Strong Solar Flares This Weekend A Big Double Wammy

(AURORA BOREALIS MAY BE VISIBLE TONIGHT!!!)

by Laura Geggel

Two powerful solar storms arriving at Earth today have captured the public’s attention for their potential to spark amazing auroras, but scientists say there’s another reason to watch. The solar double whammy is actually somewhat rare.

The particles from the two flares could interact as they head toward Earth, and researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center said they are monitoring the situation.

The sun unleashed a medium-sized flare on Monday (Sept. 8) followed by a second, larger flare, called an Earth-directed X-class flare, on Wednesday (Sept. 10). Both are from the same active sunspot region (Active Region 2158) and are directed at Earth, said Thomas Berger, director of the Space Weather Prediction Center, during a news conference yesterday (Sept. 11, 2014)…

(read more: Live Science)

images: Solar Dynamics Observatory - NASA and Accuweather

A solar flare, a sudden flash of brightness observed over the Sun's surface or the solar limb which is interpreted as a large energy release, recorded on August 31, 2012. Such flares are often, but not always, followed by a colossal coronal mass ejection; in this instance, the ejection traveled at over 900 miles (1,400 km) per second.
Photo: On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, traveled at over 900 miles per second. The CME did not travel directly toward Earth, but did connect with Earth’s magnetic environment, or magnetosphere, causing aurora to appear on the night of Monday, September 3. Pictured here is a lighten blended version of the 304 and 171 angstrom wavelengths taken from the Solar Dynamics Observatory.
(via: Wikipedia)

A solar flare, a sudden flash of brightness observed over the Sun's surface or the solar limb which is interpreted as a large energy release, recorded on August 31, 2012. Such flares are often, but not always, followed by a colossal coronal mass ejection; in this instance, the ejection traveled at over 900 miles (1,400 km) per second.

Photo: On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, traveled at over 900 miles per second. The CME did not travel directly toward Earth, but did connect with Earth’s magnetic environment, or magnetosphere, causing aurora to appear on the night of Monday, September 3. Pictured here is a lighten blended version of the 304 and 171 angstrom wavelengths taken from the Solar Dynamics Observatory.

(via: Wikipedia)

An underground neutrino detector has found particles produced by the fusion of two protons in the sun’s core

Deep inside the sun pairs of protons fuse to form heavier atoms, releasing mysterious particles called neutrinos in the process. These reactions are thought to be the first step in the chain responsible for 99 percent of the energy the sun radiates, but scientists have never found proof until now. For the first time, physicists have captured the elusive neutrinos produced by the sun’s basic proton fusion reactions…

On August 24, 2014, the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 8:16 a.m. EDT.

Here are some captured images of the flare, which erupted on the left side of the sun. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however — when intense enough — they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.

This flare is classified as an M5 flare. M-class flares are ten times less powerful than the most intense flares, called X-class flares.

Credit: NASA/Goddard/SDO

More here: NASA Little Solar Dynamics Observatory

A Look at Today’s Sun (July 10, 2014) 
This is a composite image and is one of my favorite views of our Sun!  This image combines three images with different, but very similar, temperatures. The colors are assigned differently than in the single images. Here AIA 211 is red, AIA 193 is green, and AIA 171 is blue. Each highlights a different part of the corona. 211 highlights the active region of the outer atmosphere of the Sun - the corona. Active regions, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections will appear bright here. The dark areas - called coronal holes - are places where very little radiation is emitted, yet are the main source of solar wind particles. The temperatures are about 3.6 million F…
(read more: NASA - Solar Dynamics Observatory)

A Look at Today’s Sun (July 10, 2014)

This is a composite image and is one of my favorite views of our Sun!

This image combines three images with different, but very similar, temperatures. The colors are assigned differently than in the single images. Here AIA 211 is red, AIA 193 is green, and AIA 171 is blue. Each highlights a different part of the corona.

211 highlights the active region of the outer atmosphere of the Sun - the corona. Active regions, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections will appear bright here. The dark areas - called coronal holes - are places where very little radiation is emitted, yet are the main source of solar wind particles. The temperatures are about 3.6 million F…

(read more: NASA - Solar Dynamics Observatory)

NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (Little SDO)
 A suite of NASA’s Sun-gazing spacecraft have spotted an unusual series of eruptions in which a series of fast puffs forced the slow ejection of a massive burst of solar material from the Sun’s atmosphere.
The eruptions took place over a period of three days, starting on Jan. 17, 2013. Nathalia Alzate, a solar scientist at the University of Aberystwyth in Wales, presented findings on what caused the puffs at the 2014 Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting in Portsmouth, England.

