my spiritual name is Ashka, revealed to me by my wonderful sage,
"LaSoon." My Earth name is Cynthia Orobono, and I have lived in the
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania since the mid 1980's. I consider myself a seeker, since adolescence I have been searching for my spiritual truth! With my Sacred-self, LaSoon at my side a deeper understanding as to why we
are here on Earth is being revealed.
I am learning how to bring my paradise onto this unique planet. I
have been a spiritual adviser for over ten years, and now I am pleased to announce my permanent location at Elite Mixed Martial Arts Center, Northampton, PA. LaSoon and I are helping others find their way traversing
life's obstacles with this wonderful wisdom I have acquired.
experiencing a life lesson of surviving breast cancer (stage 3,
borderline 4) and gaining knowledge and wisdom from this event!
If you need assistance in finding your strength in dealing with cancer, or with challenges in your life please contact me. Life
can be difficult as well as joyous. We are here to help you find your
Ashka & LaSoon
Understanding your Pure Wisdom
Wisdom is the ability
to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and
insight. So, living in pure wisdom you
act upon your life experiences without immediately assuming the worst and you learn
from it! In short, wisdom is a means to
find the truth with an optimum judgment as to what actions should be taken in
order to deliver the correct and proper outcome.
For several weeks I have been
on a quest to learn a very valuable lesson that keeps cycling through my life,
wisdom! This challenge has presented
itself in my youth, adulthood and now my golden years (as I call them.) Of course, LaSoon has brought this message to
me and infused it with a little humor.
Luckily, I had an
awareness, so the important point of this message became very clear. Every day I pick a keyword that is prevalent
in my presence, then find an corresponding quote. Well, today I found two! The humorous part is
the message is visually tied to The Evil Queen.
In Snow White,
the Evil Queen is beautiful, alluring, confident and seems very powerful. But actually, she intimidates others to
control them to her will. Her entire
existence is basically being a bully. Lately,
this atmosphere of oppression has been forced upon me.
So, as I rewind
this latest lesson of mine, please understand this has been spiraling round me
for a while. I was hurt terribly by a
friend who has accused me of some awful things that are not true. Now this
person is spreading these lies to hurt me, because I will not blindly follow
and I have my own opinion. But, this event has shown me the power of my faith. This is why I became a spiritual adviser, "I am living what I am learning, gaining wisdom,
spreading the wonderful words of LaSoon and expanding the love within
I have no fear of these statements maligning
me because I did nothing wrong. I refuse
to let this person intimidate me. Remember,
The Evil Queen in Snow White was destroyed because of her own actions. "Force without
wisdom falls of its own weight." Horace
(65BC - 8BC)
But, those who
live with pure wisdom have the ability to separate truth from falsehood. Just
like Snow White who saw the kindness and caring of the seven dwarfs; who
protected her. I now have a very clear
picture of those who embrace the qualities of The Evil Queen and those like
Snow White who take the high road and drink-in the wisdom of life! "Innocence dwells with
Wisdom, but never with Ignorance." William Blake (1757
PLEASE SELECT "UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE" TAB FOR MORE INFORMATION!
YOU CAN USE THIS INFORMATION TO HELP YOU AS YOU JOURNEY THROUGH YOUR DAY...
FRIDAY, December 5, 2014
6:00PM - 7:30PM
great way to release the stress in your life! You will learn basic
techniques to help you relax and clear the inner clutter. Sometimes it
becomes difficult to think when you have your daily routine constantly
playing in your head. You will learn the Chakra system, which gives
you a wonderful focal point. This just beginning steps to within...
LOCATION: ELITE MIXED MARTIAL ARTS CENTER
2022 Main Street, Northampton, PA 18067
610 440 0443
COST : Donation
Please refer to Events Page for more information!
ELITE MIXED MARTIAL ARTS CENTER
(Inside Affordable Pet Center)
2022 MAIN STREET
NORTHAMPTON, PA 18067
Ashka & LaSoon are so happy to announce the merging of Ashka's Connections with Elite Mixed Martial Arts Center.
Such a wonderful place to visit and learn! Spiritual Classes (meditation, etc.) and Energy/Tarot Sessions are now available. We also have stones, candles and various items to help with your Spiritual needs.
