Archive

Archive for the ‘Space Weather’ Category

Spectacular prominence eruption on the sun! Don't miss this!

image of solar prominence eruptiuon on june 7, 2011


This morning, Jack Ireland of NASA Goddard’s Helioviewer Project sent an email alerting us to a “spectacular” event still in progress on the sun. It was a huge prominence eruption, marked by a solar flare and release of energetic particles. It looks like a fountain of plasma that blasts out of the solar surface, spreads outward, and collapses to splat back down.

Here is video courtesy Helioviewer.org and a narration by The Sun Today.


_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
OH AND DID I MENTION? All opinions and opinionlike objects in this blog are mine alone and NOT those of NASA or Goddard Space Flight Center. And while we’re at it, links to websites posted on this blog do not imply endorsement of those websites by NASA.


//

</p> <div><a href=”http://www.w3counter.com” mce_href=”http://www.w3counter.com”><img src=”http://www.w3counter.com/tracker.php?id=39986″ mce_src=”http://www.w3counter.com/tracker.php?id=39986″ style=”border: 0″ mce_style=”border: 0″ alt=”W3Counter” /></a></div> <p>

You gotta love this: new insights from SDO about what set off the record-breaking "Valentine's Day" flare of 2011

April 20, 2011 2 comments


valentine_flare_diagram

Here is the sun at 1.50am on 15th February 2011 using composite data of the Sun’s surface from two of SDO’s instruments. The cutout region shows (bottom right) the five rotating sunspots of the active region (AR 11158), and (top right) the bright release of light from the X class flare.

Back around February 14, you might have seen some images and movie clips from NASA about the massive “Valentine’s Day” solar flare. Today, researchers at the University of Central Lancashire are presenting new observations of that giant flare that they made using NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Their conclusion: the flare was spawned by interactions between five rotating sunspots, according to research presented today at the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, Wales.

A press release from the RAS explains it this way:

“Sunspots are features where magnetic field generated in the Sun’s interior pushes through the surface and into the atmosphere,” said Dr Brown. “Twisting the Sun’s magnetic field is like twisting an elastic band. At first you store energy in the elastic, but if you twist too much the elastic band snaps, releasing the stored energy. Similarly, rotating sunspots store energy in the Sun’s atmospheric magnetic field. If they twist too much, the magnetic field breaks releasing energy in a flash of light and heat which makes up the solar flare.”




_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
OH AND DID I MENTION? All opinions and opinionlike objects in this blog are mine alone and NOT those of NASA or Goddard Space Flight Center. And while we’re at it, links to websites posted on this blog do not imply endorsement of those websites by NASA.

//
</p> <div><a href=”http://www.w3counter.com” mce_href=”http://www.w3counter.com”><img src=”http://www.w3counter.com/tracker.php?id=39986″ mce_src=”http://www.w3counter.com/tracker.php?id=39986″ style=”border: 0″ mce_style=”border: 0″ alt=”W3Counter” /></a></div> <p>

Super sun-day, as brought to you by NASA's STEREO mission

February 6, 2011 2 comments



full disk view of sun from space


Judging by past Superbowl Sundays, more than 90 million people in the United States will tune into today’s sacred event at any moment. (If you have a hunger for trivial statistics, up to 116 million watched a Doritos ad during last year’s game.) That means at least one American will have watched today’s event for every mile (93 million on average) between Earth and the sun!

Well, that’s still a pretty long way, so we puny humans rely on a fleet of sun-observing spacecraft to tell us what we need to know about our home stars, from how much energy it pumps into the climate system to when we need to batten down the hatches for the latest solar storm.

Today, NASA’s twin STEREO spacecraft reached opposite sides of the sun. For the first time in human history, we can see the entire star at the same time. It’s taken quote a bit of orbital maneuverings to get here since STEREO launched in late 2006.

A crack team of NASA video producers and science writers have created a series of press releases and videos to mark STEREO’s big day. They tell the story far better than I could in mere nouns and verbs. Here’s the goods:









_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
OH AND DID I MENTION? All opinions and opinionlike objects in this blog are mine alone and NOT those of NASA or Goddard Space Flight Center. And while we’re at it, links to websites posted on this blog do not imply endorsement of those websites by NASA.

//
</p> <div><a href=”http://www.w3counter.com” mce_href=”http://www.w3counter.com”><img src=”http://w3counter.com/tracker.php?id=39986″ mce_src=”http://w3counter.com/tracker.php?id=39986″ style=”border: 0″ mce_style=”border: 0″ alt=”W3Counter” /></a></div> <p>

Categories: Space Weather, STEREO, The Sun

Blogolicious image of the day: As the STEREO (Behind) spacecraft observed in extreme UV light, the Sun popped off no fewer than six eruptions over just two days. . .

August 23, 2010 4 comments

Here’s a dramatic short video from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) “Pick of the Week” website. The images were actually captured by one of the twin STEREO spacecraft.

click me to watch the video!

click me to watch the video!



Here’s the detailed explanation from the Pick of the Week site:

As the STEREO (Behind) spacecraft observed in extreme UV light, the sun popped off no fewer than six eruptions over just two days (Aug. 14-15, 2010). At one point, three were occurring events at the same time. Most these were eruptive prominences in which cooler clouds of gases above the surface break away from the sun. The most powerful of these events, a coronal mass ejection, began around 6:30 UT on Aug. 15. It was harder to see from this spacecraft’s angle since it blasted out from the whiter active region in the lower center, so it had the sun as its backdrop.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________ OH AND DID I MENTION? All opinions and opinionlike objects in this blog are mine alone and NOT those of NASA or Goddard Space Flight Center. And while we’re at it, links to websites posted on this blog do not imply endorsement of those websites by NASA.

