Posted tagged ‘SOHO’

Lunar Standstill: Returning to the Cradle of Civilization

September 27, 2015

Full Moon Perigee—Eclipse @ Moment of Moonrise—California PDTime—Four Nights of Light

Earth and Moon in Eclipse–rarer than 18.6-year wobble at Standstill—courtesy SOHO

Earth and Moon in Eclipse–rarer than 18.6-year wobble at Standstill—courtesy SOHO

When the Ancients calculated ahead in time to the most spectacular tracking through the Heavens visible to the ‘greatest number of peoples of Earth’, it was foretold, we should all become visionaries. 2012 received much kudos and focus, but what if the Maya Long Count Calendar were three years out? What if the Egyptian and Assyrian and Indo-Arctic peoples were right, after all?

Tonight’s the Night, Josephine
Tonight it all comes into coalescence:
In North America at least, because of wide television and media publicity, a huge surge of population will raise their eyes to view the ‘closest blood moon’ to come our way. Actually, media moguls are only partially right: it is the closest to Earth—perigee—in the moon’s orbit round us for this year, but it is also the closest—cosmically—in breaking time-space barriers that will come our way once in a long time.* Tonight’s full moon—appearing most spectacularly in California at her stage entrance in the east, as she enters total eclipse AND as the sun is setting due west–is the crux of the 2015 Minor Lunar Standstill.

Now and over four nights the Harvest Moon will appear to rise and set at roughly the same place—and within moments of the same hour—on our east horizon, setting due west at dawn—in concert with sunrise— under identical conditions. Tonight’s total eclipse is a bonus of the Standstill.**

Closeness to Earth may appear to add vibration to her brightness.

Full equinoctial Standstill Moon Eclipse at moment totality breached, Sept. 27/28, 2015, courtesy Gail Slaughter

Full equinoctial Standstill Moon Eclipse at moment totality breached, Sept. 27/28, 2015, courtesy Gail Slaughter

As for the tides, wow. Similar extremes: as high as seven feet; then ultra lows less than the ‘normal ‘six hours apart. Even the fishermen are confused. But abalone love moonlight.
*PDT Moon enters eclipse at Moonrise 7:11p.m. exits totality after approx. one hour, 8:11p.m. or: enters totality beginning at 10:11 p.m. EDT, ends at 11:24 p.m. EDT.

Ancient Man thought the Moon had come to a nineteen-year cyclical Standstill. Its so-called wobble created an enormous spread of cultural carvings in stone throughout the Neolithic world.

Are we any wiser for our anthropocine leap through time?

Twenty thousand years ago—18,000 B.C.—myth and legend were one. Man looked to the heavens for guidance and to check the weather, and then went out and found another flesh-eating animal to kill and cook on the sacred fire embers.

We may believe civilization has evolved way beyond that amygdalian impetus, but in the opinion of Maya calendrical scholar and astronomy buff, John Major Jenkins, we have barely scratched the surface of ‘civilization’.


Shifing aurora borealis erupt over Anchorage AK 9/19/15 at height of CME storm

Shifing aurora borealis erupt over Anchorage AK 9/19/15 at height of CME storm

Current notions about cultural evolution refers to a type of social Darwinism in which human society today is supposed to be hierarchically more refined and advanced in every essential way than our grunting? dirty, cave dwelling, ‘primitive’ Neolithic ancestors. This view is naïve; compare life in a typical Third World urban slum of today with the cosmopolitan city dwellers of Alexandria 2,000 years ago. Technology and science is not the barometer of cultural sophistication. Social Darwinism has entered the realm of cliché, although still to a surprising degree it holds currency in the underlying assumptions of many people, including scholars—John Major Jenkins on preface to Hamlet’s Mill de Santillana & von Dechend 1969

Heavenly intervention—in the form of repeat eclipses—is an aspect of Metonic cycle that has always intrigued.

As the sun, moon and earth return to the same relative positions, the pattern of eclipses of moon and earth repeats every nineteen years. A six-hour difference in the lunar draconic cycle, however, is enough to throw the eclipse repeatability out of kilter, but up to four eclipses may repeat around the same dates nineteen years apart, before this happens.

Lunar standstill calendar, NatiMuseum of American Indian, Washington DC

Lunar standstill calendar, NatiMuseum of American Indian, Washington DC

June—too soon
July—stand by
August—come it must
October—all over
Hurricane ‘creation’ rhyme, Bahamas 1940s, now outdated, outclassed by year-round storms

ANCIENT OF DAYS—AUTUMN EQUINOX 2015—Repeating the Cosmic Loop—Eclipse, Standstill Harvest Lunar Wobble

Four dominant periods* are 18.6 years—the precession period of the lunar orbit— and 182.6 days or half a year; 13.7 days or half a month, and 9.3 years—the rotation period of the moon’s return to perigee.

The primary nutation of 18.6 years drives two other observational cycles:
the Saros cycle (18 years, 11 days) and
the Metonic Cycle (19 years)

2015 Eclipse Solar Lunar Cycles replicate Ancient Egyptian Astronomy
The great Zodiac of Dendera at Luxor, established during Roman rule 50B.C. and superimposed on the archaic Egyptian temple to Hathor, celebrated the wobbling moon.

The cause of this weird wobble cycle is the precession of the lunar orbit around us, on Earth.

Photographed from ISS: our galaxy, our planet, our moon in eclipse—surrounded by AIRGLOW

Photographed from ISS: our galaxy, our planet, our moon in eclipse—surrounded by AIRGLOW

The Sun’s gravitational pull also brings about a precession of the Moon’s orbital axis, within a period of 18.6 years. Precession advances locations at points where the moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic—at the nodes.

Maximum moonrise and moonset invariably repeat every nineteen years.

Literally, after exactly nineteen solar years the sun will return to the same position relative to the stars—our view of the heavens—and the moon will have nearly the same phase—with a two-hour difference in its cycle.

Significantly, repeat eclipses will occur on the new or full moon nearest to the sun’s passing through one of the nodes.

Sun + Moon conjunct astral nodes. Ancient eclipse prediction practice returns equinox 2015 to surprise skywatchers

Sun + Moon conjunct astral nodes. Ancient eclipse prediction practice returns equinox 2015 to surprise skywatchers

This sacred numeric calculation was much appreciated by the Egyptians, followed by the Greeks, Carthaginians and all early northern peoples, including pre-Celtic Arctic nations. As the dates of the new moon, full moon, would repeat every nineteen years, it naturally fell within cultural knowledge of the privileged. It became ‘mystery schools‘ fodder.

For any given solar calendar date, full Moon events will replicate every nineteen years.

This creates a cyclic loop back to pre-Celtic mythic nineteen Priestesses of Bridget/Brigantia. Each of these individual priestesses represented a character or experience associated with nineteen components of the Great Lunar Year. This relationship creates an excellent basis for cyclic pattern divinations.

