Wednesday 18 March 2015

CME Impact as seen from KAIRA

All day yesterday (17th March), the space environment around Earth was being blasted by a CME which launched from the Sun a few days previously.  The solar wind speed measured just upstream from the Earth reached 500-600 km/s and the interplanetary magnetic field stayed southwards with values of -15-20 nT.  All this resulted in spectacular displays of aurora visible across the whole of Fenno-Scandinavia and at least as far south as Wales in the UK.  Here at Kilpisjärvi it was, naturally, cloudy and snowing all night...  However, KAIRA was observing as usual and the beamlet statistics indicate a very nice set of data!
The plot is of data from all beams in the current standard background task experiment (including a number of riometry beams covering the sky, a beam on the strong radio source Cas A and a beam on the Sun or a pulsar depending on whether or not the Sun is up).  The beam on Cas A is the most obvious as it is the one with all the scintillation!  However, of great interest to a number of SGO researchers are the darker vertical stripes, consistent over all the beamlets (which means all the beams in whichever direction they're pointing).  These are likely to correspond to strong riometric absorption events.  Some of them can be seen to be "wobbling" a bit in time, indicating some movement of absorption patches across the sky.  This will be a very interesting dataset indeed!

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