If you are interested in any of the above services, please contact Ashka through the contact page on this website. Or just stop in during Elite Mixed Martial Arts Center's hours of operation.
Monday - 5:30pm to 8:00pm
Tuesday - 6:00pm to 7:30pm
Thursday - 5:30pm to 8:00pm
Saturday - 9:30am to 3:00pm
Also, if you are looking for an "Energy Atunement - Level I," please contact Ashka.
Energy Atunment Level I
Universal Life Force
There are three levels to Universal Healing Energy, which is part of Universal Life Force.
1st Degree - Foundation
2nd Degree - Symbols are given
3rd Degree (Master Level) - Server-ship is given by LaSoon
*Please note: this is not a quick process, LaSoon deems when you move through your degrees.
1st Degree - This is the first step in a wonderful adventure that can be used to transform your life. It brings balance, and as we become balanced, our bodies and psyches can heal themselves.
- Atunements are what connect or re-connect your quintessence element to the Universal Life Force
- Thus, connecting you to Universal Healing Energy
- These atunements align your crown, third eye, throat, heart and the lower based Earth chakras
- You will learn where the minor chakras are and how to open them and run energy through them
- Then how to work with the electromagnetic field of the Human Body
- How to detox and purify
- Then learning about exchange
Please note: If you are interested please contact Ashka and then start bringing in your "Heaven on Earth!"
2014 - THE UPCOMING AWAKENINGS
THE YULE WILL BRING IN A YEAR OF UNDERSTANDING AND REBIRTH. THIS IS THE TIME TO USE THE DIVERSE COSMIC ENERGIES THAT ABOUND AROUND
OUR BEINGS. ALSO, TO CREATE
HEAVEN ON EARTH WITH THESE NEW FOUND ENERGIES.
Star-seed Tarot Reading
"The Star-seed Tarot Deck helps souls who are searching to understand their Star-seed
origins and their purpose in the greater scheme of our cosmic evolution!"
The reading will
reveal your higher purpose for this Earth
spiritual guides connect to you and what you need to do?
- What karmic patterns must be cleared so you can
move into a higher vibration?
- The cards do address your current status on Earth...
ELITE MIXED MARTIAL ARTS CENTER
610 392 0408
ASHKA & LASOON
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING ANY INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE, PLEASE CONTACT ASHKA OR LASOON THROUGH THE CONTACT PAGE!
Everyone has challenges in their life, but sometimes things happen that shake us to our core. We physically internalize the event not sure if we want to live or die. Our emotional world is crushed, all we want to do is cry and hide. Intellectually, knowing that if we are around anyone, they can see through us, and see our pain.
This my dear friends is a cosmic lesson!
We must meet quite a few of these tests within our lifetime. But, please know that there is help from our spiritual side. All we have to do is ask and the signs will be in front of us to
assist us. Just open your eyes...
One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the
only strength which can overcome adversity."
*REFER TO THE COSMIC GUIDANCE PAGE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THIS TOPIC....
"2014, A YEAR OF UNDERSTANDING AND REBIRTH!"
IT IS TIME TO START FOLLOWING OUR NEW PATH TO A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF OUR
BEING AND TO REDIRECT OUR MINDSET. OUR FIRST STEP IS UNDERSTAND THAT AS
LONG AS WE ARE ON EARTH WE WILL FACE EARTHLY CHALLENGES! BUT, WE DO HAVE THE ABILITY TO CREATE HEAVEN
"2013, a year of renewed peace and self-fulfillment!"
*Self-fulfillment is a means to convert our intent (manifest) into reality. Also, to develop the full potentialities of the self (I am), which helps us touch the cosmic aspect of our beings. As we strengthen the connection to this cosmic energy, your vibration will increase. Thus, revealing the wonderful abilities that have always been around us! Now, this is the moment to define and refine these capabilities...
May your true light guide you,
.Visit "LaSoon's Wisdom" - Information on:
Awakening to New Energy's
As we (Earth & Us) raise our vibration, wonderful will be revealed and given. It is for the awakened to find and draw on, bringing in this "new" wonderful energy. An example of this process are all the semi-precious stones and crystals that are newly discovered. To help this process along, I will be listing these that LaSoon has led me to:
Semi-Precious Stones & Crystals
Lemurian Jade: Alignment to Earth
Lemurian Jade contains Jade, Quartz, Pyrite and other , which together form two distinct coloured types. This greyish/green type is known as Shadow Lemurian Jade and the black type Midnight Lemurian Jade.
