But when the sun decides to launch a really
big ejection, sometimes the magnetic field has to deform so dramatically that currents
are generated, and those currents can actually flow along the magnetic field lines down to
Earth’s surface. And that’s one of our biggest concerns. If those extra currents are flowing
in the ground, they’re always looking for the path of least resistance. And when they
find a path along a long conducting pipe, or in older times, telegraph wires, or now
in our power grid, they will take that path. We’re starting to understand that these are not
once in a century events. These probably occur more often than we think. We’re in solar
minimum now, we’re kind of relaxed the next solar maximum was forecast to be not too spectacular. The
August ’72 event came out of small sunspot cycles. So we can’t just take the sunspot
count as the, oh, we don’t have to worry about it situation. We actually have to be monitoring
the Sun 24/7. Today at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, we have more eyes on the
sun and better models to help us predict space weather, which is affecting our magnetosphere,
it’s creating the Aurora, it’s also energizing particles and creating radiation environment
that can affect satellites, it affects the ionosphere in those regions and that impacts
airlines that have flights from New York to Beijing. There are several things that are
really important for conducting space weather operations. The first are satellites, which
serve as sentinels out in the abyss. The GOES satellites give you the daily weather
that you see on the news at night. But in addition, the space weather observations
consist of monitoring the energetic particles in Earth’s radiation belt at geosynchronous
orbit. They also monitor the earth’s magnetic field and its variations. There’s solar observations
that are looking at the Sun in x-rays, in extreme ultraviolet to give us information
about activity on the sun. Activity like coronal mass ejections and solar flares, which have
different lead times once they erupt. We classify solar flares here starting with what
we call A. And then we have the B level and then C level and then M’s and then X’s.
And each one of those categories is ten times more intense than the other. The 1972 event
that blew up a bunch of sea mines were connected to X class flares. We have instruments measuring
the intensity of the solar radiation and it appears very quickly in near real time in
front of our forecasters and then they could use that information to provide their warnings
and alerts. The other type of major event is this coronal mass ejection, it’s moving
much slower. Right now we’re using coronagraphs that are on a NASA satellite. It takes as
short as maybe 14 hours for a very fast event…but it can take more normally several days to
reach us. We have a little bit more lead time..to say something about how fast is it
moving? When do we expect it at Earth? How long do we expect it to last?” We’ve got another
satellite that’s entirely outside of earth’s magnetosphere in a location between Earth
and the Sun called the Lagrange point L1. That’s a stable place where both the gravity
and the centrifugal force of the satellite balance out the earth’s gravitational force
and it’s always there as a buoy upstream to give us a warning of what’s coming at Earth. Another
key piece of their operations are models, which are constantly evolving to improve predictions. The
Wang Sheeley Arge Enlil model shows us where there’s high speed solar wind coming at us,
where there’s low speed solar wind coming at us, the density of that solar wind. When
there’s a large eruption on the sun of a coronal mass ejection. The Wang Sheeley Arge Enlil
model.. takes that coronal mass ejection and puts it through that system and then it tells
us what’s going to arrive at Earth. The Geospace model is telling us about magnetic variations
in the vicinity of Earth and those magnetic variations can cause geo electric fields.
Those geo electric fields can drive currents and power lines and disrupt power grids. Models
are only as good as our understanding and models don’t catch everything and there are
times where we have been surprised. There are a lot of features about the sun that we
still don’t understand. We need to be able to model how the Sun’s interior works the
solar atmosphere. We need to be able to monitor active regions of the sun and how they form. There
is a huge concerns at the highest levels in government to be able to better prepare for
a large event to better mitigate the effects. I’m optimistic about all of these new advances
that are coming in and all of these things which are going to contribute to our preparedness
for the things the Sun is throwing at us. It’s a real sense of adventure. It’s like
you can realize that you’re a part of something that is developing. The Sun, it’s so far away
and yet, within a short amount of time, it can have this amazing impact. And it’s not
just oh yeah, the sun warms us up and we have seasons, there’s a lot more going on, and
it’s a very connected system. Even though some of these stories have been hidden these
things have actually happened, and there’s a potential for it to happen again.

100 comments / Add your comment below

  1. That is all Fake News and Sci-fi. The Earth is flat and 4 million years old. LOL. We have so much to learn and evolve. Nature can send us back to the caves in a split of a second. Thanks for the interesting video.

  2. Hurricane hits New Orleans.
    Conservatives: " it's proof god hates homosexuals."
    Tsunami hits Thailand.
    Conservatives: "it's proof god hates muslims."
    CME blows up Nixon's harbor mines.
    Conservatives: crickets

  3. We will all be destroyed before the war on water begins. I honestly thought the deep feeling I had wàs…World war 3 but I've always had a burning deep gut feeling much much worse. Unfortunately I'm only 22 and just turned the age but I fear we have a burning disaster waiting to happen within the next few years.

  4. I always find this kind of stuff fascinating but I'm stuck on the fact they have 2 shortcuts for google chrome on their desktop at 8:55.

  5. It took some time for the footage to come around, the AP photo was first(I didn't read the paper) and then later NBC aired the BBC footage; my dad was a Cronkite fan so we had to wait for the footage to make its way to the CBS nightly news. When I watched the Trang Bang footage in the latter part of June 72 the Vietnam war was effectively over…the flare came around a few weeks later.

  6. Just accept the fact that the sun is electric, just as everything in the universe and your models will be realistic and much better.