//
</p> <div><a href=”http://www.w3counter.com” mce_href=”http://www.w3counter.com”><img src=”http://w3counter.com/tracker.php?id=39986″ mce_src=”http://w3counter.com/tracker.php?id=39986″ style=”border: 0″ mce_style=”border: 0″ alt=”W3Counter” /></a></div> <p>

Gogblog's Monday video rewind picture show: "Sentinels of the Heliosphere," a detailed look at the fleet of spacecraft that keeps a collective eye on our stormy sun

August 17, 2010 4 comments

[Um…. Make that the TUESDAY video rewind picture show. We had a network outage yesterday, so sorry about that. We now return to our regularly scheduled programming. . . ]

Given the recent upturn in stormy solar activity, it seemed a good time to revisit the spectacular piece of visualization known as Sentinels of the Heliosphere. This video debuted in 2009 at SIGGRAPH, an international conference and exhibition on computer graphics and interactive techniques.

http://www.youtube.com/v/AqRQ_93kFKs?fs=1&hl=en_US

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________ OH AND DID I MENTION? All opinions and opinionlike objects in this blog are mine alone and NOT those of NASA or Goddard Space Flight Center. And while we’re at it, links to websites posted on this blog do not imply endorsement of those websites by NASA.

w3counter(39986);

W3Counter

Our Naughty Sun: Galaxy 15 Zombiesat Incident Highlights the Need to Keep a Close Eye on Our Home Star — and Congress Ponies up $100 million to Prevent "Electronic Armageddon"

I am the sun, and I am very angry at you!

Be afraid, be very afraid! This star eats satellites for breakfast, and wants to take away your Internet service.

I recently went to a talk by Goddard sun scientist Dean Pesnell about the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Pesnell is the project scientist for SDO, which launched February 11.

(Did you catch him being interviewed on CNN last week, June 7? Gogblog tips his solar dynamical hat to the SDO Tweeps out there who sent minute-by-minute updates of Pesnell’s on-camera adventures.)

Pesnell and others emphasize how important it is to have observatories like SDO to watch the closest star to Earth. Stormy space weather — basically, explosions of stuff from the sun’s surface — can interfere with or even damage satellites.

And in a case of life conveniently imitating PR, on April 5 the Galaxy 15 communication satellite stopped responding to commands, possibly because of a solar storm. The craft, which routes television traffic, was set adrift toward the telecommunication turf of another satellite, AMC-11.

Galaxy 15 was mindlessly broadcasting signals that could have interfered with other satellites. AMC-11’s operator, SES, worked to maneuver its bird to prevent interference. As of last week, Space News was reporting that no interference occurred.

It’s hard to be absolutely certain that our sun took out Galaxy 15, but the circumstances are pretty incriminating. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reported a strong geomagnetic storm April 5 – the strongest of the year to that date. “A sharp gust of solar wind hit Earth’s magnetosphere today, April 5th, at approximately 0800 UT and sparked the strongest geomagnetic storm of the year.”

*** 1:43 pm.  This just in from our art-imitating-life department: Check out this Brewster Rockit comic, which has ripped the Galaxy 15 story from the headlines and put a cute new spin on it. Thanks to Michelle Thaller, Goddard’s official Mistress of Science Communications, for the tip…

____________________________________________________________________________

Blogolicious Angry Sun Facts

  • In 2006, a solar storm knocked out GPS coverage for half of the globe.
  • A 1989 solar storm cut power to 6 million in Quebec.
  • The Superstorm of 1859 disabled telegraph systems in North America and Europe.
  • The storm triggered auroral displays as far south as the Caribbean.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Now, another reminder of the threats posed by our naughty sun has surfaced in the blogpodcastotwittersphere — “Electronic Armageddon: Congress Worries That Solar Flares Could Spell Disaster.” The article posted on FOXNews.com yesterday (June 10).

Here are the nuggets:

High-energy electric pulses from the sun could surge to Earth and cripple our electrical grid for years, causing billions in damages, government officials and scientists worry.

The House is so concerned that the Energy and Commerce committee voted unanimously 47 to 0 to approve a bill allocating $100 million to protect the energy grid from this rare but potentially devastating occurrence.

The Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense Act, or H.R. 5026, aims “to amend the Federal Power Act to protect the bulk-power system and electric infrastructure critical to the defense of the United States against cybersecurity and other threats and vulnerabilities.”

The science press has been full of warnings for years about the risk that a “perfect storm” of bad space weather could cause one of the underpinnings of Western society — the national power grid. But perhaps the dire language of a 2008 National Academy of Sciences report, “Severe Space Weather Events — Societal and Economic Impacts,” grabbed Congress’s attention.

Among other scary things, the report says that the impact of a major solar storm could cause $1 to $2 trillion in damage and take us a decade to recover from. Imagine entire cities without power, water, transportation, and (shudder) Internet service for extended periods.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
OH AND DID I MENTION? All opinions and opinionlike objects in this blog are mine alone and NOT those of NASA or Goddard Space Flight Center.


//
</p> <div><a href=”http://www.w3counter.com” mce_href=”http://www.w3counter.com”><img src=”http://w3counter.com/tracker.php?id=39986″ mce_src=”http://w3counter.com/tracker.php?id=39986″ style=”border: 0″ mce_style=”border: 0″ alt=”W3Counter” /></a></div> <p>