Solar Flares Hitting Earth
Solar Flares Hitting Earth:
The strongest geomagnetic storm in more than six years could affect airline routes, power grids and satellites, the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center said.
The sun unleashed two massive X-class solar flares on March 6, 2012. The flare erupted from the giant active sunspot AR1429.
This image made from an April 12-13, 2010 video provided Wednesday, April 21, 2010 by NASA shows an eruptive prominence blasting away from the sun. The prominence appears to stretch almost halfway across the sun, about 500,000 miles. NASA on Wednesday unveiled the first images from a new satellite designed to predict disruptive solar storms, and scientists say they’re already learning new things.
The Solar Dynamics Observatory captures an M8.7 class flare in a handout photo released by NASA January 23, 2012. The flare is shown here in teal as that is the color typically used to show light in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, a wavelength in which it is easy to view solar flares. The flare began at 10:38 PM ET on January 22, 2012, peaked at 10:59 PM and ended at 11:34 PM.
This handout image provided by NASA, taken Sunday night, Jan. 22, 2012, shows a solar flare erupting on the Sun’s northeastern hemisphere. Space weather officials say the strongest solar storm in more than six years is already bombarding Earth with radiation with more to come. The Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado observed a flare Sunday night at 11 p.m. EST. Physicist Doug Biesecker said the biggest concern from the speedy eruption is the radiation, which arrived on Earth an hour later. It will likely continue through Wednesday. It’s mostly an issue for astronauts’ health and satellite disruptions. It can cause communication problems for airplanes that go over the poles.
In this handout from the NOAA/National Weather Service’s Space Weather Prediction Center, shows a solar flare erupting from the sun late January 23, 2012. The flare is reportedly the largest since 2005 and is expected to affect GPS systems and other communications when it reaches the Earth’s magnetic field in the morning of January 24.
This image provided Wednesday, April 21, 2010 by NASA shows an eruptive prominence blasting away from the sun March 30, 2010 observed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite. NASA on Wednesday unveiled the first images from the new satellite designed to predict disruptive solar storms, and scientists say they’re already learning new things.
This image provided by NASA shows giant sun spot activity Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011, from a region on the sun that scientists are calling a “benevolent monster.” After years of quiet, the sun is coming alive with solar storms in a big way.
Scientists expect this year to be one of the worst for solar storms, surges of charged particles that knock out satellites, power grids and even garage door openers. This photo shows the sun’s coronal holes in an x-ray image. The outer solar atmosphere, the corona, is structured by strong magnetic fields, which when closed can cause the atmosphere to suddenly and violently release bubbles or tongues of gas and magnetic fields called coronal mass ejections which streak out through the interplanetary medium, impacting any planets or spacecraft in its path.
This image provided by NASA shows the Sun unleashing a medium-sized solar flare, a minor radiation storm and a spectacular coronal mass ejection on June 7, 2011. The large cloud of particles mushroomed up and fell back down looking as if it covered an area of almost half the solar surface. The ejection should deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field during the late hours of June 8th or June 9th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras when the CME arrives.