The sun’s outermost atmosphere, the corona, is made of magnetized solar material, called plasma, that has a temperature of millions of degrees and extends millions of miles into space. On January 17, the joint European Space Agency and NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, spacecraft observed puffs emanating from the base of the corona and rapidly exploding outwards into interplanetary space. The puffs occurred roughly once every three hours. After about 12 hours, a much larger eruption of material began, apparently eased out by the smaller-scale explosions…

(read more)

 A suite of NASA’s Sun-gazing spacecraft have spotted an unusual series of eruptions in which a series of fast puffs forced the slow ejection of a massive burst of solar material from the Sun’s atmosphere.

The eruptions took place over a period of three days, starting on Jan. 17, 2013. Nathalia Alzate, a solar scientist at the University of Aberystwyth in Wales, presented findings on what caused the puffs at the 2014 Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting in Portsmouth, England.
The sun’s outermost atmosphere, the corona, is made of magnetized solar material, called plasma, that has a temperature of millions of degrees and extends millions of miles into space. On January 17, the joint European Space Agency and NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, spacecraft observed puffs emanating from the base of the corona and rapidly exploding outwards into interplanetary space. The puffs occurred roughly once every three hours. After about 12 hours, a much larger eruption of material began, apparently eased out by the smaller-scale explosions…

NASA Observes A Solar Explosion In Unprecedented Detail

by Robert T. Gonzalez

In the video above, a tremendous sheet of solar material can be seen erupting from our parent star. Watch as it rapidly consumes a field of view five-Earths wide and seven-and-a-half-Earths tall, emanating outward from the sun at speeds of 1.5-million miles per hour. The view is unprecedented for IRIS, which launched in June of last year to observe the lowest levels of the sun’s atmosphere with better resolution than ever before.

Via NASA:

IRIS must commit to pointing at certain areas of the sun at least a day in advance, so catching a CME in the act involves some educated guesses and a little bit of luck.

"We focus in on active regions to try to see a flare or a CME," said Bart De Pontieu, the IRIS science lead at Lockheed Martin Solar & Astrophysics Laboratory in Palo Alto, California. "And then we wait and hope that we’ll catch something. This is the first clear CME for IRIS so the team is very excited."

(via: io9)

We Are Dead Stars 

Every atom in our bodies was fused in the body of an ancient star. NASA astronomer Dr. Michelle Thaller explains how the iron in our blood connects us to one of the most violent acts in the universe—a supernova explosion—and what the universe might look like when all the stars die out.

This video is a collaboration between The Atlantic and SoundVision Productions’ The Really Big Questions.  Listen to TRBQ’s one-hour radio special What is a Good Death? distributed by Public Radio International.

Courtesy of The Atlantic, The Really Big Questions

This is really neat guys! :3

This infographic shows you the insane scale of our solar system

by Ria Misra

You may have seen graphics comparing the objects in our solar system by size, but this visualization offers a slightly different spin on the theme, by comparing objects by their total mass. Plus, it also features 460 tiny versions of former planet Pluto bouncing off of Earth like a game of interstellar marbles.

The visualization is the work of astronomer Rhys Taylor, who also previously made a similar visualization comparing the size of the gas giants in our solar system by mass.

Check it out here:

How Big are the Gas Giants?

(via: io9)

Sun Unleashes Monster Solar Flare, Biggest of 2014
by Miriam Kramer
The sun fired off a major solar flare late Monday (Feb. 24), making it the most powerful sun eruption of the year so far and one of the strongest in recent years. 
The massive X4.9-class solar flare erupted from an active sunspot, called AR1990,  at 7:49 p.m. EST (0049 Feb. 25 GMT). NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured high-definition video of the monster solar flare. The spaceecraft recording amazing views the solar flare erupting with a giant burst of plasma, called a coronal mass ejection, or CME.
Sunspot AR1990 (previously named AR1967) is located on the southeastern limb of the sun, pointed away from Earth. This is the third time this sunspot has rotated onto the Earth-facing side of the sun…
(read more: Live Science)
image: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory

Sun Unleashes Monster Solar Flare, Biggest of 2014

by Miriam Kramer

The sun fired off a major solar flare late Monday (Feb. 24), making it the most powerful sun eruption of the year so far and one of the strongest in recent years. 

The massive X4.9-class solar flare erupted from an active sunspot, called AR1990,  at 7:49 p.m. EST (0049 Feb. 25 GMT). NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured high-definition video of the monster solar flare. The spaceecraft recording amazing views the solar flare erupting with a giant burst of plasma, called a coronal mass ejection, or CME.

Sunspot AR1990 (previously named AR1967) is located on the southeastern limb of the sun, pointed away from Earth. This is the third time this sunspot has rotated onto the Earth-facing side of the sun…

(read more: Live Science)

image: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory