Sep 10

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Solar Storm To Hit Earth With ‘Force Of 100 Million Hydrogen Bombs’


A spectacular Northern Lights display has been photographed over the skies of northern Europe, after Nasa scientists reported a powerful space storm buffeting Earth.

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(Click on image to enlarge!)
Experts said stargazers could expect to see another spectacular display on Thursday night as the solar wind stream continued to hit Earth’s magnetic field Photo: ØYSTEIN LUNDE INGVALDSE/ SPACESTORIES.COM

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A picture taken by the sun observation satellite Solar Dynamics Observatory SDO shows an exceptionally heavy plasma eruption on the surface of the sun Photo: EPA

The stunning auroras, witnessed on Wednesday night, are the first of the season following the area’s light summer nights.

The displays were created from bursts of activity on the Sun earlier this week.

The subsequent magnetic activity, above a sunspot numbered 1105, produced an explosive flare that was recorded by Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

The flare then sent a stream of charged particles racing towards Earth at 250 miles per second.

After the sunspot rotated away from Earth, the explosive region erupted once more, creating a second solar flare, a fantastic prominence that sent a coronal mass ejection into space.

Nasa said because the Sun had already rotated the flares the flares did not pose any threat to the Earth. Images taken by the space agency show the prominence flaring from the sun.

The auroral lights’ colours were created through a series of reactions between atoms and molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The green colours stem from oxygen molecules while the more unusual purple colour is derived from molecular nitrogen.

Experts said stargazers could expect to see another spectacular display on Thursday night as the solar wind stream continued to hit Earth’s magnetic field.

Another series of spectacular auroras were witnessed by photographer by (MUST SEE!) Øystein Lunde Ingvaldsen, a Norwegian musician.

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Mar 18

Jan. 10, 2008: Hang on to your cell phone, a new solar cycle has just begun.

“On January 4, 2008, a reversed-polarity sunspot appeared-and this signals the start of Solar Cycle 24,” says David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center.

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Above: Images of the first sunspot of Solar Cycle 24 taken by the NASA/ESA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

Solar activity waxes and wanes in 11-year cycles. Lately, we’ve been experiencing the low ebb, “very few flares, sunspots, or activity of any kind,” says Hathaway. “Solar minimum is upon us.”

The previous solar cycle, Solar Cycle 23, peaked in 2000-2002 with many furious solar storms. That cycle decayed as usual to the present quiet leaving solar physicists little to do other than wonder, when would the next cycle begin?

The answer is now. Continue reading »

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