Archive for category The Sun

X Class Solar Flares Should Be Here Today Or Tomorrow

And you thought tornadoes and hurricanes were bad? Around 7:00 pm on Tuesday March 6, 2012 a powerful solar storm on the surface of our sun, unleashed the largest solar flare recorded this year. Much like earthquakes, hurricanes and your Facebook comments, solar flares are measured on a rating scale. Based on the scale for solar flares which runs from A, B, C, M and X. An A solar flare is the weakest and of course, an X would be the strongest. Tuesday’s flare rated an X 5.4 class flare.

Both NASA’s Stereo-B spacecraft and its Solar Dynamics Observatory observed the coronal mass ejections which erupted from the solar flares. One of the two also captured the images seen in this post. Neat huh?

Much like the storm that created the Fantastic Four, this X-class (not to be confused with the X-Men) flare could disrupt satellite communications, power grids and produce exciting auroras at both poles. Solar flares occur all the time however they are not always ejected towards the Earth. Presently the sun is in a very active period which happens every eleven years or so.

The flares could cause a geomagnetic storm on Earth. Wikipedia states, in language I am too ignorant to fully understand; A geomagnetic storm is a temporary disturbance of the Earth’s magnetosphere caused by a disturbance in the interplanetary medium. A geomagnetic storm is a major component of space weather and provides the input for many other components of space weather. A geomagnetic storm is caused by a solar wind shock wave and/or cloud of magnetic field which interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field.

The two ejections on Tuesday followed another powerful solar flare that took place on Sunday. It is possible that you won’t have power to keep your refrigerator going and it might be possible that you won’t be able to call your friends on your cell phones but with a little ingenuity we should be able to get passed this. If not, “Flame On!

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Amazing Astronomical Photography

Image by NASA: Hubble Space Telescope
Three colliding galaxies around 100 million light years away.
Three Galaxies

Image by JPL / NASA
The splendor to the Orion Nebula
Orion Nebula

Image by NASA
The Omega Nebula
Omega Nebula

Image by NASA
The Eagle Nebula
Eagle Nebula

Image by NASA and ESA
The Sombrero Galaxy in the Constellation Virgo
Sombrero Galaxy

Image by NASA and ESA
A 50 light year across view of the much larger Carina Nebula
Carina Nebula

Image by NASA and ESA
A nebula in Sagittarius close to 8000 light years away.
Sagittarian Nebula

Image by ESA and NASA
Region of space where numerous galaxies are behind this blue and brown nebula
Blue And Brown Nebula

Image by NASA
Crab Nebula, the result of a supernova seen by Chinese and Japanese astronomers in 1054
Crab Nebula

Image by JPL and NASA
Saturn’s moon Hyperion appearing to be spongy in texture.

Image by John Hopkins Physics Lab / NASA / Carnegie Institute of Washington
Cratered surface of Mercury.

Image by NASA Hubble Telescope
M51 Whirlppol Galaxy discovered by Messier in 1774.
M51 galaxy

Image courtesy JPL website.
Our solar systems heavenly bodies. (only clickable link on page)

Image by NASA
Sol, far side imagery of our Sun’s prominence.

Image by amateur astronomer Jack Newton
Comet Lulin seen February 2009.



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