Universe Today | Nancy Atkinson | 2011 Aug 03
Early today, (Aug 3, 2011) two active regions on the Sun, sunspot 1261 and 1263 unleashed solar flares, which was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. The above video shows an M6 class flare from 1261 in a couple of different wavelengths. SolarstormWatch, a citizen science project through the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England predicts the solar storm from the larger flare to reach Earth at 15:00 UTC on August 5, 2011, and also predict direct hit on Earth.
Solar storms are a concern if they hit Earth directly since under the right conditions, they can create extra electrical currents in Earth’s magnetosphere. The electrical power grid is vulnerable to any extra currents, which can infiltrate high-voltage transmission lines, causing transformers to overheat and possibly burn out.
Check SpaceWeather.com and the National Weather Service’s Space Weather Prediction Center for more information.
http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php? ... 96#p154396
Solar Flare May Spark Dazzling Northern Lights Displays Friday
Space.com | Clara Moskowitz | 2011 Aug 03
Those who look to the skies on Friday (Aug. 5) may see exceptional auroras thanks to a strong solar flare that hurled a cloud of plasma toward Earth earlier this week.
The solar flare occurred yesterday (Aug. 2) when an intense magnetic event above sunspot 1261 blasted out a flow of charged particles that's now headed toward Earth, according to SpaceWeather.com, a website that monitors space weather. This could unleash a geomagnetic storm here on our planet that might disrupt satellite and radio communications.
The plus side, though, is that skywatchers at high latitudes can expect extra-special aurora borealis displays, also known as the Northern Lights, from the interaction of these charged particles with Earth's magnetic field.
Yesterday's storm, while powerful, was nothing major, registering as a middleclass M1 solar flare. Scientist measure the strength of solar flares using a three-class system. M-Class flares are medium-strength events. The strongest type of solar eruption is class X, while class C represents the weakest, on the scale. [Anatomy of Sun Storms & Solar Flares (Infographic)]
Yesterday's solar storm unleashed a stream of protons and electrons into space in an eruption known as a coronal mass ejection (CME). It is this flow of particles that is now on a collision course with Earth.
Three NASA spacecraft — the SOHO satellite and the twin STEREO vehicles — were able to track the ejection as it left the sun. Their three different vantage points provided a 3-D model of the cloud that revealed it left the solar surface at a rate of about 560 miles per second (900 kilometers per second), SpaceWeather.com reported.
Activity Heating Up on the Sun!
Universe Today | Nancy Atkinson | 2011 Aug 02