The Sun Is Angry

Don’t forget to duck.

Huge blasts of sun’s plasma hurtling toward Earth

A huge mass of magnetically charged material ejected from the sun is racing across space toward our planet, where it is expected to arrive on Tuesday. When it strikes the Earth’s magnetic field, it could produce spectacular auroras.

A blast of violent space weather could hit the Earth tomorrow following two massive explosions on the Sun. NASA astronomers witnessed a huge flare above a giant sunspot the size of our planet and linked to an even larger eruption across the surface of Sun.

Experts estimate a wave of supercharged gas called plasma will reach us this Tuesday when it will buffet the natural magnetic shield protecting Earth. It could trigger spectacular displays of the aurora or northern and southern lights.

The solar outbursts on Sunday August 1 were recorded by several satellites including NASA’s new Solar Dynamics Observatory which watched its shockwave rippling outwards. The flare over the sunspot was swiftly followed by an eruption 250,000 miles (400,000 km) away in a feature called a filament.

UK solar expert Dr Lucie Green, of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, in Surrey, followed the flare-ups using Japan’s orbiting Hinode telescope.

She said last night: “What wonderful fireworks the Sun has been producing! This was a very rare event – not one, but two almost simultaneous eruptions from different locations on the sun were launched toward the Earth.

“These eruptions occur when immense magnetic structures in the solar atmosphere lose their stability and can no longer be held down by the sun’s huge gravitational pull. Just like a coiled spring suddenly being released, they erupt into space.

“It looks like the first eruption was so large that it changed the magnetic fields throughout half the Sun’s visible atmosphere and provided the right conditions for the second eruption. Both eruptions could be Earth-directed but may be travelling at different speeds. This means we have a very good chance of seeing major and prolonged effects, such as the northern lights at low latitudes.”

. . .

Scientists have warned that a really big solar eruption, like the Carrington Event witnessed from Surrey in 1859, could destroy satellites and wreck power and around the globe if it happened today.

Such an event would be the biggest disaster ever to hit mankind, preventing the production of essential supplies including food, water and medicines. Other eruptions have been observed directed towards us but thankfully less severe.

See also:
Coronal Mass Ejection Headed for Earth
Here comes the sun storm
Large solar storm headed our way
Solar plasma aurora storm to hit Earth tomorrow!
Solar Tsunami to Strike Earth Tonight
Solar light show expected tonight
Northern lights may shine in local skies
Solar blast may fire up Northern Lights
Northern lights could be visible from UK as Sun’s ‘solar tsunami’ sweeps towards Earth
Sun storms may bring northern lights farther south
Coronal Mass Ejection on Sun, Effects Can Be Seen in New England

So, enjoy the light show if it’s visible where you’re at and let’s hope we don’t suffer any fried satellites.

/eventually, the sun will destroy life on Earth and the Earth itself, but apparently not today

Advertisements

Suicide Skunks At The Jirga Party

The Taliban bite Karzai’s hand as he tries to feed them peace.

Taleban send message of war to Karzai’s peace summit

The scene was set for something dramatic as President Karzai approached the lectern yesterday.

His capital city was in lockdown. More than 1,600 dignitaries — tribal elders, ministers, MPs and ambassadors — had gathered in Afghanistan’s most venerated tent for a conference about peace. An estimated 12,000 soldiers, policemen and intelligence agents were involved in keeping all of them safe. The rest of the country was enjoying a two-day holiday.

Moments into Mr Karzai’s opening address, however, he was interrupted by the whistle and thud of an incoming rocket. The Taleban — conspicuous by their absence — had, nonetheless, managed to get their point across.

Plumes of smoke rose from beyond the tent’s perimeter as two more explosions followed. Then the sound of gunfire filled the air. Mr Karzai had described the Taleban as brothers. They, in turn, were trying to kill him.

At least five rockets were fired during the morning, police said, with two suicide bombers killed and a third arrested after they were found hiding in the shell of a house under construction barely 500 metres from the Loya Jirga, or Grand Assembly tent. Undeterred by either the risk to his life — he has survived at least three assassination attempts — or to the credibility of his conference, Mr Karzai urged his audience not to panic. “Sit down, nothing will happen,” he said. “I have become used to this.” In a direct appeal to his “dear Taleban brothers”, he said: “May God bring you to your homeland. Don’t destroy your homeland, don’t destroy yourself.”