*Lunar Standstills
Because of the 5.1 degree tilt of the moon’s orbit with respect to the ecliptic, the moon may be anywhere within 5.1 degrees above or below the ecliptic. During major standstills the moon reaches a declination of 23.5 plus 5.1 degrees or 28.6 degrees; major standstills occur every 18.6 years. At minor standstill the greatest declination that the moon reaches is 23.5 minus 5.1 degrees or 18.4 degrees.

Antikythera—Ancient Astronomical Prediction Device

Antikythera 2000-year old Greek analog computer geared to predict astronomical positions of sun, moon, major planets and constellations. Eclipses were used for calendrical and astrological divination for the Olympiads, 86B.C.

Antikythera 2000-year old Greek analog computer geared to predict astronomical positions of sun, moon, major planets and constellations. Eclipses were used for calendrical and astrological divination for the Olympiads, 86B.C.

This means that every 18.6 years, the rising or setting Moon reaches a northern extreme in rising and setting azimuth at summer solstice, and a southern extreme at winter solstice. These are called major standstills. While such standstills can in principle be determined using horizon observations, as with the summer solstice Sun the Moon’s year-to-year angular displacement along the horizon at summer solstice is very small near standstill. It should be noted that 18.6 years is measured from the point of view of the lunar orbit. Observationally, from the Earth’s surface, the length of time between two major standstills is not 18.6 years: it switches back and forth between 18.5 and nineteen years, with 18.6 years a modern observational average.

Post Scriptum In Death We are in Life The Hajj Stampede
It is with regret that we observe the panic-related crush of death which came this week in Thursday’s New Moon pilgrimage—Hajj—to the Saudi shrine of Shrines. Ancient texts note death and life are one. Yet our condolences nonetheless.

Hilal [waxing lunar crescent]—First ‘New Moon’ Sighting sends Seven Hundred to their Death

Hajj—pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia—annually calculated to fall on waxing lunar cycle

Hajj—pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia—annually calculated to fall on waxing lunar cycle

2015’s Hajj—Pilgrimage of self-denial after month of fasting during Ramadan. Many believers were delirious with joy, even at the concept of being within sight of the shrine, staggering to follow fellow devotees in the sacred circumambulation of their faith’s most hallowed Mosque. Yesterday’s unfortunate panic—two fully locomotive swirling streams of humanity colliding at an intersection in the holy city—crushed and killed 736, leaving for dead thousands of adherents and lost family members in an Arab/Persian/Islamic nightmare.

With life so precious, may we all enjoy the miraculous Antikythera provided by the Heavens tonight and for the next few…
With gratitude
©2015Siderealview ©Marian Youngblood
Equinox 2015

Solar Plasma: Our Seismic Sound & Fury

March 16, 2011

How could a tone become a picture and light become a noise? Carl Sagan

Solar X-class flare October 2003--Honshu 7.0magnitude quake occurred two days later

No-one watching film footage from last Friday’s horrific 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Honshu–and in other sensitive areas of seismic activity in the Pacific–can fail to feel compassion for those affected by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and resulting tsunamis. Japan’s death toll is currently around 10,000. Now Honshu’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is in critical condition, with comparisons being made with Chernobyl (25 years ago, April 1986) and Windscale (“Sellafield“, October 1957). Other quakes are being felt in Tonga, Fiji and the Gulf of California.

Hawaii’s Kilauea erupted March 7th-11th, with subsequent quakes this week within a substratum of fissures in the Volcanic Park at the SE corner of “Big” island in the Hawaiian chain. As Kilauea has been active since 1983, little attention worldwide has been paid to this most recent activity–except by HVO who monitor constantly. Kilauea’s main eruption happened Wednesday 09-03-11.

While praying that the critical situation in Daiichi nuclear power plant will be averted, this blog wishes to reflect the supreme human effort being made to focus on what is important for Mankind, despite/because of what is happening in the active region known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.

We are beginning to realize that these seismic surprises are not isolated incidents and that they are a response to movement of the Earth’s crust and tectonic plates (lithosphere). If we do not gear ourselves up–and act as one human movement planet-wide–we may not survive the next onslaught. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that planetary emergency measures have already begun. Charities, relief agencies and US Military have pulled together to bring help to the stricken areas.

A similar response occurred after the Haiti 7.0 earthquake one year ago when over 200,000 people lost their lives. Now relief agencies are having to share resources and the Caribbean island’s restructure efforts are being put on hold, while rescue agencies and life-support groups are flown to Pacific Rim areas instead.

Pacific Rim Landfall where tsunami ripples from Friday's 8.9 magnitude earthquake reached, in hours

While quake-derived tsunami off Tokyo and Sendai, Japan resulted in the loss of life and a way of living which is locally deeply mourned, it is crucial to maintain awareness of its significance on a planetary level.

The Honshu tsunami rippled across the Pacific pond in under 12 hours, causing havoc in Hawaii, Chile, Central America and the US Northwest Pacific coastal cities of Santa Cruz, Mendocino, Eureka and Crescent City. Here rare bird colonies were wiped out, whales and shoals of sardines beached.

Meantime, New Zealand communities of Canterbury and Christchurch are still cleaning up after the February 21st 6.3-magnitude quake three miles deep in the Heathcote Valley which claimed the lives of 166 people. It does not bear thinking that one year previously the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti brought a deathtoll of 230,000. Phuket island in Thailand is only now recovering from the 9.1 magnitude quake and tidal wave of December 26, 2004 which killed 168,000 people.

There has been world response.

Somehow, despite media overkill–and possibly because of the nuclear threat– oil stocks plunged on Wall Street and individuals and environmental agencies are asking for a different response: a simpler energy solution; a cleaner way of life–pedal-power, electric/solar vehicles. This time it is possible they may be heard. It has been suggested that, as the Nipponese automobile industry will have to start from scratch, it may surprise the world in manufacturing solar-powered vehicles.

We are now four years into the new Solar Cycle #24 of waxing solar (emission) activity, with powerup to solar maximum next year, 2012. For over 150 years scientists have been able telescopically to view the sun’s surface to witness the rise and fall of sunspot cycles.

Effect of electromagnetically charged solar flare on man-made satellites and the geomagnetic sphere

“Each cycle lasts about 11 years, and in-step with this, many other cycles keep a rough cadence. Northern and Southern Lights (aurora) are more common during sunspot maximum than minimum. Titanic solar flares–brighter than a million hydrogen explosions–come and go with each cycle. But on a darker side, solar flares can kill, electrically-charged plasma can cause blackouts, and satellites can literally be forced out of the sky” Dr Sten Odenwald, Author of ‘Learning to Live with a Stormy Star‘ (Columbia Univ. Press, 2000)

Because the date 2012 has received much publicity–both positive (Mayan Long Count calendar culmination) and negative (Apocalypse End Times)– Many are aware of ‘something’ pending, hanging over us all as a species and, for the first time in a long time–an Age– we are beginnning to think as One.

We are also thinking quicker. Time–along with our learning curve–appears to be speeding up, too.

It is even possible that, with the current seismic catalyst, we are becoming, what Nikolai Kardashev via Michio Kaku calls a Level One Civilization.

