Latest Coronal mass ejection Stories

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' "“...

2010-08-03 06:45:00

Sky viewers might get to enjoy some spectacular Northern Lights, or aurorae, in the early morning hours of August 4th. After a long slumber, the Sun is waking up. Early Sunday morning, the Sun's surface erupted and blasted tons of plasma (ionized atoms) into interplanetary space. That plasma is headed our way, and when it arrives, it could create a spectacular light show. "This eruption is directed right at us, and is expected to get here early in the day on August 4th," said astronomer Leon...

2010-07-14 12:20:00

Scientists now say that a massive eruption from the sun in April might have caused the Galaxy 15 satellite to become a "zombie." According to the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), the explosion of plasma and magnetic energy occurred on April 3 and was observed by NASA's sun-watching STEREO spacecraft.  The NRL released new images of the solar storm last week. NRL officials said that the storm appears to have disabled Intelsat's Galaxy 15 communications satellite.  The zombie...

2010-04-21 14:00:00

NASA's recently launched Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, is returning early images that confirm an unprecedented new capability for scientists to better understand our sun's dynamic processes. These solar activities affect everything on Earth. Some of the images from the spacecraft show never-before-seen detail of material streaming outward and away from sunspots. Others show extreme close-ups of activity on the sun's surface. The spacecraft also has made the first high-resolution...

2010-04-14 12:25:00

Polar skies glowed with ghostly auroras last week during the biggest geomagnetic storm of 2010. The event owed its origin to a solar eruption a few days earlier "“ revealed here in high-speed detail by ESA's small Sun-watcher Proba-2. Eruptions like this one have several components, most notably solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). Solar flares are caused by sudden impulsive releases of magnetic energy from the surface of the Sun. The flare seen here took place at 11:54...

2010-04-14 09:07:53

Scientists from the University of Leicester have used observations from NASA's STEREO and ACE satellites to come up with more accurate predictions of when blasts of solar wind will reach Earth, Venus and Mars.  Anthony Williams will present the results at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Glasgow on Wednesday April 14th. We have recently been experiencing an unusually quiet and long-lasting solar minimum, and solar storms caused by Coronal Mass Ejections have been scarce. ...

Word of the Day
  • A Roman unit of weight, 1⁄1728 of a pound.
  • A weight of four grains used in weighing gold and precious stones; a carat.
  • In anatomy, a formation suggesting a husk or pod.
  • The lowest unit in the Roman coinage, the twenty-fourth part of a solidus.
  • A coin of base silver of the Gothic and Lombard kings of Italy.
'Siliqua' comes from a Latin word meaning 'a pod.'