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Space Weather

18 May 2017

It's the19th of May and we are told at www.spaceweather.com that Earth is the path of a plasma stream emanating from a coronal hole – striking the upper atmosphere today and tomorrow. Auroras are expected in high latitudes.

William also noted this one – on the same website and the same day, 18th of May. A recently published article claims there is such a thing as 'anthropogenic' space weather – separate, I assume, from space weather generated by the solar wind. It is published in Space Science Review (May 2017) which claims that human activity has shaped space around our planet. For example, radio transmissions form a bubble in space which stops strong radiation from reaching the surface of the earth. It should actually, aids in the process of stopping harmful radiation from affecting life on the surface as they have an image of the Van Allen belts, which really do protect us by deflecting cosmic rays etc. This claims is connected to the fact that VLF transmissions stop in the Van Allen Belt – and go no further. Does this mean our magnetosphere is an envelope that keeps thing inside as well as resisting entry from outside? Powerful VLF transmitters have been in existence since before the space age – and therefore before the discovery of the Van Allen belts. It is possible we have never witnessed these radiation belts in their pristine condition, they say – but is this feasible? Are they overstating their case?

   Other anthropogenic effects on space weather are artificial radiation belts caused by nuclear tests in the atmosphere in the 1950s, and apparently, cavities in Earth's magnetotail formed by chemical releases (not the hoary chestnut of ozone depletion surely). A bit of over exaggeration perhaps.

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