Space sunspot 1302

Published on September 27th, 2011 | by Michael Ricciardi

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Giant Sun Spot Turns Toward Earth – More Large Flares Possible (VIDEO)

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September 27th, 2011 by


Stretching for more than 100,000 km (62, ooo miles) from end to end, solar Active Region (AR) 1302 is slowly coming into position where it directly faces the Earth. The region contains a “behemoth” sunspot — several times larger than the Earth — named sunspot 1302.

The sunspot has already been the source of two ‘X-class’ solar flares (‘X’ signifying the most extreme,  or largest); the first, measuring an  X1.4, on September 22, and the second, an X1.9, coming just two days later on Sept. 24.

The “extreme ultra-violet flash” was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

SDO also captured a dark, shock wave racing away from the flare site. Astrophysicists believe it to be  a sign that a coronal mass ejection (CME) had also occurred (see video below).

The AR has also seen several lower magnitude flares since the X1.9 blast, with M8.6 and M7.4 flares erupting on Sept. 24, and a second M8.8 flare early on Sept. 25.

None of the flares has been aimed at the Earth, but as the the Suns rotates the AR will orient itself more directly in-line with Earth. Will we be the “target” of one or more large flares? That of course is the question. AR 1302 remains active as it slowly turns towards us. Scientists are, so far, not making any guesses.

Predicting solar flares and CMEs is exceedingly difficult.

Recently, great progress was made on predicting the appearance of sunspots (which typically precede a flare) based upon the detection of acoustic wave patterns emanating from the solar interior (see my earlier article on this discovery). This new technique allows detection in as little as 24 hours in advance for some types of sunspots.

The presence of a sunspot does not guarantee a solar flare eruption (which does not, it turn, guarantee a CME), but they are related somehow. Perhaps soon, the method will be refined enough to determine which acoustic wave patterns indicate both a sunspot and a solar flare coupling.

VIDEO Below: Active Region 1302 unleashes an X1.9-category solar flare at 5:40 am EDT on Sept. 24, 2011. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash in composite wavelengths (211, 193, 171 angstrom). Across the top is a graph of the x-ray intensity during the flare as recorded by the GOES spacecraft. Note: The sun has been rotated 90 degrees clock-wise.

Solar flares and the CME’s that often follow them are the main contributors to what’s known as the solar wind, a continuous flow of high-energy, sub-atomic particles. This wind is what determines most of our local “space weather” and, during active solar periods, can make space dangerous for astronauts, communication satellites, and power grids down here on the planet’s surface.

As to the long-term impact of increased solar flare activity on the Earth’s climate, this is a big unknown, and the subject of some study, and much speculation.

Sunspots are the dark spots, often in pairs of oppositely electric charge, that emerge from the sun’s interior with quasi-regular frequency, speckling the face of the sun. They are the loci of magnetically active regions caused by the blocking of convecting plasma fields from deep in the sun’s interior. As a result, the surface temperature of the ‘spot’ is actually cooler than the surrounding surface topology, an so appears darker.

For more cool NASA multimedia, visit this NASA site

To learn more about the SDO mission, visit the GSFC Solar Dynamics Observatory site.

Photo Credit: NASA/SDO/HMI

 

211, 193, 171 angstrom). Across the top is a graph of the x-ray intensity during the flare as recorded by the GOES spacecraft. Note: The sun has been rotated 90 degrees clock-wise.

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About the Author

Michael Ricciardi is a well-published writer of science/nature/technology articles as well as essays, poetry and short fiction. Michael has interviewed dozen of scientists from many scientific fields, including Brain Greene, Paul Steinhardt, Arthur Shapiro, and Nobel Laureate Ilya Progogine (deceased). Michael was trained as a naturalist and taught ecology and natural science on Cape Cod, Mass. from 1986-1991. His first arts grant was for production of the environmental (video) documentary 'The Jones River - A Natural History', 1987-88 (Kingston, Mass.). Michael is an award winning, internationally screened video artist. Two of his more recent short videos; 'A Time of Water Bountiful' and 'My Name is HAM' (an "imagined memoir" about the first chimp in space), and several other short videos, can be viewed on his website (http://www.chaosmosis.net). He is also the author of the (Kindle) ebook: Artful Survival ~ Creative Options for Chaotic Times



  • Paul Felix Schott

    Read well and study on your own after you have read this.