The frequency of Lemurian Jade connects to the base and heart centre to the at the heart of Mother Earth allowing one to feel the abundance and joy that can be found in one's world. Its energy helps one to communicate with Nature's Spirits and can aid with Earth healing.
Associated - Base/Root, Heart
Physical Ailments - Heart - Physical
- Immune Systems
Emotional Issue - Abuse
Spiritual Connections - Abundance & Prosperity
-Connection to Natures Spirits & Devas
- Divine Feminine
Starbrary Quartz Crystals
Starbrary crystals are a rare and completely natural type of Quartz formation, which have been and programmed with ancient and detailed information by people from distant star systems. This is the main difference between a Starbrary and a Lemurian Seed Crystal; Starbrarys having been encoded remotely by that existed outside of our own , whilst Lemurian crystals were embedded with information by people who inhabited our planet; ‘seeding’ or planting them in a sand bed in Brazil for us to discover some 10,000 years after they left.
The Starbrary Mission
The language of the Starbrary is similar to that of Lemurian Seed Crystals, but more complex due to the incredible amount of information each one contains. This information is considered crucial to the growth and survival of the human and the the planet as a whole. They are also thought to contain information required to help the Earth at a time of extreme global need or crisis. It follows, therefore, that these amazing and significant crystals are beginning to become available in various parts of the world, so that their reach to Lightworkers will be on a global scale.
Identifying a Starbrary
Starbrary crystals can be identified by the presence of glyph like markings, etchings, geometric symbols and patterns along their shafts and occasionally on the actual main face of the crystal. Some also carry doorways (portals) or keys. Whilst other natural, unpolished Quartz crystals may carry similar markings, the energy and detail of a Starbrary is undeniably completely different.
Lightning Strike Starbrary Crystals
Some Starbrarys may also be Lightning Strike crystals; a very rare formation in itself (not to be confused with Fulgarite*). ‘Lightning Strike Starbrary’ crystals have had their information ‘downloaded’ into them using lightning as a conduit, and, therefore, they benefit from having the additional properties of a Lightning Strike specimen. These crystals bear a jagged scar – usually on their shaft - caused by the strike. The intensity of the bolt often blew the tip off of these crystals in the process, but this does not detract from the energies or purpose. It is said that the travellers who imparted their knowledge into these crystals did so during electrical storms over Brazil many, many thousands of years ago; choosing crystals that were lying exposed (or perhaps placed) on the surface. Lightning Strike Starbrarys are not reserved to any one particular, named group of Starbrary (see names below), they may be found on any of them. Furthermore, Lightning Strike crystals are not always Starbrarys.
*Fulgarite is often sold as Lightning Quartz or Lightning Glass. Fulgarite is a variety of Lechatelierite and is a fragile formation of silica-rich glass, created when sand or base rock is hit by lightning, fusing it into unusual shapes. It is usually of rough, tubular appearance. The hollow tubular part is the point where the lightning struck, fusing the sand around it.
Starbrary Names and Groups
Most Starbrarys are labeled simply as ‘Starbrary Quartz’ or ‘Lightning Strike Starbrary Quartz’ and not named after their particular star system. Very occasionally, however, they will be specifically named if they are a readily identifiable formation; as with an Andromeda DT,ET (Double Terminated, Extraterrestrial). There are six different groups of people who have are believed to have left such information embedded in these crystals.
Some of the most sought after are those containing the maps, legends and history of the people of the Cassiopeia star system. These particular crystals can be recognized by their flowing lines and symbols along their shaft. They often (but not always) have key markings. These may be either portals or doorways to other dimensions or can be information gateways; the means by which we can access their data. Each crystal has various ways of being held which facilitates the release of information contained within; each position (and ‘key’ if one is present) revealing a different layer of information.
The next type, from the Pleidean System, are recognized by the geometric symbols along their sides - circles, squares, triangles (not to be confused with Record Keepers) and so on and they often have very pronounced keys. Together with the Cassiopeian type described above, these two have the strongest energetic links with the people of both Atlantis and Lemuria.
