I had a pleasant post planned for today. The Sun had other plans.

Aurora borealis over Iceland.

I’m coming off a two-day migraine, and I had a nice, fun post planned. The universe has other plans.

Just in case you haven’t seen this, we have 3, possibly 4, CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejections) coming at us. The first 3 appear to have timed themselves so that they will arrive almost simultaneously.

As a result, we may have a KP Index as high as 8. Even an index 7 will trigger a strong geomagnetic storm. Historically, one of these knocked out the power in Quebec. An overview of the entire event can be found here if you’re interested.

I wanted to find a succinct description of geomagnetic storm intensities, and would you believe that the Brave search engine’s AI gave me one? Color me pleasantly surprised. The formatting is off, however. I think the WordPress “blockquote” attribute is at fault. Oh well.

The Kp index is a measure of the level of geomagnetic storm activity, with higher values indicating more severe storms. The Kp index ranges from 0 to 9, with the following levels of geomagnetic storm activity:

G1: Minor, Kp equivalent 5, average frequency 1700 per cycle, days during solar cycle 24: 256

G2: Moderate, Kp equivalent 6, average frequency 600 per cycle, days during solar cycle 24: 86

G3: Strong, Kp equivalent 7, average frequency 200 per cycle, days during solar cycle 24: 18

G4: Severe, Kp equivalent 8-9, average frequency 100 per cycle, days during solar cycle 24: 9

G5: Extreme, Kp equivalent 9, average frequency 4 per cycle, days during solar cycle 24: 0

The Kp index is used to characterize the magnitude of geomagnetic storms and is an important indicator of disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field. The index is calculated based on the data from 13 geomagnetic observatories around the world.

Geomagnetic storms can have various effects on the Earth’s magnetic field, including:

Disruptions to communication and navigation systems

Increased aurora activity

Disturbances to power grids and electrical systems

Disruptions to satellite operations

Increased radiation exposure for astronauts and airline passengers

The Kp index is used by space weather services to issue alerts and warnings for geomagnetic storms, and is an important tool for predicting and mitigating the effects of these storms.

There is also a YouTube channel, Suspicious0bservers, that tracks space weather along with the coming reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field. I’ve met Ben personally, and while he can be…intense…, he is probably one of the best-educated laymen on the subject of space weather. I pay more attention to him than I do to NOAA. Last night he was giving this event a 10% chance of being the “killshot”, as he calls it—a planet-wide EMP-like effect that would eliminate all electric generation and destroy all our electronic devices. This would kill probably 90+% of the global population.

While the world probably isn’t ending, this is an event to pay attention to due to its possible impact on our electrical infrastructure. If nothing else, those of us south of the usual viewing zone may get to see the aurora tonight and Saturday. I’m doing some research on how to photograph them, just in case.

Edit, 1542: Now we’re up to 6. At least my golden years aren’t going to be boring.

Edit, 1551: More. I’m going to mow the grass, just in case the next time I have to mow is with the Armageddon Mower.

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