Tag Archives: Solar Flare

Thanksgiving Eruptions On the Sun

via http://www.nasa.gov/

On Nov. 23, 2012, at 8:54 a.m. EST, the sun erupted with an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection or CME. Experimental NASA research models, based on observations from the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) and the ESA/NASA mission the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, show that the Nov. 23 CME left the sun at speeds of 375 miles per second, which is a slow to average speed for CMEs. This is the third Earth-directed CME since Nov. 20.

Not to be confused with a solar flare, a CME is a solar phenomenon that can send solar particles into space and can reach Earth one to three days later. When Earth-directed, CMEs can cause a space weather phenomenon called a geomagnetic storm, which occurs when CMEs successfully connect up with the outside of the Earth’s magnetic envelope, the magnetosphere, for an extended period of time. In the past, CMEs of this speed have not usually caused substantial geomagnetic storms. They have caused auroras near the poles but are unlikely to cause disruptions to electrical systems on Earth or interfere with GPS or satellite-based communications systems.

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (http://swpc.noaa.gov) is the United States Government official source for space weather forecasts.”

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Emerging Sunspot Releases Mid-level Solar Flare

via NASA.gov http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/news/News081812-M5.6flare.html

SDO recorded this view of an M5.6 class solar flare at 9:01pm EDT on August 17, 2012.

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NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this image of an M-class flare on August 17, 2012, at 9:01 PM EDT. The flare, seen on the left (or east) side of the sun from an active region that has not yet been named, and is just rotating into view. The image is colorized in teal, which is typical for showing light in the 131 Angstrom wavelength — a wavelength particularly good for viewing solar flares. Credit: NASA/SDO 

On August 17, the sun emitted a mid-level flare, peaking at 9:02 PM EDT. Solar flares are gigantic bursts of radiation that cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to harm humans on the ground, however when strong enough they can disrupt GPS and communications signals.

The flare is classified as an M5.6 class flare. M-class flares can cause brief radio blackouts at the poles and minor radiation storms that might endanger astronauts.

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