Nikolai Semenovich Kardashev (Никола́й Семёнович Кардашёв) (b.1932) is a Russian astrophysicist, and director of the Russian Space Research Institute (Institute for Cosmic Research) at Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. He is author of the (1964) paper in Soviet Astronomy “Transmission of Information by Extraterrestrial Civilizations”. He devised a scale of three categories by which a civilization is classified by the amount of usable energy it has at its disposal–plus a degree of space colonization. Others have added two higher categories.

Kardashev Type I
civilization is one able to harness all the power available on its (single) planet. The implication is that in so doing, it is able to function as ‘one’ and therefore to have mastered the supreme mark of a self-realized group: peaceful interaction.

Kardashev Type II civilization is able to harness all power available from its star.

Kardashev Type III civilization can harness all the power in a single galaxy. With the power of an entire galaxy at its disposal, a type III civilization would be able to come up with radical new power sources.

By extrapolation, a Kardashev Type IV civilization would have access to the power of an entire galactic supercluster. Kardashev Type V would be a civilization that occupies the entire universe.

Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist at New York’s City University, instigator of the Big Think discussion thinktank, and author of ‘Physics of the Future‘, released this week, suggests that, even with the Pacific crisis in full flow (and eliciting world humanitarian response), the Earth is as yet not a Category One civilization.

Carl Sagan estimated that Earth qualifies as a Type 0.7 civilization. Before he died in 1996, however–and in spite of his agnostic view–he had hopes that we might overcome our aversion to living in harmony–or rather, to lay down our weapons of war, and interact peacefully with one another. “Decency,” he said (and humility and community spirit) “in this demon-haunted world may be all that stands between us and the enveloping darkness.”

In all of the four-billion-year history of life on our planet, in all of the four-million-year history of the human family, there is only one generation privileged to live through that unique transitional moment. That generation is ours.”
Carl Sagan

This month the pragmatic scientists are having a field day. Geologists continue to profess that a connection between electromagnetic surges in solar plasma and seismic volatility within the earth’s core is “geologically implausible”.

Last month it was the turn of the theoretical and spiritual physicists–those, like Leonard Susskind and Richard Feynmann, who developed M-theory, or TOE, the Theory of Everything–a string-theory derivative that excites astrophysicists and biochemists alike.

In this [TOE] field of quantum physics, consciousness is viewed as a unified field where everything is seen as everything else. There are no boundaries. No ‘you’ and ‘me’; no ‘this’ or ‘that’. Only a field of awareness–consciousness. It has been suggested that we switch our perception from genetics to energetics: and that we recognize our bodies (and the planet) as energy vibrating at a very dense frequency.

This shift in perception creates a different way of viewing ourselves in the 3D/4D space-time continuum.

Correlation between crop circles and sound

ALBERT EINSTEIN: “Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.”

Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.”
Richard Feynman

It can only be a matter of time before the geologists will change their tune and realize that–if all is energy and the Sun, our parent star, an increasingly explosive mass of plasma/energy–its hurling great gobs of electromagnetic pulses in our direction is almost bound to affect us, its tiny magnetically-powered offspring, in countless ways. Causing massive rifts in the earth’s crust will be seen as only one of those myriad effects.

As a child at the 1939 New York’s World’s Fair (his revelation, at top), Carl Sagan’s own world was turned upside-down by a vision of graphs and sonic tones replicated in scientific instrumentation. Nowadays we take such intra-dimensional expression for granted. Pie charts are only a flick of the wrist away from spectrographs which reveal the magnetic cores of extra-solar planets, hurtling comets or the mystic music emitted by Neptune.

Our generation has learned that the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum–from radio waves through microwaves, infra-red, visible light, ultra-violet light, to x-rays and gamma rays– are all massless particles (photons) of the universal energy known as electromagnetic radiation, or simply Light. Light waves are fluctuations of electric and magnetic energy through space, usually expressed (by humans) in wavelength or frequency.

Sound is also measured in wavelength and frequency, with two major differences: sound (at the lowest end of the spectrum) travels at 1100ft per second; light (“C”, as expressed in E=MC2) at the high end, at 186,000mps. And while sound can travel through dense matter/objects, light cannot. The denser the material, the slower it travels, e.g. light travels around one-third more slowly through water than through air and space.


“Angels of Biblical metaphor were equated with song and the Word of God. Acoustical pressure is the only real difference between instantaneous light waves and slower material existence.” Brendan Bombaci

All faiths use sound to reach the Supreme. The early Christian church was no exception in trying to reach God through harmonies expressed within the sacred geometric environs of cathedrals. Their hallowed vaults were from earliest times designed to uplift both the supplicant and the surrounding community. Gregorian chant is the only version of this sacred music left to us. The rest of what was the Solfeggio–Sol-Fa– system of tuning into sacred tones is considered ‘lost’. Musical convention has since 1953 altered ‘concert pitch’ [A=432Hertz] to the more strident and dissonant A=440, agreed by the International Standards Orgaization (ISO) based on a previous recommendation by Joseph Goebbels in 1939. It is now the accepted standard pitch for orchestras, bands and individual instruments.

Sound as Image: the frequency of 432Hz and its trangular form

Basically, there are six Holy frequencies, the ‘original sacred tones’, called the Solfeggio.

Do 396HZ ‘Liberates guilt and fear’-–associated with releasing emotional patterns.
Re 417Hz ‘Undoing situations, facilitating change’-– breaks up crystallized emotional patterns.
Mi 528 Hz DNA Repair, ‘connecting all the strands’-–related to transformation and miracles.
Fa 639 Hz ‘connecting/relationships’-–whole brain quadrant interconnectedness.
Sol 741Hz ‘Awakening intuition’-–associated with intuitive states, non-linear knowing.
La 852Hz ‘Return to the Spiritual Order’-–a pure love frequency: unconditional love and return to spiritual order.
Doctor of Divinity David Hulse, founder of SomaEnergetics is reintroducing original sacred tones to help heal people’s lives. He believes that “ancient Solfeggio contains frequencies that can start everyone’s ascension process”.

“The body is held together by sound—the presence of disease indicates that some sounds have gone out of tune.”
Deepak Chopra

An in-depth (and exciting intellectual) treatise by Brendan Bombaci on the ancient connections between sacred geometry, music, the Sun and our archaic weights and measures system can be pondered here.

Others, from Galileo to Hans Jenny, studied Cymatics: wave patterns converted into a visual display of sound. John Stuart Reid in Britain and Jack Kassewitz in the USA together developed the Cymascope, originally to record patterns made by whales and other cetaceans in song. Their work shows remarkable correlation between patterns created by different tones in grains of sand and those designs of exquisite complexity in crop circles.

John Reid says:
“432 Hertz pops out as a triangle every time we image it.
We thought there was something wrong with the CymaScope™ but after trying for more than an hour we concluded that the number three was somehow universally connected to 432 Hertz.