- Ursa Minor
Then we have a type linked to a system within Ursa Minor. They bear a series of triangles, dots and dashes – a sort of intergalactic Morse code – along their sides. They are often called Cosmic Crystals due to the markings which sometimes resemble meteor showers. To access the information contained within this particular type of crystal you have to ‘read’ the dots and dashes. The code contained within these crystals was one generally used throughout the Atlantean civilization.
Next we have an encoded crystal from the people of the Leo star system. It is a more linear pattern but does share some similarities with the first two – from Cassiopeia and Pleiades. The information contained within this type is more factual then philosophical or spiritual, giving names, dates, historical events and other more routine details like weather information.
Then come the Titanium included Quartz Starbrarys, with their deep ridges and furrows which create very definite glyphs on the faces of the crystal, rather than along the sides or shaft. This is the only Starbrary which bears markings on the face. This wondrous crystal is connected with the people of the Orion system. Of all the Starbrarys, this one needs a ‘companion crystal’. This ‘companion’ may be a crystal of any type (not necessarily Quartz) and is more often than not, quite an unremarkable stone. The companion crystals sit in wait for a Starbrary to come into their energy field, which activates their abilities. The information contained within an Orion Starbrary is so detailed that the companion crystal is needed to help us to first access this data, assimilating it in to a comprehensible manner. The Orion Starbrarys were of the utmost importance and spiritual value to the Native American Indian people.
Then we have a crystal containing knowledge from the people of the Andromeda star system. These differ from all the others in that they are (nearly) always double terminated (DT) and more often than not extraterrestrial (ET) formation crystals. They too often have keys, but these are usually tiny. The crucial distinguishing thing which identifies this type from the others is that the sides appear to be layered, and they have no central face termination. It is as though the main termination has been covered by the ET formation or growth. Extraterrestrial crystals can be identified as being similar to self-healed formations, but with far larger and better defined crystals, which vaguely resemble the flames coming out of the tail of a space shuttle! The Andromeda crystals have a strong energetic connection with both those from the Cassiopeian and Pleiadian people, giving rise to speculative belief that there may well have been contact and communication between people from the different star systems.
Finally, there are those referred to as Master Starbrarys; crystals which contain a selection if not all of the above features. The information in these exceptional crystals can be accessed either with or without a companion stone. These are the rarest and most powerful of all the Starbrarys.
These magnificent and wondrous crystals are now working their way to locations across the planet to be with the guardians who will need to work with them in the future. All of the Starbrarys are thought to contain a direct means of communicating with our elders from these far off galaxies, just lying dormant waiting for us to unlock their code. Furthermore, it is believed that when the time is right (as with Lemurian Seed Crystals also), the Starbrarys will experience a simultaneous ‘awakening’, creating a huge web or grid of celestial light which will surround and encompass the whole planet.
Embedded with their ancient and potent knowledge the Starbrarys lie patiently waiting for us to discover and work with them. Only time will tell, but when the people from these star systems feel that we are ready for open contact and have evolved sufficiently from the third dimension of fear, hatred, anger, jealousy and greed, many pieces of the puzzle will start to fall into place and we will receive the answers many spiritual people across the planet have long been searching for. If you find yourself guardian of one of these extraordinary and precious crystals, work with it often, treat it with the utmost respect and learn as much as you can of its secrets and mysteries.
*Information is from a wonderful site on the Internet!
Movie - "Cafe`" with Jennifer Love Hewitt
A wonderful little movie that gives us insight into our true "Universe." This film delves into explaining how we are creators of our physical world. How our lessons and challenges roll down from our spiritual world. "Highly recommended for content!"
"Joe Somebody" with Tim Allen
This movie gem uses humor to explain the difference between desire versus need! This is such an important lesson, sometimes with desire we are unsure as to what we truly want! You will really enjoy the moments of "Joe" finally learning his need over desire! How Joe finds peace and completeness with him making decisions from a place of need...
AuBois, il va un oiseau; Son chant vous arrete et vopus fait rougir...
"In the woods there is a bird; his song stops you and makes you blush."
Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood
"What though the radiance which was once so
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind."
This is an excerpt from a very beautiful poem, Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood by William Wordsworth (1803-1806)
"Awake" - A show about parallel universes, how we are living in different dimensions at the same time. Very powerful information if you take the time a sift through each episode.
