Latest Solar flare Stories

2009-10-28 06:15:00

Every 11 years, the sun undergoes a furious upheaval. Dark sunspots burst forth from beneath the sun's surface. Explosions as powerful as a billion atomic bombs spark intense flares of high-energy radiation. Clouds of gas big enough to swallow planets break away from the sun and billow into space. It's a flamboyant display of stellar power. So why can't we see any of it? Almost none of the drama of Solar Maximum is visible to the human eye. Look at the sun in the noontime sky...

2009-09-17 09:21:46

Challenging conventional wisdom, new research finds that the number of sunspots provides an incomplete measure of changes in the Sun's impact on Earth over the course of the 11-year solar cycle. The study, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Michigan, finds that Earth was bombarded last year with high levels of solar energy at a time when the Sun was in an unusually quiet phase and sunspots had virtually disappeared. "The Sun...

2009-08-18 09:14:07

The mystery of why temperatures in the sun's outer atmosphere are higher than near the sun's surface may have been solved by Japan's Hinode satellite. James Klimchuk, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center's Solar Physics Laboratory, says new observations by that satellite have revealed why temperatures in the solar corona, the sun's outer atmosphere, soar to several million degrees Kelvin -- much higher than temperatures nearer the sun's surface. The answer is nanoflares --...

2009-08-14 14:44:00

GREENBELT, Md., Aug. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Solar physicists at NASA have confirmed that small, sudden bursts of heat and energy, called nanoflares, cause temperatures in the thin, translucent gas of the sun's atmosphere to reach millions of degrees. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) The sun's outer atmosphere, or corona, is made up of loops of hot gas that arch high above the surface. These loops are comprised of bundles of smaller, individual...

2009-08-14 15:05:22

"Why is the sun's corona so darned hot?" asks James Klimchuk, an astrophysicist at the Goddard Space Flight Center's Solar Physics Laboratory in Greenbelt, Md. The mystery of why temperatures in the solar corona, the sun's outer atmosphere, soar to several million degrees Kelvin (K) "”much hotter than temperatures nearer the sun's surface"”has puzzled scientists for decades. New observations made with instruments aboard Japan's Hinode satellite reveal the culprit to be...

2009-06-18 15:00:00

First model of entire sunspots shows striking, beautiful detail In a breakthrough that will help scientists unlock mysteries of the sun and its impacts on Earth, scientists have created the first-ever comprehensive computer model of sunspots. The resulting visuals capture both scientific detail and remarkable beauty. The results are published this week in a paper in Science Express. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The high-resolution simulations of...

2009-06-18 02:15:00

PARIS, June 18 /PRNewswire/ -- PARIS AIR SHOW -- The Solar X-ray Imager (SXI) instrument, designed and built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) at its Space Systems Advanced Technology Center (ATC) is ready for flight. Built for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Md., SXI is awaiting launch - scheduled for June 26 - on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) GOES-O spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. SXI is one of a suite of...

2009-06-04 06:15:00

In 1972, Apollo astronauts narrowly escaped a potential catastrophe. On August 2nd of that year, a large and angry sunspot appeared and began to erupt, over and over again for more than a week, producing a record-setting fusillade of solar proton radiation. Only pure luck saved the day. The eruptions took place during the gap between Apollo 16 and 17 missions, so astronauts missed the storm. Researchers still wonder, what would have happened if the timing had been just a little different,...

2009-05-29 16:25:00

An international panel of experts led by NOAA and sponsored by NASA has released a new prediction for the next solar cycle. Solar Cycle 24 will peak, they say, in May 2013 with a below-average number of sunspots. "If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since 1928 when Solar Cycle 16 peaked at 78," says panel chairman Doug Biesecker of the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center. "Even a below-average cycle is capable of...

2009-04-29 08:55:00

Scientists have found that extreme solar activity drastically compresses the magnetosphere and modifies the composition of ions in near-Earth space. They are now looking to model how these changes affect orbiting satellites, including the GPS system. The results were obtained from coordinated in-situ measurements performed by ESA's four Cluster satellites along with the two Chinese/ESA Double Star satellites. Under normal solar conditions, GPS satellites orbit within the...

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...

More Articles (6 articles) »
Word of the Day
  • A cloth or covering, more or less ornamented, laid over the saddle or furniture of a horse, especially of a sumpter-horse or horse of state.
  • Clothing, especially sumptuous clothing; equipment; outfit.
  • To cover with a caparison, as a horse.
  • To dress sumptuously; adorn with rich dress.
This word ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin 'cappa,' cloak.