Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 15:29 EDT

Latest Solar flare Stories

2008-07-02 14:05:00

When you flip a light switch to illuminate the pages of your favorite book or reach into your refrigerator for that last piece of key lime pie, you expect the electric current coursing through the outlets to power everything from your lights to your nifty new big-screen television. When the power goes out, it can be more than just an inconvenience. NASA's Solar Shield experiment explores how timely space weather forecasts can help power companies keep the power flowing to the many appliances...

2008-06-09 13:25:00

The sun has been laying low for the past couple of years, producing no sunspots and giving a break to satellites.That's good news for people who scramble when space weather interferes with their technology, but it became a point of discussion for the scientists who attended an international solar conference at Montana State University. Approximately 100 scientists from Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and North America gathered June 1-6 to talk about "Solar Variability, Earth's Climate and...

2008-05-29 12:50:00

GREENBELT, Md. -- Scientists at NASA reveal a new understanding of the mysterious mechanism responsible for heating the outer part of the solar atmosphere, the corona, to million degree temperatures. "It has become clear in recent years that coronal heating is a highly dynamic process, but inconsistencies between observations and theoretical models have been a major source of heartburn. We have now discovered two possible solutions to this dilemma: energy is released impulsively with the...

2008-05-29 12:50:00

GREENBELT, Md. -- NASA scientists have uncovered new details about how plasma from superstorms interact with Earth's magnetosphere. "The surprising result of this model is that the magnetosphere's main phase pressure is dominated by energetic protons from the plasmasphere, rather than from the solar wind," says Mei-Ching Fok, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Fok and her team will present their findings on May 29 at the American Geophysical Union...

2008-05-20 09:50:00

On April 25, NASA's Swift satellite picked up the brightest flare ever seen from a normal star other than our Sun. The flare, an explosive release of energy from a star, packed the power of thousands of solar flares. It would have been visible to the naked eye if the star had been easily observable in the night sky at the time.The star, known as EV Lacertae, isn't much to write home about. It's a run-of-the-mill red dwarf, by far the most common type of star in the universe. It shines with...

2008-05-19 06:00:00

Many solar scientists expected the new sunspot cycle to be a whopper, a prolonged solar tantrum that could fry satellites and raise hell with earthly communications, the power grid and modern electronics. But there's scant proof Sunspot Cycle 24 is even here, let alone the debut of big trouble. So far there have been just a couple minor zits on the face of the sun to suggest the old cycle is over and the new one is coming. The roughly 11-year cycle of sunspot activity should have bottomed...

2008-05-07 08:00:00

At 11:18 AM on the cloudless morning of Thursday, September 1, 1859, 33-year-old Richard Carrington"”widely acknowledged to be one of England's foremost solar astronomers"”was in his well-appointed private observatory. Just as usual on every sunny day, his telescope was projecting an 11-inch-wide image of the sun on a screen, and Carrington skillfully drew the sunspots he saw. On that morning, he was capturing the likeness of an enormous group of sunspots. Suddenly, before his...

2008-04-18 08:40:00

Data from the ESA/NASA spacecraft SOHO shows clearly that powerful starquakes ripple around the Sun in the wake of mighty solar flares that explode above its surface. The observations give solar physicists new insight into a long-running solar mystery and may even provide a way of studying other stars. The outermost quarter of the Sun's interior is a constantly churning maelstrom of hot gas. Turbulence in this region causes ripples that criss-cross the solar surface, making it heave up...

2008-04-02 09:25:00

A plethora of latest results from the Hinode solar observatory contains a wealth of new discoveries. This includes the discovery of a source of the slow solar wind and the observation of a superhot micro flare.Source of the slow solar windAn international team of scientists, led by Prof. Louise Harra, University College London, Mullard Space Science Laboratory, has found a source of the stream of particles that make up the slow solar wind using data from Hinode and SOHO. The solar wind can...

2008-03-30 09:45:00

Solar Cycle 23, how can we miss you if you won't go away? Barely three months after forecasters announced the beginning of new Solar Cycle 24, old Solar Cycle 23 has returned. (Actually, it never left. Read on.) "This week, three big sunspots appeared and they are all old cycle spots," says NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. "We know this because of their magnetic polarity." On March 28th the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) made this magnetic map of the sun: It shows the north and...

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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