"Life" - This program on Netflix is about a police detective who is following the philosophy of Zen and how he lives it in his life! One of the more intriguing aspects is the people around the main character, who without knowing start to emulate him.
THE VOYNICH MANUSCRIPT
BY GERRY KENNEDY & ROB CHURCHILL
The unsolved riddle of an extraordinary book which has defied interpretation for centuries. The manuscript was rediscovered in 1912 and written in an unknown language, or undecipherable code, it contains hundreds of illustrations of weird plants, bizarre cosmological diagrams and, most tantalizing of all inexplicable scenes of naked nymphs bathing in a strange, green liquid. The manuscript was donated to Yale University. This book gives the history of the manuscript and a number of illustrations.
BEADS, JEWELRY & ETC...
The Kukui is the state tree of Hawaii, also known as the Candlenut tree.
In Ancient Hawaii the Kukui oil was used to make light. Wicks where
made from the spine of the frond leaf of the coconut palm, the first
candles were made of candle nut.. When many nuts were used together,
they would burn for many hours and these were the first torches.
The nuts and bark of the Kukui are also made into dye for Kapa or Tapa
cloth and on cloth for Hula or markings on sacred cloth for ceremony. The nuts are also made into a necklace, which can be used as prayer beads. The tree has a Spiritual meaning of light, hope, and renewal.
When you want to bring yourself back to your moments of tranquility and joy
connecting your sacred energy, take off your necklace or bracelet
each bead with a long in-breath and out-breath. Then quiet your
mind. You will
be balanced and filled with tranquility, harmony and
Plumeria Scroll - This design can be found in
rings, pendants and bracelets. The five petals of the Plumeria symbolize Sincerity, Faith, Devotion,
Aspiration and Surrender. Beloved for its elegant simplicity and delicious
fragrance, this delicate Island flower is often worn tucked behind one ear, or
shared with a loved one in a colorful flower lei.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ORDER A KUKUI NUT NECKLACE OR BRACELET AND ANY OTHER ITEM, PLEASE MESSAGE ASHKA ON THE CONTACT PAGE. PRICING VARIES ACCORDING TO SHIPPING COSTS! THE KUKUI NUTS COME IN WHITE, BLACK & BROWN!
More information to follow...
Offering Enlight enment Through:
- Tarot Readings
- Star-seed Tarot Reading-*New
Thanks for Visiting Us!
Current Vibrational Events
"Yes dear friends, there are several ways the environment can affect us, in a non-contact way. It can ripple through our auras and disrupt our harmonics. We can react from these rhythms through our emotional, physical and mental bodies. They are referred to as vibrational events, and if we have an understanding of it, it will lessen the impact.
The affects of solar and lunar activities have been documented for centuries. All we need to do is keep track of these events and accept and adjust to their influences for a positive optimum effect.
But, a cause that can completely disturb our harmonics is another persons aura. If that person is directing negative thoughts towards you it can have the same influence as the sun and moon. One simple way to dissipate this energy blast is to ignore it. Do not return the negativity, just mirror their energy back to the person that is sending it. It is so easy to do when you know you have the power! Then let them deal with what they have dished out. It is clearly returned with double the punch for them to contend with.
If you would like more information regarding this topic, please send a note through my "Contact Me" page.
"Natura valde simplex est et sibi consona!"
(Nature is exceedingly simple and harmonious with itself.)
Sir Isaac Newton
La Bella Luna & El Sol
- Rosetta Comet Landing. The European Space
Agency's Rosetta spacecraft is scheduled to release its Philae lander some time
in November. Philae will attempt to land on the surface of a comet known as 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
The lander is named after Philae island in the Nile river, where an obelisk was
found that was used to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics along with the famous
Rosetta Stone. The Philae lander will spend about a week studying the comet. It
will send back images from the surface and try to determine what the comet is
·PLEASE NOTE: THIS GROUND BREAKING EVENT WILL BE TELEVISED ON SCI CABLE.
November 5, 6
- Taurids Meteor Shower. The Taurids is a
long-running minor meteor shower producing only about 5-10 meteors per hour. It
is unusual in that it consists of two separate streams. The first is produced
by dust grains from Asteroid 2004 TG10. The second stream is produced by debris
left behind by Comet 2P Encke. The shower runs annually from September 7 to
December 10. It peaks this year on the the night of November 5. Unfortunately
the full moon this year will block out all but the brightest meteors. Those
with patience may still be able to catch a few good ones. Best viewing will be
just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors
will radiate from the constellation Taurus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
- Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite
the Earth from the Sun and will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This
phase occurs at 22:23 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American
tribes as the Full Beaver Moon because this was the time of year to set the
beaver traps before the swamps and rivers froze. It has also been known as the
Frosty Moon and the Hunter's Moon.
November 17, 18
- Leonids Meteor Shower. The Leonids is an
average shower, producing an average of up to 15 meteors per hour at its peak.
This shower is unique in that it has a cyclonic peak about every 33 years where
hundreds of meteors per hour can be seen. That last of these occurred in 2001.
The Leonids is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle,
which was discovered in 1865. The shower runs annually from November 6-30. It
peaks this year on the night of the 17th and morning of the 18th. The waning crescent
moon will not be much of a problem this year. Skies should be dark enough for a
good show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors
will radiate from the constellation Leo, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
- New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the
Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at
12:32 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as
galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
- Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite
the Earth from the Sun and will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This
phase occurs at 12:27 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American
tribes as the Full Cold Moon because this is the time of year when the cold
winter air settles in and the nights become long and dark. This moon has also
been known as the Moon Before Yule and the Full Long Nights Moon.
December 13, 14
- Geminids Meteor Shower. The Geminids is the
king of the meteor showers. It is considered by many to be the best shower in
the heavens, producing up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour at its peak. It
is produced by debris left behind by an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon, which
was discovered in 1982. The shower runs annually from December 7-17. It peaks
this year on the night of the 13th and morning of the 14th. The waning gibbous
moon will block out some of the meteors this year, but the Geminids are so
bright and numerous that it should still be a good show. Best viewing will be
from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the
constellation Gemini, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
- December Solstice. The December solstice occurs
at 23:03 UTC. The South Pole of the earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which
will have reached its southernmost position in the sky and will be directly
over the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.44 degrees south latitude. This is the first
day of winter (winter solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of
summer (summer solstice) in the Southern Hemisphere.
· December 22
- New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the
Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at
01:36 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as
galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
December 22, 23
- Ursids Meteor Shower. The Ursids is a minor
meteor shower producing only about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is produced by
dust grains left behind by comet Tuttle, which was first discovered in 1790.
The shower runs annually from December 17-25. It peaks this year on the the
night of the 22nd. This will be one of the best years to observe the Ursids
because there will be no moonlight to interfere with the show. Best viewing
will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights.
Meteors will radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor, but can appear anywhere
in the sky.
National Geographic Article Published June 2012
By Timothy Ferris
On Thursday, September 1, 1859, a 33-year-old brewer and amateur astronomer named Richard Carrington climbed the stairs to his private observatory near London, opened the dome slit, and as was his habit on a sunny morning, adjusted his telescope to project an 11-inch image of the sun onto a screen. He was tracing sunspots on a piece of paper when, before his eyes, “two patches of intensely bright and white light” suddenly appeared amid one large sunspot group. At the same time the magnetometer needle dangling from a silk thread at London’s Kew Observatory began dancing wildly. Before dawn the next day enormous auroral displays of red, green, and purple illuminated the skies as far south as Hawaii and Panama. Campers in the Rocky Mountains, mistaking the aurora for sunrise, got up and started cooking breakfast.
The flare Carrington had observed heralded a solar superstorm—an enormous electromagnetic outburst that sent billions of tons of charged particles hurtling toward Earth. (Another amateur English astronomer named Richard Hodgson also witnessed the flare.) When the invisible wave collided with the planet’s magnetic field, it caused electrical currents to surge through telegraph lines. The blast knocked out service at several stations, but telegraphers elsewhere found that they could disconnect their batteries and resume operations using the geomagnetic electricity alone. “We are working with the current from the Aurora Borealis alone,” a Boston telegrapher messaged an operator in Portland, Maine. “How do you receive my writing?”
“Much better than with the batteries on,” Portland replied.
