Karela Fry

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Aurora watchers’ delight

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solar flare erupting on the Sun's northeastern hemisphere at 03:49 UT on Jan. 23, 2012.

Solar flare erupting on the Sun's northeastern hemisphere at 03:49 UT on Jan. 23, 2012.

Space.com reported:

A powerful solar eruption is expected to blast a stream of charged particles toward Earth tomorrow (Jan. 24), as the strongest radiation storm since 2005 rages on the sun.

Early this morning (0359 GMT Jan. 23, which corresponds to late Sunday, Jan. 22 at 10:59 p.m. EST), NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory caught an extreme ultraviolet flash from a huge eruption on the sun, according to the skywatching website Spaceweather.com.

The solar flare spewed from sunspot 1402, a region of the sun that has become increasingly active lately. Several NASA satellites, including the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), and the Stereo spacecraft observed the massive sun storm.

According to NOAA, this is the strongest solar radiation storm since May 2005, and as a precaution, polar flights on Earth are expected to be re-routed within the next few hours, Kathy Sullivan, deputy administrator of NOAA, said today at the 92nd annual American Meteorological Society meeting in New Orleans, La.

In addition to generating stronger than normal displays of Earth’s auroras (also known as the northern and southern lights), geomagnetic storms aimed directly at our planet can also disrupt satellites in orbit, cause widespread communications interference and damage other electronic infrastructures.

Sunday’s solar flare was rated an M9-class eruption, which placed it just on the verge of being an X-class flare, the most powerful type of solar storm. M-class sun storms are powerful but mid-range, while C-class flares are weaker.

NASA routinely monitors space weather conditions to determine any potential hazards to the astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Based on the agency’s assessment, the six spaceflyers currently living and working on the orbiting outpost are not in any danger, said NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

January 24, 2012 at 3:35 am

One Response

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  1. […] of the solar flares of Jan 22-25 reaching the earth. Share this:TwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

    Aurora watch « Karela Fry

    January 25, 2012 at 7:19 pm


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