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Latest Solar flare Stories

64b6ef7e136cfba7301bed7e49af1fb21
2008-12-15 11:05:00

Solar flares are the most powerful explosions in the solar system. Packing a punch equal to a hundred million hydrogen bombs, they obliterate everything in their immediate vicinity. Not a single atom should remain intact. At least that's how it's supposed to work. "We've detected a stream of perfectly intact hydrogen atoms shooting out of an X-class solar flare," says Richard Mewaldt of the California Institute of Technology. "What a surprise! If we can understand how these atoms were...

ab2d70c1d8f380b633978ac56b80a86e1
2008-12-12 13:21:44

Members of the MESSENGER science team will present a range of new findings from the spacecraft's studies of the planet Mercury during the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting next week in San Francisco. "The principal goal of the MESSENGER mission is to gather global observations of Mercury from orbit about the planet, beginning in 2011, but our first two flybys produced a wonderful abundance of new information about the least known of our sister planets," says MESSENGER Principal...

b036d8661be868e6605ecab54781f36e1
2008-11-07 12:55:00

After two-plus years of few sunspots, even fewer solar flares, and a generally eerie calm, the sun is finally showing signs of life. "I think solar minimum is behind us," says sunspot forecaster David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. His statement is prompted by an October flurry of sunspots. "Last month we counted five sunspot groups," he says. That may not sound like much, but in a year with record-low numbers of sunspots and long stretches of utter spotlessness, five is...

4310b3524879f965498ed6a42d582b43
2008-11-04 12:30:00

The development of a magnetic shield could have great implications for the future of space travel. Space weather is the single greatest obstacle to deep space travel, according to international space agencies. Radiation from the sun and cosmic rays pose a deadly threat to astronauts in space. Scientists announced on Tuesday that a spaceship equipped with a magnetic field generator could reduce the threat to acceptable levels. The magnetic field generator mimics the protective field that...

c5f134ebceab44dd8ad57185125a17be
2008-10-02 15:25:00

Scientists using NASA's RHESSI spacecraft have measured the roundness of the sun with unprecedented precision. They find that it is not a perfect sphere. During years of high solar activity the sun develops a thin "cantaloupe skin" that significantly increases its apparent oblateness: the sun's equatorial radius becomes slightly larger than its polar radius. Their results appear the Oct. 2nd edition of Science Express. "The sun is the biggest and therefore smoothest object in the solar...

ea2650f1b8e32b84964d298463d76930
2008-10-01 06:50:00

Astronomers who count sunspots have announced that 2008 is now the "blankest year" of the Space Age. As of Sept. 27, 2008, the sun had been blank, i.e., had no visible sunspots, on 200 days of the year. To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go back to 1954, three years before the launch of Sputnik, when the sun was blank 241 times. "Sunspot counts are at a 50-year low," says solar physicist David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. "We're experiencing a deep minimum...

8843cf5d5bbc14ec468a8b347b48f4701
2008-09-08 10:28:31

Next April, for a grand total of 8 minutes, NASA astronomers are going to glimpse a secret layer of the sun. Researchers call it "the transition region." It is a place in the sun's atmosphere, about 5000 km above the stellar surface, where magnetic fields overwhelm the pressure of matter and seize control of the sun's gases. It's where solar flares explode, where coronal mass ejections begin their journey to Earth, where the solar wind is mysteriously accelerated to a million mph. It is, in...

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2008-08-29 09:10:00

A new cycle of solar activity, which will reach its peak in 2011-2012, will bring large emissions of radiation and cause social unrest on the Earth, Academic Adviser of the Russian Academy of Engineering Sciences Yuri Zaitsev told Interfax-AVN. "Scientists expect a new cycle of solar activity and are trying to predict what the 24th cycle would be like. The cycle begins with a series of major solar flares, which shows that the entire period will not be easy," he said. He said the largest...

d40b3748e388890316c3634f017f6f721
2008-08-21 07:25:00

What if you woke up one morning and found your whole planet had been swallowed by the atmosphere of a star? Get out of bed, look out the window. Auroras are dancing along the horizon. Dark sunspots crackle overhead"”each little 'pop' more powerful than a nuclear bomb. On TV, a weather forecaster warns astronauts, "a solar flare is sure to erupt," although he can't say exactly when. Moments later, the satellite signal begins to flicker. Where is this place? Welcome to planet Earth. "It's...

5e36509ce509474f7540e33acbc9a01c
2008-07-12 17:50:00

Stop the presses! The sun is behaving normally. So says NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. "There have been some reports lately that Solar Minimum is lasting longer than it should. That's not true. The ongoing lull in sunspot number is well within historic norms for the solar cycle." This report, that there's nothing to report, is newsworthy because of a growing buzz in lay and academic circles that something is wrong with the sun. Sun Goes Longer Than Normal Without Producing Sunspots...


Latest Solar flare Reference Libraries

6_b41df2b5116346e900bfb8a97da136be2
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...

6_9f9676753bcc717a861f93bfceb7d2f82
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...

6_4d16b7c37ad5d88de63c76846431dbc72
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...

4_d3a853c28ff70a676427cf8e42fced4f2
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...

4_641fa07d2f22a90aec48fb5581337d772
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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