    This is not a game or joke our Sun gives off a Solar Wind all day year round if you live in the State of Alaska you see it in the sky above what a sight it is going through our Earth’s Magnet Polls of the North and the South, North Poll. Its Called the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis.

    The day will come when you will be able to see it all over Earth as in the year 1859 Solar Flare. Two Astronomer’s Hodgson and Carrington told the World that the Solar Flare made a Geomagnetic Storm reach Earth in hours not days. Back then it gave new meaning to Reach For The Skies from Telegraph Operators. For hours sparks flew from the key board. Even after the Batteries were disconnected.

    Our Sun’s UV Rays will get stronger as each passing day go’s by, read and i will tell you why.

    The Great big forest have be striped from most of the Earth for Greed of Money by the Wicked. The trees our are Main Source of Oxygen on this Plant.
    The Forest Trees scrubs the Pollution out of the air and makes Oxygen from the rain and dirt that it grows in.

    The Forest Trees do more then just make Oxygen they stop Soil Erosion, just Look at the 1930 Dust Bowl. Greed by our Government taxes led farmers to clear cut all their Forest and farm all the land they were being Tax on. They had to farm it to pay for the Taxes. Why leave the Trees when food crop makes Money. This Did not Help the Depression that effected most all Worldwide.

    The Pollution and CO2 Carbon Dioxide go into the Tree Bark as a shield from most bugs so they do not eat the tree.

    Less Forest less Oxygen this is why the moon. That has no Oxygen is very cold on the side with out Sun Light,And hot as ever on the side with Sun Light. Way too cold and too hot to live there.

    With no blank of Oxygen to lessen or reduce the Sun’s UV Rays and Solar Wind they are deadly there on our Moon. Every Mt. Climber and Aircraft Pilot knows the higher you go the thinner the Oxygen and colder it gets.

    Just spend a night on a Mt. top above 13,000 feet with no Sun Light and you will see or should i say feel the cold stinging any of your exposed skin. If you are new to Mt. Climbing stay below 10,000Ft. The Astronauts and the Cosmonauts and Fighter Pilots that i have been with for years know this very well, and the Radiation Hazards to humans at High Altitudes.

    Soon the Sun’s Solar Wind and UV rays will be way to strong for most to go out in the Sun Light for even a short time. The Geomagnetic Storm to come and the Bad Weather Storms well you have not seen nothing yet and the Sea Level is Rising the Oceans.

    The last 30 years On Earth we have broke all high temp records and the temp it is still going up. All the Worlds Ice Glacier are melting at an Accelerating Rate. The Glaciers and Polar Ice Caps store more water than all the Fresh Water Lakes on Earth.

    The Bad Weather Storms now are Babies compared to what is to come.

    They will get even bigger and worse less Oxygen the more UV Rays to the Earth and more Water molecules will evaporate and go up into the Earth’s Atmosphere. Less Oxygen the colder with out sun light and hotter with it.

    The Sky full of more water vapor molecules, more snow in the winter and more Flash Floods in the Summer.

    If every living person on Earth were to Plant A Tree Today we might have a chance.

    The Earth’s Atmosphere Blanket surrounding it protects life on Earth as Our Lord and GOD will all that seek Him.

    Then it is written when the tree is full it is harvest time. All the Earth will someday burn away.

    This is all Foretold in the Bible Read it
    and may our Lord Bless all that do so.

    The Lord’s Little Helper
    Paul Felix Schott

    solardowork@yahoo.com
    KI4-AEX

    P.S.
    2 Peter 3:10
    But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the Earth and its works will be burned up.

  • http://www.chaosmosis.net Michael Ricciardi

    Thanks for that tip, Wampus. Beautiful visuals!

  • http://www.timelapse.nl Wampus

    The northern lights were seen last night as far south as Michigan, New York, South Dakota and Main according to http://www.spaceweather.com (NASA).
    A HD video of what the northern lights look like during a strong geomagnetic storm as we had yesterday can be seen at http://www.vimeo.com/27315234

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