Operators of today’s communication systems and power grids would be less sanguine. No solar superstorm as powerful as the 1859 event has occurred since, so it is difficult to calculate what impact a comparable storm might have on today’s more wired world. A hint came with the Quebec blackout of March 13, 1989, when a solar storm roughly a third less powerful than the Carrington event knocked out the power grid serving more than six million customers in less than two minutes’ time. A Carrington-class storm could fry more transformers than the power companies keep stockpiled, leaving millions without light, potable water, sewage treatment, heating, air-conditioning, fuel, telephone service, or perishable food and medications during the months it would take to manufacture and install new transformers. A recent National Academy of Sciences report estimates that such a storm could wreak the economic disruption of 20 Katrina-class hurricanes, costing one to two trillion dollars in the first year alone and taking a decade to recover from.
“We cannot predict what the sun will do more than a few days ahead of time,” laments Karel Schrijver of Lockheed Martin’s Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory in Palo Alto, California. With a period of maximum solar activity expected to begin this year, space-weather centers are adding staff and hoping for the best. “We’re trying to understand how space weather percolates into society and just how bad it can get,” says Schrijver. “The morally right thing to do once you’ve identified a threat of this magnitude is to be prepared. It’s like earthquakes in San Francisco. Not preparing for it has intolerable consequences.”
Few objects seem as familiar as the sun—there it is, up in the sky every sunny day—yet few are so strange. Look through a solar telescope, and the quotidian yellow disk is transformed into a dynamic wonderland, where planet-size prominences rise into black space like glowing jellyfish, only to loop and slither back hours or days later, as if enthralled by some unseen force.
As indeed they are. Neither solid, liquid, nor gas, the sun is made up of plasma, the “fourth state of matter,” which forms when atoms are stripped down to naked protons and electrons. All those charged particles make the solar plasma a splendid conductor of electricity—much more conductive than copper wire. The sun is also packed with magnetic fields. Most remain buried inside the sun’s massive girth, but some magnetic pipes, as thick as the Earth is wide, emerge on the surface as sunspots. This magnetism choreographs the slithery dance in the sun’s atmosphere and powers the solar wind, flinging outward a million tons of plasma every second at a million miles an hour.
Driving all this activity is the intriguingly intricate machinery of an unexceptional star. The sun’s core—a seething, 27-million-degree-Fahrenheit plasma spheroid six times as dense as gold—fuses 700 million tons of protons into helium nuclei every second, releasing the energy of ten billion hydrogen bombs in the process. The core throbs gently, expanding when fusion rates climb and contracting when they damp down. Superimposed on this slow, deep heartbeat are myriad other rhythms, ranging from an 11-year sunspot cycle to rhythms spanning centuries.
The energy produced by the fusion in the sun’s core is carried outward by high-energy photons as they ricochet through a dense maze of ions and electrons. Matter is so tightly packed in this radiation zone that it takes more than 100,000 years for the photons to emerge into the surrounding convection zone, 70 percent of the way out from the solar center. After a month or so more, the photons emerge into the photosphere, the part of the sun that we see. From there, it takes a mere eight minutes for them to reach Earth as sunlight.
As one might expect, this titanic thermonuclear furnace makes a lot of noise. “The sun rings like a bell in millions of distinct tones,” notes Mark Miesch of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. The tones generate ripples on the solar surface, which scientists study to map currents deep in the convection zone, a discipline called helioseismology. Information conveyed by helioseismic sensors aboard NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite recently enabled Stanford University researchers to detect magnetic bundles 40,000 miles below the solar surface and to predict their emergence, days later, as sunspots.
Such data provide crucial information on how solar storms form. The sun functions as a gigantic dynamo, with global magnetic field lines encircling it from pole to pole like a birdcage. Local field lines, entangled with plasma in the convection zone, twist and kink and poke through the surface, forming loops made visible by the hot, glowing plasma. When loops cross, they can essentially short-circuit, causing the tremendous plasma explosions called solar flares. Such flares release the energy equivalent of hundreds of millions of megatons of TNT, spewing x-rays and gamma rays into space and accelerating charged particles to nearly the velocity of light.
The Carrington event consisted of a powerful solar flare that produced the second of a rare pair of coronal mass ejections (CMEs)—gigantic magnetic eruptions of heated plasma belched into space. The first CME probably reached Earth in a normal span of 40 to 60 hours, clearing a path through the solar wind for the second one to make the trip in a mere 17 hours. Their combined impact squashed the Earth’s magnetosphere—where the planet’s magnetic field interacts with the solar wind—down from its normal altitude of 40,000 miles to 4,000 miles, temporarily eliminating the Van Allen radiation belts girdling the planet. Charged particles entering the upper atmosphere set off intense auroras over much of the Earth. Some people thought their cities had caught fire.
A Carrington-class super storm probably occurs only once in several centuries. But even storms of much smaller magnitude can cause considerable damage, especially as humans become increasingly dependent on technology deployed in space. Solar storms disrupt the ionosphere—the layer of Earth’s atmosphere where auroras occur, more than 60 miles above the Earth’s surface. The pilots of the nearly 11,000 commercial flights routed over the north polar region each year rely on shortwave radio signals bouncing off the ionosphere to communicate above 80 degrees of latitude, beyond the range of communications satellites orbiting over the Equator. When space weather disrupts the ionosphere and interrupts shortwave communications, pilots are obliged to change course, which can cost $100,000 a flight. A flustered ionosphere deranges GPS signals as well, resulting in positioning errors that can be more than 150 feet. This means that surveyors must pack up and go home, floating oil-drilling rigs have trouble remaining on station, and pilots cannot rely on the increasingly popular GPS-based systems employed for landing at many airfields.
UV light emitted during solar flares can also disturb satellite orbits by heating up the atmosphere, which increases drag. NASA estimates that the International Space Station descends more than a thousand feet a day when the sun is acting up. Solar storms could also affect the electronics on communications satellites, turning them into “zombie-sats,” adrift in orbit and dead to the world.
Unlike satellites in space, most power grids have no built-in protection against the onslaught of a powerful geomagnetic storm. Since large transformers are grounded to the Earth, geomagnetic storms can induce currents that could cause them to overheat, catch fire, or explode. The damage could be catastrophic. According to John Kappenman of Storm Analysis Consultants, who studies the impact of space weather on the electrical grid, a solar storm like one that took place in May 1921 would today turn out the lights over half of North America. One on the order of the 1859 event could take out the entire grid, sending hundreds of millions of people back to a pre-electric way of life for weeks or perhaps months on end. In Kappenman’s words, we’re “playing Russian roulette with the sun.”
At least we’re not playing blindfolded. In 1859 the world had few tools for studying the sun, beyond telescopes and a handful of magnetic monitoring stations. Today scientists constantly monitor our home star with an imposing armada of satellites that can take images in x-ray and ultraviolet wavelengths blocked by Earth’s atmosphere. The venerable ACE (Advanced Composition Explorer) spacecraft, launched in August 1997 and still going strong, monitors the solar wind from an orbit around the L1 libation point, a stable gravitational spot located a million miles sun-ward of the Earth. SOHO, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, carries a dozen detectors that record everything from high-speed solar-wind protons to low-speed solar oscillations. STEREO consists of a pair of satellites, one preceding and the other trailing Earth in its orbit, that together take 3-D solar images revealing how coronal mass ejections loft off the sun’s surface and speed out through space. Meanwhile the Solar Dynamics Observatory, launched into a geosynchronous orbit in February 2010, downloads 1.5 terabytes of data every day on the sun’s atmosphere, oscillations, and magnetic field.
Yet much remains to be done. “Space weather is where terrestrial weather was 50 years ago,” says physicist Douglas Biesecker of NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado. Because the impact of a storm depends in part on how its magnetic field aligns with that of the Earth, scientists cannot be sure of the storm’s intensity until it reaches the ACE satellite—sometimes a mere 20 minutes before it slams into Earth.
So researchers concentrate on forecasting a storm’s potential strength and its likely arrival time, giving vulnerable systems time to prepare. Last October the NOAA group inaugurated a new computer model, called Enlil after the Sumerian god of winds, that can predict when a CME will hit Earth, plus or minus six hours—twice as accurate as previous forecasts. The modeling is complex, in part because CMEs can interact strongly with the normal solar wind, making their progress as unpredictable as that of a running back through a defensive line. The uncertainties notwithstanding, Enlil’s forecast for the arrival of a potentially major storm on March 8 of this year was off by a mere 45 minutes. That storm turned out to be a bit of a dud. We may not be so lucky next time.
“We haven’t seen anything big in this solar cycle yet,” says Biesecker. “But now we know that when the big one comes, we’ll be able to nail it.”
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