Latest Coronal mass ejection Stories

2010-12-13 13:55:00

On August 1, 2010, an entire hemisphere of the sun erupted. Filaments of magnetism snapped and exploded, shock waves raced across the stellar surface, billion-ton clouds of hot gas billowed into space. Astronomers knew they had witnessed something big. It was so big, it may have shattered old ideas about solar activity. "The August 1st event really opened our eyes," says Karel Schrijver of Lockheed Martin's Solar and Astrophysics Lab in Palo Alto, CA. "We see that solar storms can be global...

2010-12-13 12:00:00

PALO ALTO, Calif., Dec. 13, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- A serendipitous alignment of high-powered spaceborne solar instruments-designed and built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)-has finally provided the data allowing scientists to uncover the physical mechanism behind so-called "sympathetic flares" on the Sun. For over 75 years, solar physicists have been observing near-synchronous explosions in the solar atmosphere, and have wondered whether they were somehow related, but hard evidence for...

2010-12-07 14:25:00

Our Sun can be a menace when it sends out powerful solar blasts of radiation towards the Earth. Astronomers keenly watch the Sun to learn more about what powers these solar eruptions, in hopes of being able to predict them. New research shows that one-third of the Sun's blasts are "sneak attacks" that may occur without warning. "If space weather forecasters rely on some of the traditional danger signs, they'll miss a significant fraction of solar eruptions," said Suli Ma of the...

2010-12-01 14:19:55

On December 2, 1995, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory or SOHO was launched into space from Cape Canaveral aboard an Atlas IIAS rocket. The joint ESA/NASA project began its work observing the sun at a time when the term "solar weather" was almost never used. Fifteen years later, SOHO has revolutionized what we know about the solar atmosphere and violent solar storms produced by the sun. SOHO has become an expert comet-hunter, nightly news leader and a workhorse that helped create the...

2010-11-19 07:20:00

By Karen C. Fox, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Solar flares "“ they're big and they're fast. They can knock out a satellite or create a beautiful aurora. And the jury is still out on what causes these explosions. Flares, and the related coronal mass ejection, shoot energy, radiation, and magnetic fields out into space that can harm satellites or humans in space. Current observations aren't precise enough to determine whether the eruptions are driven by energy surging through the...

2010-11-08 08:50:00

News from the 52nd annual meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics The Sun sporadically expels trillions of tons of million-degree hydrogen gas in explosions called coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Such clouds are enormous in size (spanning millions of miles) and are made up of magnetized plasma gases, so hot that hydrogen atoms are ionized. CMEs are rapidly accelerated by magnetic forces to speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second to upwards of 2,000 kilometers per second in several...

2010-10-27 06:15:00

Every hundred years or so, a solar storm comes along so potent it fills the skies of Earth with blood-red auroras, makes compass needles point in the wrong direction, and sends electric currents coursing through the planet's topsoil. The most famous such storm, the Carrington Event of 1859, actually shocked telegraph operators and set some of their offices on fire. A 2008 report by the National Academy of Sciences warns that if such a storm occurred today, we could experience widespread power...

2010-10-15 11:25:00

After detailed analysis of data from the SOHO and GOES spacecraft, a team of European scientists has been able to shed new light on the role of solar flares in the total output of radiation from our nearest star. Their surprising conclusion is that X-rays account for only about 1 per cent of the total energy emitted by these explosive events. Flares are sudden energy releases in the Sun's atmosphere that occur when the solar magnetic field is locally unstable. When the magnetic field lines...

2010-09-22 09:35:00

Solar storms don't always travel in a straight line. But once they start heading in our direction, they can accelerate rapidly, gathering steam for a harder hit on Earth's magnetic field. So say researchers who have been using data from NASA's twin STEREO spacecraft to unravel the 3D structure of solar storms. Their findings were presented in the Sept. 21 issue of Nature Communications. "This really surprised us," says co-author Peter Gallagher of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. "Solar...

2010-08-31 11:00:00

Just as we grow used to satellite navigation in everyday life, media reports argue that a coming surge in solar activity could render satnav devices useless, perhaps even frying satellites themselves. Is it true? No. It is a fact that variations in the gigantic unshielded fusion reactor we call the Sun have effects that extend far out into the Solar System. And the solar activity follows a roughly 11-year "Ëœsunspot cycle'. That means the next "Ëœsolar maximum' "“...

Word of the Day
  • The navel or umbilicus.
  • In Greek archaeology: A central boss, as on a shield, a bowl, etc.
  • A sacred stone in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, believed by the Greeks to mark the 'navel' or exact center-point of the earth.
'Omphalos' comes from the ancient Greek.