    As long as you maintain the debunked dogma of the Standard Model (a gravity centric universe) and stars being nuclear furnaces and detached from each other, you will have misleading models.
    Stars, just as planets in a solar system are ALL connected and act on each other by electromagnetic forces. The Standard Model of a gravity centric universe is DEAD. Give it up.

  7. Tell her not to watch too many body language videos but focus on explaining the task in hand. So obvious and annoying

  8. Now that we have the instruments to detects it, and if we detect one that coming to us, what will we do? The video just talks about on how to detect it, then what?

  9. We watch the sun, but we do not protect the power transformers. Wanna know why? Because it would cost the companies money. Money that they want to pay to investors. Money that they spend to pay politicians to ignore the danger the public. Keep this in mind if the power grid of the US ever goes out for 6-8 months. The Vegas odds suggest we don't have a lot of time before it happens.

  10. At the start of the vid it was said that the particles move at near the speed of light, it turns out that that is 0.93% of the speed of light would you guys define that as “near”?

  11. report about what happened in december 2012. the disaster predictions were true, there was a once in a lifetime enormous solar flare that came our way, it was just 2 weeks too late, so it missed us! but strangely, the media doesn't say boo about it :-

  12. One question
    What would be speed of sound in a neutron star?
    Is is approx equal to the speed of light , as density of neutron star is way high.🤔🧐🧐🧐

  13. How do these particles get from the sun to earth in less than 15 minutes? They're either way faster than speed of light or the sun's closer than they say?

  14. A solar storm “sparked” a Vietnam mystery? But the documents at the time, identify the solar storm as the reason the mines blew?
    So where is the mystery in that?

  15. @ 9:14. Wonder how that will be handled when our magnetic field weakens because of pole reversal (which lasts for hundreds of years), during one of these ejections.

  16. Am I the only one who thinks this is bullshit ? I’m not talking about the solar flares, I mean mines which are sensitive enough to be triggered by a solar flare which were built in the 70s

  17. Is there a master kill-switch on our power generation infrastructures? For if we see a catastrophically large cme coming our way?

  18. If you want to see if we have experienced any major solar flares lately, go to this site: https://tesis.lebedev.ru/en/sun_flares.html
    At that site, you can see that everything is pretty calm right now.

  19. The more we learn about our solar system, the more we understand were in a damn dangerous neighborhood..hope we can come together as a species and find some new space colonies soon before he sun vomits at us again, also I wonder if all this magnetic activity has anything to do with the earths core and magnetic north shifting and also could it possibly cause earthquakes or eruptions On Earth?

  20. I wonder if we could somehow harness this power from the storm solar storms by putting some type of structures at the north and south pole where these ejections are able to enter the atmosphere a lot easier.

  21. Forget about the 1972 event. They're not talking about the 1859 solar event because another one like it could cause most of civilization to shut down for months stopping all food and water ditribution, all electricity, radio, TV, Internet, phone service, gasoline production and distribution. Grocery stores would run out of food and people would kill neighbors to get food and water. NOT a conspiracy theory, there have been TV shows on this by major scientists and networks. No one wants to face it, it's a matter of when and not if. The governments can do more to protect the electrical grids but politics prevents this from happening too.

  22. Like Venus and Mars magnetic field weaken in a pole flip also earth core cooling second law of thermodynamics lots of heat waves

  23. America didn't know that the Vietnamese sent people to the sun to unplug the holes that would allow the coronal mass ejection.

  24. The way she said the Word "concerns," at 4:30 was weird….. mire like "con…CERNS." Betya it is no coinkydink.

  25. 2800 km/s CME. July,1972 the sun said no to the liar president. 2020 what will the sun do with the new liar president? IT'S SHUTTING DOWN

  26. If the pyramids tapped into Earth's electromagnetic field then I wonder what happened during solar flares

  27. Frankly we dont deserve life if people like chanel west coast or kanye west are more popular and appreciated than any scientist or astronomer featured in this video. We spend money on superficial retardedness instead of finding another planet as we intentionally ddestroy our own. I say intentionally because we know were killing it, we know the sun is doing stuff like this yet were just like meh its someone elses problem.
    Im gonna smile watching yall burn. Including myself

  28. You guys really need ti revise the audio on this kind of videos. It is unbearably low gain on the voice part. It is actually soooo annoying! Sounds like she got tings stuffed in her mouth.

  29. So the ancient Egyptians….were correct about worshiping the Sun as God!!! It's an amazing star, our Sun….!!!

  30. Awful background soundtrack — distracting and unnecessary! Nearly drowns out narrative at times during an otherwise very interesting discussion.

  31. I wonder what would this planet will bring to his end but I have an limited vision what would this planet will comes to his end when the war is started in year 3000 that last until 4000 against resurrected saints they released the Devil out on hades the final sign that saints receive god command to finish this planet in one blow we must considered that resurrected saints is an super hybrid immortal being with strength of captain marvel its possible to use their strength by pushing this planet towards into sun with less efforts remember they can enter in wall what call of that ? Materialising and can shifted into ghost and material bodies so it is impossible to caught them I hope our future children will resolved this matter scientists must started to clone hybrid children extremely super genius that can learned in instant good luck my brothers of lord Satan.

  32. Us: goes to war with vietnam
    Sun and trees: haha no
    Us: mass construction of oil rigs and whaling boats
    Ice caps: haha no
    Us: creates coal mines, continues to go to war over oil
    Nature: am I a joke to you?

  33. I’m not the sharpest shed in the knife, but I’m almost positive that 400 KHm/sec is approximately a shit ton faster than supersonic… maybe I’m mistaken.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *