Latest Solar flare Stories

2011-02-18 05:55:00

A surge of charged plasma particles from a massive solar eruption has brushed off the Earth's northern pole, producing auroras and disrupting some radio communications, according to NASA scientists. However, the Earth appears to have dodged a widespread geomagnetic storm, with the effects confined to the northern latitudes, possibly as far south as Canada and Norway. "There can be sporadic outages based on particular small-scale events," said Dean Persnell, project scientist at NASA's Solar...

2011-02-16 13:20:00

Observers say that the Sun has unleashed its strongest flare in four years. The eruption was an X-flare, which is the strongest type of flare that can affect communications on Earth. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft recorded an intense flash of extreme ultraviolet radiation emanating from a sunspot. The British Geological Survey (BGS) issued a geomagnetic storm warning and said that observers might be able to see auroras from the northern U.K. The flare was recorded on...

2011-02-06 14:15:00

Dr. Tony Phillips, NASA's Heliophysics News Team On Feb. 6th, NASA's twin STEREO probes moved into position on opposite sides of the sun, and they are now beaming back uninterrupted images of the entire star"”front and back. "For the first time ever, we can watch solar activity in its full 3-dimensional glory," says Angelos Vourlidas, a member of the STEREO science team at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, DC. "This is a big moment in solar physics," says Vourlidas. "STEREO has...

2011-02-01 14:54:40

By Dr. Tony Phillips, Science @ NASA It's a calm and peaceful night. Stars twinkle in the velvety darkness overhead as a distant plane blinks silently on the horizon. You could almost hear a pin drop. That is, until the flare. High overhead, out of the darkness, a bright light surges into view. For 5 to 10 seconds it outshines the brightest stars in the sky, mimicking a supernova, perhaps even casting faint shadows at your feet. The silence is broken by your own excited shouts. Could this...

2011-01-25 08:12:20

NASA has formed a partnership with Spaceweather.com to engage the amateur astronomy community to submit the best images of the orbiting NanoSail-D solar sail. NanoSail-D unfurled the first ever 100-square-foot solar sail in low-Earth orbit on Jan. 20. To encourage observations of NanoSail-D, Spaceweather.com is offering prizes for the best images of this historic, pioneering spacecraft in the amounts of $500 (grand prize), $300 (first prize) and $100 (second prize). The contest is open to all...

2011-01-10 13:30:00

A deep survey of more than 200,000 stars in our Milky Way galaxy has unveiled the sometimes petulant behavior of tiny red dwarf stars. These stars, which are smaller than the Sun, can unleash powerful eruptions called flares that may release the energy of more than 100 million atomic bombs. Red dwarfs are the most abundant stars in our universe and are presumably hosts to numerous planets. However, their erratic behavior could make life unpleasant, if not impossible, for many alien worlds....

2011-01-06 15:10:00

The Crab Nebula, one of our best-known and most stable neighbors in the winter sky, is shocking scientists with a propensity for fireworks"”gamma-ray flares set off by the most energetic particles ever traced to a specific astronomical object. The discovery, reported today by scientists working with two orbiting telescopes, is leading researchers to rethink their ideas of how cosmic particles are accelerated. "We were dumbfounded," said Roger Blandford, who directs the Kavli Institute...

2010-12-29 10:25:00

2011 could bring more space weather as the Sun pulls out of a trough of low activity and heads into a long-awaited and possibly destructive period of turbulence. Many people may be surprised to find out that the Sun goes through moments of calm and tempest. However, two centuries of observation have revealed that our star follows an 11-year cycle of behavior. The latest cycle started in 1996 for reasons that are unclear, but it has taken longer than expected to end. Experts say that there...

2010-12-14 10:00:00

New software developed by ESA makes available online to everyone, everywhere at anytime, the entire library of images from the SOHO solar and heliospheric observatory. Just download the viewer and begin exploring the Sun. JHelioviewer is new visualization software that enables everyone to explore the Sun. Developed as part of the ESA/NASA Helioviewer Project, it provides a desktop program that enables users to call up images of the Sun from the past 15 years. More than a million images from...

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...

Latest Solar flare Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Photosphere -- The photosphere of an astronomical object is the region at which the optical depth becomes one. In other words, the photosphere is the place where an object stops being transparent. It is typically used to describe the Sun or another star. Because stars are large balls of gas, they have no solid surface. However, there is a depth at which the gas stops being transparent to photons, and this depth provides a visual surface to the star. The Sun's photosphere has a...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Corona -- The corona is the luminous "atmosphere" of the Sun extending millions of kilometers into space, most easily seen during a total solar eclipse. An interesting feature of the corona is the fact that it is much hotter than the visible "surface" of the Sun; the photosphere is approximately 6000°C compared to the corona at over one million °C. The corona is much less dense than the photosphere, however, and so produces less light. The exact mechanism by which the corona is...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Chromosphere -- The chromosphere (literally, "color sphere") is a thin layer of the Sun's atmosphere just above the photosphere, roughly 10,000 kilometers deep. The chromosphere is more visually transparent than the photosphere. The most common solar feature within the chromosphere are spicules, long thin fingers of luminous gas which appear like the blades of a huge field of fiery grass growing upwards from the photosphere below. Spicules rise to the top of the chromosphere and then sink...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Solar Wind -- Solar wind, a stream of particles (mostly high-energy protons ~ 500 Kev) that is continually ejected from the surface of the Sun. The composition of this plasma is identical to the Sun's corona, 73% hydrogen and 25% helium with the remainder as trace impurities, and is ionized. Near Earth, the velocity of the solar wind varies from 200km/s-889km/s. The average is 450 km/s. Approximately 3000 tons of material is lost from the Sun every hour as solar wind. Since solar...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Solar Maximum -- The Sun, a roiling ball of plasma, occupies its place in space approximately 93 million miles from Earth. Though it seems simple to inhabitants of this planet -- the Sun shines, giving light and heat -- the processes occurring in the Sun are so complex that many scientists devote their careers to just one aspect of solar activity. Changes in the activity of the Sun particularly engage solar scientists. Whether fluctuations in the solar magnetic field, expulsions of...

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