“We captured it on video and it looks like it’s alive. It writhes and pulsates and refuses to take up any other form. We researched the reason why it takes up this geometry and it turns out to be an interesting case: when A is tuned to 432Hz the frequencies of the other A (octaves) shift (within a decimal point) to 27 Hz, 54, 108, 216, 864, 1728 in other octaves – all divisible by three. And the higher the frequency, the greater the geometric intricacy.

“D tuned to 576 Hz becomes 9 Hz, 18, 36, 72, 144, 288, 1152 in other octaves. E becomes 324 Hz which becomes 81 Hz, 162, 648, 1296 in other octaves. All of these frequencies are divisible by three: the cosmic triangle.”

Translated into mathematics, 432hz vibrates at the frequency of the golden mean PHI. As a Fibonacci sequence, it unifies the properties of light, time, space, matter, gravity and magnetism with biology, the DNA code and consciousness.


“There is no doubt that our present worldview is undergoing tumultuous change, and at such times, the collective unconscious of humanity reaches out for guidance. Because our thoughts are electromagnetic pulses which transcend time and space, it is possible that our request has been received, and information is manifesting in fields around the world.” Freddy Silva

The crop circle phenomenon is a product of both light and sound–both media have been witnessed by reliable sources–as light orbs and sonic high-pitched hum during their formation.

Silva’s is the enlightened ‘croppie’ view. He is among several renowned thinkers (including Kiesha Crowther) who will speak at this summer’s Prophets Conference in Glastonbury July 1-8, 2011. His view reflects that of a growing number who believe that annually recurring patterns in the English countryside and other summer pastures around the globe are created by a vibrational source that we do not yet quite comprehend.

Understanding is on the tip of our tongues, the edge of our minds. We are pushing the boundaries of higher dimensions and those dimensions are letting us in.

Progressively, in recent years, complex mathematical and geometric patterns have evolved which are more than the variable graphic produced by random cymatics. They contain an expression of our own maturing consciousness. They show intelligence at a deep resonating level which responds to an expression of our own deep need for connection to that Universal Intelligent Source.

We are getting answers.

Do we–the human race pushing our way through the cosmic birth canal to Level I–remember the question?

11:II:11 Navigating the Vortex: our Quantum Leap

February 12, 2011

Vortex, maelström, whirlpool: Nature's basic mechanism for transporting mass and energy effectively

“Nature seems to be a Book written in the Language of Mathematics” Galileo (1564-1642)

As communicators, we bloggers may sometimes feel we have been speaking but the words are not coming from inside our bodies. The words have been coming from somewhere else…

“For several months, we have been moving forward and are being released in small increments. We are in the birth canal –the tunnel– and in that space it is near impossible to ‘see’ anything. We feel we are not connected to anything. Alone in the tunnel, we have been traveling on a raft with no wind behind us, no oars and in still waters, with no-one to left or right. But now we are moving forward and this new movement is creating the strange feeling of being in two places at once.” Karen Bishop Emerging Earth Angels

Lightworker Karen Bishop suggests that the sensation of being lost, disconnected and alone will pass as humanity moves through this intermediary stage and into the great mass awakening to follow. This new sensation of bliss and purpose comes as soon as we “are enmeshed in our new spaces in a higher dimension.”

Schrödinger's Cat: quantum uncertainty principle (1935) reduced to the absurd

Higher dimensions, Alternate Reality, parallel Universes; the quantum paradox of ‘many worlds’: an unending conundrum of being in two places at the same time. Particle physicists pursuing the ‘God’ particle, Higgs-Boson, endlessly around circular underground tunnels on two continents. What do these concepts have in common?

Uncertainty principle: math simplifies quantum reality

Higher dimensions –or alternate ones– are presently the preoccupation of particle physicists, quantum cosmologists and proponents of the holographic universe in our search for the meaning of Reality. Physics, cosmology and mathematics are crossing the boundaries between science and philosophy.

New Age lightworkers are becoming more assured and vocal in their prediction of a mass awakening in human consciousness. And it looks as if science is beginning to agree.

Max Tegmark, astrophysicist, cosmologist and professor in the physics faculty at MIT in Cambridge, Mass likes the idea of parallel universes: the quantum mechanics (QM) paradox of a particle’s ability to be in two places at the same time. He sees mathematics as our ultimate connection to reality. “Math is not something we invented, but something we are continually rediscovering.”

“We now have equations that describe how light behaves, how gravity behaves, how atoms behave. We can express the speed of light in mathematical terms. It is beautiful. In math we capture the essence of a very complicated Universe out there.”

What if we were to see the Universe not as an entity that exists inside space and time, but that space and time exist inside it?Max Tegmark, Prof. of Physics, MIT

Anton Zeilinger, author of Dance of the Photons 2005, translated into German as Einsteins Spuk, ‘Einstein’s Spook’ or ‘Ghost’, has a different view. He currently heads a team at the University of Vienna who have ‘teleported’ light photons 600 meters under the river Danube. He and his Austrian team of photon-busters have proved (in their ‘double-slit’ particle experiment) a basic quantum theory that we change the nature of reality simply by observing it.

“(Quantum Theory of Reality) is exciting, it is extremely precise, it is mathematically beautiful; and it describes everything. It just doesn’t make sense.” Anton Zeilinger

Quantum cosmologist, Leonard Susskind, professor of theoretical physics at Stanford University since 1979, says the beauty of math’s connection to reality is its simplicity. It becomes easier to describe reality with mathematics. “As you probe deeper, mathematics becomes the ONLY reality.”

But in sounding the depths of the cosmos, he uncovered many unanswered questions, e.g., the popular assignment of black holes as the bad guys of the Universe. He and Stephen Hawking discussed the black hole theory in 1988 when Hawking first published his Brief History of Time. “It changed my life.”

” I believed he was wrong. I spent the next 20 years working through the evidence to prove lt.”

Hawking suggested black holes were places in the cosmos which swallowed everything. Nothing escapes after it has breached the rim — event horizon — of a black hole. All light, matter, energy, information is sucked in by its (theoretical) huge gravitational pull and is lost. Nothing comes back out.

“Hawking had to be wrong. I refused to believe everything could disappear. We can’t allow information to be ‘lost’. Instead, how about if the horizon of a back hole is 3D like a hologram capturing 3D reality of everything that falls into it?”

In 1993 he and his graduate students announced their holographic principle of the Universe: that if all reality were indeed a hologram — a 3D model of everything captured as an image of our reality — maybe black holes were images of events taking place very far away: back in time; that our reality is a projection of a holographic record stored at the outer reaches of the Universe. The team became bold. They called a consortium of the world’s top physicists to a conference at Stanford in November 2009 and Susskind invited Stephen Hawking to speak. By then, Hawking was talking about ‘sideways’ or lateral time. But he was interested in Susskind’s holographic theory. And Susskind’s team was about to put it to the test.

“He didn’t get it. You don’t get it. Nobody gets it. But we may be about to prove that the whole of creation is a hologram.”

If the Stanford team is right, their model brings quantum cosmology, the ‘Many Worlds’ interpretation and New Age spiritualism into the same arena: We are what we believe, what we think and how we see our own Reality.