The President left the conference in an armoured convoy, as planned, while the rest of the delegates formed smaller groups to try to agree on a set of ground rules for negotiating with the Taleban.

See also:
Taliban targets Afghanistan peace jirga
Afghan Peace Assembly Opens Amid Attacks
Suicide bombers in burkas attack Afghan peace conference
Afghan Insurgents Fire on Peace Conference
Taliban Attacks Dominate First Day of Peace ‘Jirga’
Taliban attack Afghan peace conference as Karzai speaks
Militants attack Afghan peace conference
Taliban by attacking Afghan peace jirga lashes at process
Taliban rockets hit as Karzai leads rare Afghan peace jirga
In pictures: Militants attack Afghanistan ‘peace jirga’
Gunfire erupts near venue of Afghan peace jirga
Three blasts hit near Kabul jirga tent
Afghan opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah vows to boycott ‘peace jirga’
Afghanistan: why US changed its mind about Karzai’s ‘jirga’

Um, I don’t think the Taliban is much interested in making peace, and why should they be? They can strike at will anywhere in Afghanistan and Obama’s already announced that we’re going to start withdrawing next year.

/it doesn’t take Sun Tzu to figure out that all the Taliban have to do is wait until we leave and then go sack Kabul for the big win, can you say Vietnam strategy regurgitated?

When Taliban Attack

Apparently not content to sit and wait around for the much promised and thoroughly foreshadowed major NATO Coalition assault on Kandahar, the Taliban have decided to launch an offensive of their own. And they call it al Fateh, or victory.

Afghan Insurgents Attack U.S. Base in Kandahar

Insurgents late Saturday launched coordinated ground and rocket attacks on Kandahar Air Field, the main coalition base in southern Afghanistan.

Stray rocket and mortar attacks on the Kandahar base have been common in recent years, but before Saturday, insurgents hadn’t mounted any coordinated assaults there.

Sounds of gunfire and explosions rattled through the base for about two hours, witnesses said. A spokeswoman for the U.S.-led coalition said a “small number” of military and civilian personnel were injured. There was no immediate information about any fatalities, she said.

The attack on Kandahar Air Field comes just a few days after a similar insurgent strike on Bagram Air Field, the main coalition base in eastern Afghanistan. Those insurgents, some disguised as U.S. forces, killed one contractor and injured several U.S. service members in the Bagram attack.

The Taliban declared this month that it was launching an offensive, dubbed al Fateh, or victory, aiming to besiege and take over coalition bases. On Tuesday, a suicide bomber rammed a van packed with explosives into a lightly armed convoy of coalition vehicles, killing killing 18 people including five Americans and a Canadian.

Coalition spokesman Brig. Gen Josef Blotz said the attack on the Kandahar base began at about 8 p.m. with a rocket and mortar barrage.

At least one rocket landed near a central hub of activity in the airfield, a collection of coffee shops and merchant booths surrounding a field where personnel often play soccer and volleyball.

Insurgents then launched a ground attack on the north side of the base, “but they did not pierce the perimeter,” Gen. Blotz said. Coalition gunships were strafing fields around the base hours after the attack, searching for insurgents who were repelled in the assault, said Gen. Blotz, who was on the base during the attack.

See also:
Afghan Guerrillas Attack U.S. Base In Kandahar
Insurgents attack Afghanistan base
Afghan Nato base comes under attack
Insurgents attack NATO’s southern Afghan base
Rebels Attack Base in Afghanistan
Kandahar Attack – Nato Kandahar Air Base Attacked in Afghanistan
U.S. contractor killed, 9 soldiers wounded in Taliban attack on Bagram air base
Taliban Attack American Base Outside Kabul
U.S. troops, Afghan police sweep through Taliban stronghold
Into Kandahar, Yesterday and Tomorrow
Results of Kandahar offensive may affect future U.S. moves
The chaos awaiting Kandahar
Taliban win £1,600 bounty for each Nato soldier killed

Needless to say, it’s not a welcome development that the Taliban are able to blow up our convoys and mortar and rocket our main air bases seemingly at will. It’s going to be a long, hot summer in Afghanistan, let’s hope we can retake the initiative and drive the Taliban onto the defensive and into retreat.

/God bless our troops, keep them safe, and grant them victory over our enemies