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June 02 2017

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ACTIVE SUNSPOT: A new sunspot is emerging over the sun’s eastern limb, and it is crackling with C-class solar flares. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory caught the active region hurling a plume and ball of plasma high above the sun’s surface during the early hours of June 1st. [1st image]

Numbered AR2661, this new sunspot is still rotating into view, so its full size and potential for stronger flares is not yet known. This much is certain: It has already propelled a series of coronal mass ejections (CME) into space. A movie from SOHO [2nd image]  shows them billowing away from the sun’s eastern limb. These are the kind of clouds that can spark strong geomagnetic storms. (See “A Quake in Earth’s Magnetic Field”, below.) So far, none of the explosions have targeted Earth, although this could change in the days ahead as AR2661 rotates toward our planet. Stay tuned for updates.

A QUAKE IN EARTH’S MAGNETIC FIELD: A solar coronal mass ejection (CME) struck Earth on May 27th….

“The CME strike over the weekend left Earth’s magnetic field ringing like a bell for around 12 hours, as my magnetometer data show,” says Green. “It’s always exciting to record such events as it is a tangible reinforcement of the real physical connection between our planet and the powerhouse that sustains life on Earth.”

When forecasters say “a geomagnetic storm is in progress,” the quaking Green recorded is what they mean. Vibrations in the magnetic field can induce electrical currents in the ground, causing voltage fluctuations in power systems and in rare cases complete blackouts. The same vibrations allow particles normally trapped in our planet’s magnetosphere to rain down around the poles, igniting auroras.

The strong geomagnetic storm of May 27-28 registered G3 on the NOAA scale of geomagnetic disturbances. In the northern hemisphere, observers saw Northern Lights as far south as California. In the southern hemisphere, skies lit up like they hadn’t for decades.

“While I was taking these pictures, [3rd image] I was reminded of displays during the big Solar Maxima of 1989-1990 and 2000-2001, ” says photographer Minoru Yoneto of Queenstown, New Zealand. “The Southern Lights could already be seen during astronomical twilight; they were quite strong.”

This event is remarkable considering the phase of the sunspot cycle: The sun is rapidly plunging toward Solar Minimum. Sunspots are scarce and solar flares are weak at best. The CME that caused this ‘quake’ was hurled toward Earth by a seemingly minor magnetic reorganization in the sun’s atmosphere. And so space weather continues–no sunspots required. Time Machine - 1 Jun 2017

May 14 2013

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SOLAR ACTIVITY SURGES: A sunspot on the sun’s eastern limb is crackling with powerful X-class solar flares. It announced itself with an X1.7-class eruption on May 13th at 0217 UT, quickly followed by an X2.8-class flare at 1609 UT. These are the strongest flares of 2013, and they signal a significant uptick in solar activity. More eruptions are in the offing.

Both of today’s flares have produced strong flashes of extreme ultraviolet radiation. Above is the view of the X1.7-flare from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

The explosions also hurled coronal mass ejections (CMEs) into space. Coronagraphs onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory are tracking the clouds: movie. The planet in the CME movie is Mercury. Although the CMEs appear to hit Mercury, they do not. In fact, no planets were in the line of fire. However, the CMEs appear to be on course to hit NASA’s Epoxi and Spitzer spacecraft on May 15-16. …

  Via Time Machine

Reposted bymolotovcupcakeschaaf
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