Or even more spiritual in concept, that Susskind’s ‘something stored at the outer reaches of the Universe’ might be the Intelligent Being/Source from whom mystics and devotees seek enlightenment.

Does this mean that the Cosmos is coming full circle?

We are having an intelligent conversation with the Universe.

The Universe may be providing its own answer to the question.

The Sun and solar system gravitate each year to and from Galactic center (of the Milky Way), coming closest in mid-December. It is a point on the ecliptic roughly in the constellation of Sagittarius from which (in the view of many esoteric disciplines and world religions) we emerged in the dark recesses at the beginning of time. In the view of some (physicists, cosmologists) Galactic Center is a black hole. To others (esoteric/New Age science), it is the source of a massive emission of photons, beaming information towards us, a ‘photon belt’ affecting Earth and human DNA. And we are circling in an irrevocable spiral back towards the point where on December 21, 2012 Earth’s orbit in the Solar System, the Sun’s position on the ecliptic and the center of our Galaxy will line up as one.

We may reach this galactic vortex unscathed. In the mythology of the Maya, this is Hunab Ku, our galactic heart; a sign that the Mayan Long Count Calendar is complete and that Mankind will start a new Count of Time.

In world mythology, earth was ground out from the mill of the Vortex, the great Maelström, the cosmic whirlpool. And so, in the eyes of the Maya at least, we are returning to that vortex, that pool of creation.

According to some Mayan scholars, we entered the last Underworld (phase of human evolutionary Consciousness), the Universal Underworld yesterday.

In the eyes of Karen Bishop and other New Age lightworkers who have been working tirelessly to prepare for the ‘Shift’ (in human consciousness), the runup to our rendezvous with the heart of our Galaxy is a sign of our Ascension, ‘coming home’, maturing as a species. To the fearful, solstice 2012 could mean chaos, collapse of Earth systems, erratic solar and stellar behavior; even a physical shift in earth’s poles.

The Sun, our partner up there in the immediate galactic neighborhood, has indeed been leading us a dance lately. Solar activity is on the increase.

Tiny solar burst crop circle in rice at Magelang, Java January 29th, 2011

We are currently headed for solar maximum, but it’s not sunspots –traditionally seen as the barometer for solar minima and maxima— that have featured, but strong warnings of solar flares disturbing our geomagnetic field.

NOAA’s solar X-ray alert system [view sidebar at right] has been signaling ‘major storm’, ‘active’. Twin crop circles* in Java in late January were followed by a third small design reminiscent of last season’s Wiltshire solar flare warnings.

Spaceweather alert.

And last weekend the Sun itself joined the 3D holographic universe.

Last Sunday, dubbed Superbowl SUNday by NASA and the media, February 6th 2011 marked the day when the space agency’s twin STEREO satellites locked into orbit round the sun and started projecting 3D pictures of both sides of the sun back to Earth.

Affectionately known as STEREOAhead and STEREOBehind, the craft were launched in 2006 on a mission to study solar flares [coronal mass ejections, CMEs] to predict solar storms headed towards earth. The two craft reached their final position [in ‘opposition’ to each other, 180ºdegrees apart] so NASA, SOHO, and SDA are now combined to beam a wholistic continuous view of the sun back to earthbound systems.

“We expect great advances in theoretical solar physics and space weather forecasting.”

Heliophiles are jumping for joy. The 3D stereo images arrived just in time to document new coronal holes forming on the sun’s far side, which are heading to face towards us.

STEREO went into orbit round the SUN last Superbowl SUNday

STEREO is an acronym for Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory. The two satellites now join forces with SOHO [NASA’s Solar & Heliospheric Observatory] which has carried the load of solar projections to date.

“In the past an active sunspot could emerge on the far side of the sun completely hidden from Earth. Then, the sun’s rotation would turn that region towards our planet, spitting flares and clouds of plasma, with little warning.”

Now, in the runup to solar maximum, 2012, these first 3D stereo images bring into focus our need to prepare for possible solar disruption to the geomagnetic field and earth’s electromagnetically-powered systems.

Coronal Holes, imaged from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory

Coronal holes on the sun’s surface are the source of open magnetic field lines from which high-speed solar wind particles stream out into space. This fast solar wind travels at approximately 800 km/s [about 1.8 million mph].

When this surge reaches Earth’s magnetosphere, predictably three or four days later, some spectacular fireworks can occur. Usually the spaceweather team tries not to alarm earth populations more than they really have to. So electromagnetic disruptions to power supplies and weather systems are downplayed. Aurora borealis –northern lights– are emphasized instead.

UV image of same solar holes: coronal flares heading earthwards

“After traveling through space for a few days the particles will impact the Earth and may spark the formation of some auroral activity for lucky spectators” NASA

In NASA’s study ‘of the nature of coronal mass ejections’ the agency is not responsible for reporting on physical repercussions strong emissions [M-class flares] may have on communications, logistical and transportation systems. There are three categories of flares, X-class, M-class and C-class. C-class flares are small, with few noticeable consequences in the geomagnetic field. M-class flares are medium-sized, capable of causing brief radio blackouts, affecting Earth’s polar regions. Minor radiation storms sometimes follow an M-class flare. The largest, X-class, flares are ‘Superstorms’, major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. Earth’s last major Superstorm blackout was the Carrington Event of 1859 when telegraph systems behaved erratically. But at the time the electric light had not yet been invented. **

150 years later our systems are massively dependent on NOT having magnetic surges play havoc with our electrical supply. Not to mention our telephone, television, cells, blackberries, macBooks, iPods, iPads… you get the picture.

So, is our Universe shaking its quantum hologram fist in our faces and saying ‘shape up or else…’? [In that context, we, reflections of the Intelligent Source, may be setting ourselves the test to see if we are ‘intelligent’/evolved enough to pass it].

Maelström, vortex of the Norwegian Sea

Or, is the vortex going to win? Is the black hole going to pull us in? Are we navigating the cosmic whirlpool alone with no-one to save us from drowning?

Mythology and spiritual belief predict Mankind has enough presence of mind to make a quantum leap in consciousness, to save itself. History says it’s never too late to start anew. Native American and Maya traditions say now is a good time.

I hope we’re listening.

©2011 Marian Youngblood

*more on the January Java crop circles here.
**Two days after this blog was posted, the Sun issued a “Valentine’s Day” X-class flare. There have been several large flares since then, along with some disturbing volcanic eruptions. Siderealview apologies for any suggestive content within this blog. No harm was intended.
MY 03/10/11

The Plasma Universe: our Electric Connection

January 24, 2011

Gods wielding Thunderbolts: not imaginary mythological tales but formative Earth's memory of her violent past

Plasma braids:
“Thunderbolt that steers the Universe”

Heraclitus, 5th Century B.C.

Our galaxy is not void.

For years we were taught traditional theory of our Universe as ‘space’, a vacuum, inert, orderly with few surprises. It was forever expanding outward from a point of primeval Big Bang, controlled and geared by gravity (the weakest celestial force), full of black holes, with anomalous behavior in comets, meteorites and exploding galaxies explained as the work of anti-matter, ‘dark’ matter or, as in nuclear physics, attributed to ‘unknown’ factors such as quarks, charm, CERN‘s conjectural Higgs-Boson particle or the existence of the ‘weak force’, anti-gravity or String Theory’s multiple dimensions. While physicists had trouble proving their theories (many of the ‘forces’ and particles were hypothetical and had theoreticians predicting ‘mass-less’ entities and the ‘graviton’) they are now swinging to a view of the operation of the Universe via another mode of Being:

As electrically-charged plasma.

Plasma is looked upon as the ‘fourth state of matter’, different from solid, liquid, gas. And as plasma is almost exclusively electromagnetic –a cluster of ionized particles– electrical theory is being unwrapped from the closet and given another airing.

NASA, JPL, CERN and the Los Alamos National Laboratory all give explanations for their switch from traditional space theory to a more generally accepted (and more familiar electromagnetically-driven) plasma physics, whose founding father, Swedish Nobel laureate Hannes Alfvén (1908-1995) coined the phrase ‘Plasma Universe’. Originally trained as an electrical power engineer, he researched and taught many years in the field. His plasma theories describe behavior of aurorae, Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts, effect of magnetic storms on Earth’s magnetic field, magnetic and electric fields in cosmic plasmas, the terrestrial magnetosphere and dynamics of plasmas within our galaxy.

Because of its unique behavior, (unlike solids, liquids, gas) plasma is seen as the dominant form of matter in the universe. It has been called the ‘fundamental state of matter.’

When a material is heated from solid to liquid to gas phase, and then even hotter, it starts to become ionized, i.e. one or more electrons of an atom become liberated. Plasma is essentially a collection of ionized particles and while in its simplest form it behaves according to basic electromagnetic laws, at its most complex it continues to astonish specialists in its ability to self-organize into cells with different electrical characteristics.

Plasma comes in many forms, all electromagnetically active

Plasmas are not routinely encountered on the Earth’s surface. Natural plasmas, however, do form lightning and aurora, with the cool, man-made version most commonly seen in fluorescent light bulbs. Solar corona and solar flares are good examples of hot plasma. Earth’s magnetosphere contains plasma generated by particles of solar wind interacting with Earth’s own electromagnetic field, liberating ions into the Ionosphere (upper atmosphere).

Aurora borealis, Aurora australis

Aurora on Jupiter, photo courtesy John T Clarke (U.Mich)

Aurora borealis/australis is the result of charged solar wind particles clashing with and becoming trapped within the Van Allen radiation belts, where they hit the ionosphere and fluoresce. Every planet with a magnetic field generates its own plasma, like that around Jupiter and its moon Io. Beyond the solar system, in interstellar space, ions and electrons proliferate everywhere.

Fire in the Sky
A plasma discharge (spontaneous flash of light) is familiar to students of electromagnetism. To our ancestors, however, who must have witnessed many such plasma discharges in the ancient skies and recorded these (frightening) occurrences, they were seen as battles of the gods, sky heroes and god-kings clashing with sky monsters, serpents, ‘smoke-stars’, fire-dragons which, against apparently insuperable odds, they succeeded in overcoming.

As comets enter the inner solar system, a plasma tail often develops (in addition to a non-charged tail of dust), like Shoemaker-Levy 9 (1993-4) and Hale-Bopp (1995, 1997). NASA’s most famous comet-rendezvous program, Deep Impact, confirmed cometary composition (‘dirty snowball’ plus ionized particle tails) in its hit on comet Tempel 1 in July 2005 and flyby of comet Hartley 2 November last year.

Several ancient cultures name fearful comets as ‘smoking stars’ and lightning, with its thunderbolt — often in the shape of axe, jagged staff or flashing sword — was seen as the divine weapon of gods and king-heroes wielded against ‘fiery dragons’ curled inside the earth (volcanoes?) which threatened the populace.

Castor and Pollux —Alpha and Beta Geminorum, the ‘heavenly’ or ‘thunder’ twins — were revered by the Aztec as the first ‘fire sticks’, from which Mankind learned to drill fire. And, interestingly, when the Peruvian Indians became Christian, they chose to call one of those twins Santiago because their missionaries taught them that Christ named James (Santiago) and John the ‘Sons of Thunder’.

In Mesopotamia 4,500 years earlier (4000 BC), Gemini* served as pointers to mark the beginning of the new year by setting with the first new moon of spring, just as Egyptian astronomy’s pointer Dog star Sirius, Sothis signaled annual flooding of the Nile. Classical Greece called them the Dioscuri, the ‘thunder boys’, sons of Zeus.

In the opinion of seminal scholar of world mythology Prof. J. Rendel Harris:

‘Great commentators of the Christian church had missed the meaning. In demythologizing the Bible, they threw out vast sections of primitive culture’s connection to the stars.’ (Boanerges 1913)

Authors Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend of (IMHO) one of the greatest compilations of world mythology, (Hamlet’s Mill 1969, 1977, 2002) call the Bible ‘that most unscientific of records.’

Viewing cosmology in an electromagnetic context, the Mill of the title begins to make sudden sense of millennia of myth. Hamlet is a translation of Finnish/Norse/Icelandic proto-hero Amlodhi whose staff (Yggdrasil, ‘world tree’) spun the mill of the maelstrom, the whirlpool of the cosmos, the vortex, axis mundi — the Earth’s magnetic polar shaft. The Finnish quern/mill Sampo (vault of heaven, from Sanskrit skambha, pillar, pole, axis) ground out Mankind’s deep origins: it was this mill which created ocean, earth, Man. In good times it ground out ‘peace and plenty’, in bad times, salt. And, according to the Finns whose mythology is alive in recitation, it grinds still. It lingers in Vedic tradition in a hymn —Atharva Veda— to the world pillar (skambha):

A great monster in the midst of creation strode in penance on the back of the sea. In it are set what gods there are, like branches of a tree roundabout the trunk. AV 10.7.38

From such fragments of antiquity embedded in folk memory indicating a preoccupation with earth’s magnetic axis, it is tempting to believe that a polar shift, such as predicted by some for our ‘End Times’, may have occurred at least once before.

There seem to have been other cosmic cataclysmic occurrences.

Heliospheric current generates its own electromagnetic field

In an electromagnetic context within interstellar space, plasma spontaneously generates filaments which, like magnetic poles, attract each other at long distances and repel each other at short range. These filaments often braid themselves into ‘ropes’ that act like power transmission lines through space, with virtually unlimited scope in the distances and speeds they can travel.

Following precise magnetic field lines, these braids and ropes are known as Birkeland currents, after Norwegian explorer and physicist Kristian Birkeland who predicted them in 1903 after years of study of aurora in the Arctic.

Space plasma moving through a magnetic field generates its own electric current, and conducts electricity better than metals. Professor Emeritus of the Swedish Alfvén Laboratory, Carl-Gunne Fälthammar wrote (1986):

“A reason why Birkeland currents are particularly interesting is that, in the plasma forced to carry them, they cause a number of physical processes to occur (waves, instabilities, fine structure formation). These in turn lead to consequences such as accelerated charged particles, both positive and negative, and element separation (like preferential ejection of oxygen ions). Both classes of phenomena should be of general astrophysical interest far beyond that of understanding the space environment of our own Earth.”

