05 August 2010

natural phenomena - solar flares, aurora borealis

A bit late on reporting, but I'm not Ira Flatow. See the movie version.
The NASA website says this about the image above:
On August 1st, almost the entire Earth-facing side of the sun erupted in a tumult of activity. There was a C3-class solar flare, a solar tsunami, multiple filaments of magnetism lifting off the stellar surface, large-scale shaking of the solar corona, radio bursts, a coronal mass ejection and more. This extreme ultraviolet snapshot from the Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the sun's northern hemisphere in mid-eruption. Different colors in the image represent different gas temperatures ranging from ~1 to 2 million degrees K. Credit: NASA/SDO
Just for the chance to see the aurora borealis [I've had the honor and pleasure twice] I wish I were living in a higher latitude.
For more info on the solar flare, the aurora phenomena or stellar events in general, check out the following:
   • Paul Heckert, Astronomy Examiner
   • NASA
   • University of Alaska [Fairbanks] Aurora Forecast Predictor
   • NOAA Tips on viewing the Aurora
   • Poker Flats Research Range Aurora Info over Alaska
   • Space Weather
   • Universe Today
   • Science Friday shows how to Build your own Observatory [assuming you have a couple hundred million unused dollars floating around and a remote site to build upon]
Here is one example of what the solar flare's effects looked like upon reaching Planet Earth. Photo by Shawn Malone, Marquette, Michigan and posted on the Space Weather Aurora Photo Gallery.

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