Latest Solar flare Stories

2011-04-18 09:25:07

Our Sun experiences regular eruptions of material into space, but solar physicists still have difficulty in explaining why these dramatic events take place. Now a group of scientists from the University of St Andrews think they have the answer: clouds of ionized gas (plasma) constrained by magnetic fields and known as 'plasmoids' that struggle to break free of the Sun's magnetic field. Dr Vasilis Archontis will present their work on Monday 18 April at the National Astronomy Meeting in...

2011-04-15 09:05:00

By Dr. Tony Phillips - Science@NASA If you've ever stood in front of a hot stove, watching a pot of water and waiting impatiently for it to boil, you know what it feels like to be a solar physicist. Back in 2008, the solar cycle plunged into the deepest minimum in nearly a century. Sunspots all but vanished, solar flares subsided, and the sun was eerily quiet. "Ever since, we've been waiting for solar activity to pick up," says Richard Fisher, head of the Heliophysics Division at NASA...

2011-03-11 09:18:11

The first calibrated measurements of solar irradiance made by the LYRA instrument on ESA's second PROBA (PRoject for On-Board Autonomy) satellite are now available to the scientific community. Future access to near-real-time data from both of the primary instruments on PROBA-2, SWAP and LYRA, is expected to provide new opportunities to study solar activity and space weather. The payload on PROBA-2 includes two complementary solar observation instruments, SWAP (Sun Watcher using Active pixel...

2011-02-21 08:50:00

Experts are warning of solar storms that could thrust our planet into chaos by disrupting computer activity and telecommunication systems on an international scale. Speaking at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Washington DC over the weekend, UK Chief Scientific Advisor John Beddington said that the "issue of space weather has got to be taken seriously." "We've had a relatively quiet [period] in space weather and we can expect that quiet period...

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....

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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  • A vial or small glass bottle, especially one for holding vinegar, oil, etc.; a caster for liquids.
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