In the medium of space, strong radial magnetic fields can make a plasma pinch like the hourglass-shaped Ant nebula, left, produce characteristic filaments like the plasma ball (top), and particle beams, as in its dense plasma center.

Filaments leave a magnetic field signature that is recognizable in the observable universe. Astronomers have been aware of these electromagnetic fields, but have historically paid them little attention.

At a most basic level, magnetic fields are produced only by electricity. So with new eyes we observe our Universe as electrically charged, electrically based and electrically-operated.

If stories transmitted through myth in all ancient cultures are taken as genuine records of visual phenomena –plasma bursts in the heavens– we begin to see formative earth peoples experiencing life on a volatile planet among cataclysmic prehistoric events happening in their skies. Our recent past, by comparison, has been a peaceful one. We can imagine how such events must have instilled fear, but faith and belief that their leaders (god-kings in ancient Egypt, China, Babylon) could and did overcome such monsters is not in our makeup. By ignoring the heavens, we have become complacent: we are no longer skywatchers. Because our history relates few cosmic incidents, we are lulled into ignoring our unique connection to our star, its orbiting companions, the Milky Way galaxy which drives us and the great space of infinity beyond.

Yet this is a running theme through all primitive earth culture, myth and art. And while science is beginning to access the bigger picture, we may be seeing a greater whole just in time: as the predicted solar maximum (increased sunspot activity, below) has the potential to return us to such tempestuous celestial activity as our ancestors experienced. Fire in our skies… perhaps eliciting earth’s (volcanic) response…

Astronomers and astrophysicists are beginning to accept that every energetic object in the universe has a plasma associated with it. Plasmas are detected by trace electromagnetic radiation (light, x-rays, radio waves), or in some cases, by the interaction of their ions and electrons with other objects.

Scientists think solar wind has been turned sideways by pressure from interstellar wind from distant stars

Distilling plasma theory down to its simplest form, and with great leaps in astronomical technology (space vehicles like Cassini and Voyager, telescopes like Hubble and SOHO), we can view and photograph from earth beautiful plasma nebulae which, excited by light from nearby stars, display precisely the same formations and explosive patterns seen in electromagnetism produced in the laboratory. It is also synchronous that Voyager is only now hurtling toward interstellar space approximately 10.8 billion miles (17.4 billion kilometers) from the sun on the outer edge of the solar system. Voyager 1 has crossed into an area of deep space where the velocity of hot ionized gas, (plasma) emanating directly outward from the sun as solar wind has slowed to zero.

Voyager 2 confirmed the existence of Van Allen radiation belts surrounding Uranus and Neptune.

As with Earth, the outer planets are affected by solar storms, but Earth’s proximity to her star (93 million miles, 1AU) makes her more susceptible.

Van Allen radiation belts surround Earth's magnetosphere

Energetic particle fluxes (radiation) can increase and decrease dramatically as a consequence of geomagnetic storms, themselves triggered by magnetic field and plasma disturbances produced by the Sun. We moved out of an unusually extended solar minimum last year. It may be in our interest to be (cautiously) more aware of the possibility of increasing solar disturbances during this next eleven-year cycle which will crown at solar maximum, thought to occur 2012.

While solar disruption on the scale of 1859’s Carrington Event may not happen, with our present dependence on electronic media for almost all human activity, we would be wise to have backup systems available, should such a CME-derived blackout occur.

Nobody in living memory knows what to do should a pole reversal occur. Angelic assistance is preferable.

Westbury crop circle July 2010 'Van Allen radiation belts'?

As we know (or rather, as some of us on this weblog community are following), 2009/2010 crop circle seasons were significant in their display of designs and consciousness-triggers alerting us to astrophysical phenomena and Earth’s fragility in its electromagnetic cocoon. Solar flares, plasma ejections (coronal mass ejections, CMEs), sunspot activity have all featured in Wiltshire wheatfields and are on the increase –see blog entries February through October 2010— alongside dimensional and spiritual instruction to prepare us for what may be around the corner.

Earth’s Mythological Past

Meantime, interdisciplinary researchers have not been idle. Given such a wealth of new information from astronomers, mythologists (following the trail begun by Hamlet’s Mill authors) have been working alongside scientists to make sense of thousands of years of transmitted lore, art, ancestral wisdom and belief which attest to hugely violent episodes in our planet’s past related to the heavens. Mythological and cultural archetypes worldwide share language, symbols and a timeframe which suggest a less-than-tranquil formative period in Earth’s evolution than the one traditionally held by astronomers.

Under the umbrella of the Thunderbolts Project of Portland, OR, scientists, authors, mythologists and historians led by Wallace Thornhill, David Talbott and electrical engineer Prof. Donald E. Scott, are cooperating with plasma physicist Dr. Anthony Peratt to interpret petroglyph symbolism used by almost every ancient civilization to depict mythological heroes and events. Peratt has for 30 years run a laboratory using computer-generated electrical activity to predict plasma bursts in celestial forms. Together they are finding remarkable resonance between plasma forms in the lab, those produced in the cosmos, and the rock art of ancient man who drew what he saw in the sky.

On a spiritual and cosmic level, an ‘electric Universe’ — via our planetary umbilical cord to our star; its energetic tie to Galactic Center and through it the galaxy’s electromagnetic relationship with all other galaxies and the most distant stars — can be viewed as a purposeful whole, held together by plasma ropes, braids of light and power transmission lines which do indeed transmit information.

We are only just learning the language of the stars.

*According to pre-Hellenic myth, the Age of Gemini (approx 6000 BC) was considered the ‘Golden Age’, Saturnia regna when Saturn/Kronos ruled. Following the Precession of the Equinoxes, each celestial Age lasts around 2200 years. More detail on successive ages here. In Mongolian myth the Age of Gemini signaled a time when ‘heaven and earth separated’ and fire was born. In other words, before the ecliptic and celestial equator fell apart (and the equinoxes started to precess), there was no fire. It was ‘given by heaven’ in the Golden Age of the Twins. 8000 years on, we entered the Age of Aquarius on February 14, 2009.

2010: Year of the Metal Tiger

February 12, 2010

Victor Kahn's magical tiger in female clothing

2010 is predicted to be a tumultuous year on many fronts. And, as of Valentine’s Day, it becomes the Year of the Metal Tiger. The Tiger in oriental astrology returns – along with the planet Jupiter – every twelve years. So we are about to have our Jupiter Return. The Tiger is the symbol of courage, inviting bold actions and risk taking. The Metal element will provide steely resolve, fortitude and determination to accomplish goals.

That’s a bold combination for a year which begins, in this era of multi-cultural clashes, with a day of cultural harmony. In terms of celebration at least, half the world will be out making whoopee on Sunday.

