Renewed Solar Activity

SOLAR ACTIVITY PICKS UP: A new sunspot emerging over the sun’s NE limb is bringing an uptick in solar activity. AR2149 announced itself on August 21st with an impulsive M3-class solar flare. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the explosion’s extreme ultraviolet flash:

UV radiation from the flare partially ionized the upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere. This “Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance” altered the normal propagation of VLF (very low frequency) radio transmissions over the northern hemisphere, shown here in a recording from the Polarlightcenter in Lofoten, Norway. The disturbance has since subsided.

Because AR2149 is near the sun’s eastern horizon, our view of the region is foreshortened. Evaluating the structure of its magnetic field is therefore tricky. As the sunspot turns toward Earth in the days ahead, we will get a better idea of its flare-producing potential. For now, NOAA forecasters are estimating a 25% chance of M-flares in the next 24 hours.

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Old Sunspot, New Activity

OLD SUNSPOT RETURNS, SOLAR ACTIVTITY INCREASES: Crackling with solar flares, a large sunspot is emerging over the sun’s southeactive limb. It appears to be AR1944, returning after a two-week trip around the farside of the sun. Earlier today, astronomer Karzaman Ahmad photographed the active region from the Langkawi National Observatory in Malasia:

According to tradition, sunspots that circle around the farside of the sun are re-numbered when they return. The new designation of AR1944 is AR1967. “Sunspot AR1967 is as big as Earth!” notes Ahmad.

Earlier this month, AR1944/AR1967 produced an X1-class solar flare and one of the strongest radiation storms of the current solar cycle. Is round 2 about to begin? Solar activity is definitely increasing as AR1967 comes around he bend. Earth orbiting satellites have detected at least five M-class solar flares since yesterday, including this one recorded on Jan. 28th (07:30 UT) by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory:

More flares are in the offing. NOAA forecasters estimate a 5% chance of X-flares and a 50% chance of M-flares during the next 24 hours

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Flares from Giant Sunspot

HUGE SUNSPOT, CHANCE OF FLARES: The source of the incoming CME is AR1944, one of the largest sunspots of the current solar cycle. The active region sprawls across more than 200,000 km of solar terrain and contains dozens of dark cores. The largest could swallow Earth three times over. AR1944 is circled in this Jan. 9th snapshot from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory:

As the image shows, the sunspot is almost directly facing Earth. This makes it a threat for geoeffective eruptions. NOAA forecasters estimate an 80% chance of M-class flares and a 50% chance of X-flares on Jan. 9th.

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Asteroid Explodes off Venezuela

Undetected Asteroid Explodes Over The Atlantic

credit: Getty Images

Chris Carrington
Activist Post

A previously undetected asteroid entered the Earth’s atmosphere and exploded over the Atlantic Ocean, 2,200 miles off the coast of Venezuela yesterday.

The rock, the size of a car is estimated to have had an impact energy of around 750 tons of TNT. Small in cosmic terms but enough to have caused massive problems if it had hit a population center.

It has been named 2014AA, a number letter combination that indicates it was the first asteroid discovered this year, sadly it was discovered somewhat late…like after it exploded.

This incident serves to remind us all that the mission to map all space debris, junk and rocks that are likely to pose a threat to the planet is far from complete.

In other space news sunspot AR1944 is now twice the size of Earth and contains a dozen dark cores with the magnetic energy to throw off powerful flares. The spot is so big it can be seen at sunset with the naked eye.

 

 

Photo: Raymund Sarmiento of Quezon City, the Philippines

Spaceweather.com said:

The effect of any flares today will be mitigated by the fact that the sunspot is not yet directly facing Earth. However, even an off-center blast from this behemoth could produce radio blackouts and geomagnetic activity.

NOAA has increased their estimate of M-class flares to 75% and X-class to 30% over the next 24 hours.

Solar wind from the large Earth-facing coronal hole is giving rise to spectacular aurorae, such as this photographed by Chad Blakley in Sweden.

Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies

from:    http://www.activistpost.com/2014/01/undetected-asteroid-explodes-over.html

Active Sunspot 12/28

CRACKLING SUNSPOT: AR1936 is waking up. The sunspot has a ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field that harbors energy for strong eruptions, yet it has been quiet for days. Now AR1936 is beginning to crackle with flares. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash from an almost-M-class flare at 1800 UT on Dec. 28th:

Because the sunspot is facing Earth, any flares emanating from it are going to be geoeffective. So far, the extreme ultraviolet “crackles” have produced only minor waves of ionization in our planet’s upper atmosphere. Earth-effects will increase, however, if the activity continues to intensify

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New X-Class Solar Flare

X-CLASS SOLAR FLARE: Sprawling suunspot AR1897 erupted on Nov. 19th (10:26 UT), producing an X1-class solar flare. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the explosion’s extreme ultraviolet flash:

Although the sunspot is not directly facing Earth, the flare did affect our planet. Mainly, the UV flash produced a wave of ionization in the upper atmosphere over Europe, Africa and parts of Asia. A brief blackout of HF radio transmissions around the poles might have also occurred. First-look coronagraph data from NASA’s STEREO-Ahead probe show a CME emerging from the blast site, but it is probably not heading for Earth.

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More SOlar Flares

SOLAR FLARE! Solar activity is high. On October 24th at 00:30 UT, Earth-facing sunspot AR1877 erupted, producing a powerful M9-class solar flare. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the blast:

Update #1: The eruption hurled a faint CME into space and it appears to be heading toward Earth. The arrival time is not yet known.

Update #2: NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has released a full-disk movie of the explosion. Play it.

More flares are in the offing. Two large sunspots, AR1875 and AR1877, have ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic fields that harbor energy for strong eruptions. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of M-flares and a 5% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours.

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New Sunspot Activity

SUNSPOTS OF INTEREST: Two large sunspot groups, AR1875 and AR1877,have emerged over the sun’s eastern limb and they are turning toward Earth. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this three-day movie of their approach:

AR1877 is large, and AR1875 is rapidly growing to match it. Both sunspot groups have ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic fields that harbor energy for M-class solar flares. So far, however, neither one is actively flaring. Perhaps this is the calm before the storm. NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of M-flares in the next 24 hours.

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A Waking Sun

FARSIDE ERUPTION: An active region located just behind the sun’s northeastern limb erupted this morning, producing an X-ray flash that registered M1.5 on the Richter Scale of Solar Flares — despite the fact that it was partially eclipsed by the edge of the sun. The true intensity of the flare was much greater, possibly X-class. The explosion also hurled a spectacular CME into space:

Type II radio emissions from the expanding cloud suggest an expansion velocity of at least 510 km/s (1.1 million mph). That’s a typical speed for CMEs.

Within a few days, the sunspot responsible for this outburst will rotate around to the Earthside of the sun. At that time, Earth-directed solar activity could increase. August and September were quiet months, but in October the sun seems to be waking up

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New Coronal Hole

CORONAL HOLE: NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory is monitoring a coronal hole in the sun’s northern hemisphere. It is the UV-dark region in this image taken during the early hours of Sept. 21st:

The white lines in the image trace the sun’s magnetic field. A coronal hole is a place where the magnetic field spreads apart, allowing solar wind to escape. A stream of solar wind flowing from this particular coronal hole is heading for Earth, due to arrive on Sept. 23-24. Its arrival could add to the impact of a minor CME expected to reach Earth at about the same time. Polar geomagnetic storms are possible early next week.

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