24 January 2012

Stunning Pictures of Huge Sun Flare

A powerful solar eruption is expected to blast a stream of charged particles toward Earth tomorrow (Jan. 24), as the strongest radiation storm since 2005 rages on the sun.



CREDIT: NASA/SDO and the AIA Consortium/Edited by J. Major

Early this morning (0359 GMT Jan. 23, which corresponds to late Sunday, Jan. 22 at 10:59 p.m. EST), NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught an extreme ultraviolet flash from a huge eruption on the sun. About Sun Storms.

RADIATION STORM IN PROGRESS: Solar protons accelerated by this morning's M9-class solar flare are streaming past Earth. On the NOAA scale of radiation storms, this one ranks S3, which means it could, e.g., cause isolated reboots of computers onboard Earth-orbiting satellites and interfere with polar radio communications. An example of satellite effects: The "snow" in this SOHO coronagraph movie is caused by protons hitting the observatory's onboard camera.


"This was amazing," he says. "It was a wonderful experience to see these stunning auroras." For the next 24 hours, Earth's magnetic field reverberated from the impact, stirring bright auroras around the Arctic Circle. Bjørn Jørgensen observed this display from Tromsø, Norway:




NOAA forecasters estimate a 10% - 25% chance of continued geomagnetic storms tonight as effects from the CME impact subside. The odds will increase again on Jan. 24-25 as a new CME (from today's M9-clare) approaches Earth. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras.

Report Sources: Space Weather and Space.com

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