Preparations for Sunday's parade in Rio

It is the day of the New Moon (in refined and forward-looking Aquarius, alongside Sun and Mercury); at the center of the Inca world, a solemn dedication to light and Pachamama is held in the Temple of the Priestesses on Titicaca’s Island of the Moon; it is the beginning of Creole and Latin Carnival and Roman Catholic German ‘Fasching’, which lasts until Ash Wednesday next week.

The Tiger ushers in a year of inscrutable Chinese philosophy (possibly even an upsurge in Tai Chi classes); it signals the first day of Tibetan Buddhist Losar and, almost forgotten in the melée and rush to grab a bargain, to feast before the fast of Lent, it is the celebration of the Roman Valentinus who was persecuted for his belief in Christian love: St. Valentine, a politically-incorrect Christian in the last years of pre-Christian emperor Claudius II’s reign, was executed outside Rome’s Flaminian Gate on February 14th AD270. He was brought to trial for aiding Christians who were being persecuted in Claudian Rome; and when he attempted to convert the emperor himself to Christianity, his execution was ordered. The lovers whom he had joined in Christian wedded bliss in earlier illegal ceremonies brought him gifts of flowers while he awaited his fate.

Valentine’s Day floral gifts are today given with little or no knowledge of their original place in the legend of Valentinus. It is not surprising. While Pope Gelasius in AD496 recognized his martyrdom and designated February 14th to honor him, he was never officially canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Once more, the act of celebrating on the first day of the first New Moon in February is much more heavily laced with pre-Christian countryman (‘pagan’) belief than with any superimposed Church festival. At this time of year, along with the return of the Light – longer hours of sunlight and the movement of the sun’s disk rising higher daily in northern skies, it was a time to celebrate the rising of sap in trees, the first signs of birds pairing and beginning to mate; the appearance of first growth in the Earth. Snowdrops and aconites open; first shoots of daffodil and bluebell leaves appear; the Earth awakens.

This year the Sun appears to be awakening again, too.

THEMIS Satellite group measures auroral activity from orbit

Until December we Earth residents were affected by a trickle of solar wind: the last vestiges of a solar minimum – an eleven-year cycle of minimal solar activity. Apart from a coronal mass ejection (CME) predicted in a couple of Wiltshire crop circles in June last year for the early part of July 2009, we were blessed with no power outages caused by magnetic storms, our annual display of aurora borealis has been relatively undramatic and NASA has had plenty time to observe activity of their THEMIS satellite group (there are five), launched from Cape Canaveral in February 2007 to orbit the earth and study aurora and the planet’s magnetosphere.

Solar magnetic field drapes against Earth's magnetosphere as it drifts by

THEMIS stands for Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms: the study of Aurora, for short.

They’ve had a few surprises.

The magnetosphere is a bubble of magnetism that surrounds the Earth and protects us from the Solar Wind.

Earth’s magnetic field carves out a cavity in the sun’s onrushing field. The Earth’s magnetosphere is thus ‘buffeted like a wind sock in gale force winds, fluttering back and forth in the solar wind,’ according to David Sibeck of the THEMIS project at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Solar particles by themselves don’t cause severe space weather, but they get energized when the solar magnetic field becomes oppositely-directed to Earth’s own field and reconnects, rather like a load of iron filings in the proximity of a magnet.

These energized sun particles have a combined force equal in some cases to a CME. They can cause magnetic storms of such magnitude that they overload power lines with excess current, and cause widespread blackouts. One of these events happened in September 1859 when a solar flare lasted nearly a week. Most of Middle America was without power for that period. It is remembered in astronomical and meteorological circles as the Superstorm or the Carrington Event.

Charged solar particles can also cause radiation storms that present hazards to spacecraft in high orbits or to the Space Shuttle with its crew of astronauts passing through a storm on its way to the moon, the ISS or other destinations in the solar system.

But, like Met. Office warnings of bad weather, these Space Weather forecasts can be predicted.

‘The more particles, the more severe the storm,’ says Joachim (Jimmy) Raeder of the University of New Hampshire, who collaborates with NASA. ‘If the solar (magnetic) field has been aligned with the Earth’s for a while, we know Earth’s field is heavily loaded with solar particles and primed for a strong storm. This discovery gives us a basic predictive capability for the severity of solar storms, similar to a hurricane forecaster’s realization that warmer oceans set the stage for more intense hurricanes.’

So far, so good. But Jimmy has a prognostication: He says calmly:

‘In fact, we expect stronger storms in the upcoming solar cycle.’

The solar magnetic field changes direction every cycle, that is, every eleven years, and we have had eleven years of a minimum: relatively calm Space Weather. Not a lot happening in the magnetosphere. Also, with the Sun’s non-alignment with Earth’s magnetic field, the shield is up; fewer particles can get in.

Streams of plasma jet out from the Sun in a recent CME

However, we just entered the doorway to a new cycle. Two new sunspots appeared on the sun’s disk last week, one (1045) described by SOHO as ‘awesome’ and ‘complex’ and the other (1046) – which just appeared around the edge – seems set to outdo its neighbor. Because of the Sun’s altered magnetic orientation in the new cycle, SOHO and THEMIS are expecting fireworks.

Not immediately at first, perhaps. These sunspot occlusions take time to build. Yet, when a sustained CME of plasma bursts from the solar prominences, we should expect something a little different to hit our placid earth shores. The expected clouds of particles ejected from the sun will have a magnetic field which is at first not aligned with Earth’s, but by the time the CME hits, (it takes about three days to travel 93,000,000 miles to us) the solar magnetic field is programmed to react and turn the other cheek. Its magnetic polarity switches to its opposite as the cloud passes by. And our magnetosphere opens its doors to welcome it.

It’s rather like sending a solar invitation to dinner: the earth is at first the reluctant host, but when the package is delivered, the host welcomes the new guest with open arms.

Coronal Mass Ejection crop circle which predicted July 2009 CME

THEMIS is currently pondering a new series of data which suggests that when the two magnetic fields line up, together they create a ‘huge breach, and there’s lots and lots of particles coming in’- David Sibeck’s words.

As they orbited Earth, THEMIS’s five spacecraft were able to estimate the thickness of the band of solar particles getting in through the breach when the fields were aligned — it turned out to be about 20 times the number that got in when the fields were counter-aligned. They measured meticulously as they orbited through the band.

Like one of Saturn’s rings, the band turns out to be one Earth radius thick, or about 4,000 miles (6,437 kilometers).

So, when the barriers are down, Earth is vulnerable. In 1859, at the time of the Carrington Event, nobody on Earth had a computer, banking systems and air traffic control were a figment in a futurist’s imagination; weather was something you ‘got through’.

If the data which THEMIS and SOHO are now contemplating becomes crystallized – if the beauty seen in a crop circle last summer becomes a reality: if we have a CME or a particle storm equal to or more powerful than that single event of last July 7th, Earth is in for a rocky ride.

We’ll need all our Tiger and Metal attributes to get us through.

In the meantime, happy Fat Tuesday (pancakes & syrup). Happy Mardi Gras.

%d bloggers like this: