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The Dark Shows the Light May 9, 2006

Posted by jtintle in NASA, SOHO, Solar Flares, Space Fotos, Sun.
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A small flare and associated coronal mass ejection (CME) were observed on May 1, 2006. The still image shows the flare near its peak of activity as an intensely white area at the lower end of the active region on the right of the pair of active regions (it looks like a backwards 7). The video covers a 13-hour period and is especially good at showing the dimming of the region south of the event. This is caused by the sudden but temporary release of charged particles from that area. Brighter post coronal loops can be seen coiled over the source of the flare after the events. Flares are the most powerful events in the solar system, since power is measured by the release of energy, in this case radiative energy, per unit time. This event, however, was a rather weak, "C-class" flare.

The CME was most probably associated with this flare. A CME is a lower power event because it occurs over a much longer time period, but carries lots of mechanical (kinetic) and magnetic (potential) energy). In fact CMEs blast out over a billion of tons of particles at millions of miles per hour.

Sunspot 875 Flares May 2, 2006

Posted by jtintle in APoD, NASA, Solar Flares, Space Fotos, Sun.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.  
Credit & Copyright: Greg Piepol (sungazer.net)

Explanation: An unusually active sunspot region is now crossing the Sun. The region, numbered 875, is larger than the Earth and has produced several solar flares over the past week. It should take a few more days for Sunspot 875 to finish crossing the solar disk. The above image of the Sun was taken last Wednesday in a very specific color of red light to bring up detail. Sunspot 875, in the midst of erupting a large Class C solar flare, can be seen as the dark region to the upper right. In the above image, relatively cool regions appear dark while hot regions appear bright. On the far left, solar prominences are visible hovering above the Sun’s surface.

A Solar Prominence from SOHO April 18, 2006

Posted by jtintle in APoD, European Space Agency, NASA, SOHO, Solar Flares, Space Fotos.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.
Credit: SOHO-EIT Consortium, ESA, NASA

Explanation: How can gas float above the Sun? Twisted magnetic fields arching from the solar surface can trap ionized gas, suspending it in huge looping structures. These majestic plasma arches are seen as prominences above the solar limb. In September 1999, this dramatic and detailed image was recorded by the EIT experiment on board the space-based SOHO observatory in the light emitted by ionized Helium. It shows hot plasma escaping into space as a fiery prominence breaks free from magnetic confinement a hundred thousand kilometers above the Sun. These awesome events bear watching as they can affect communications and power systems over 100 million kilometers away on Planet Earth

The Crown of the Sun April 7, 2006

Posted by jtintle in APoD, NASA, Solar Eclipse, Solar Flares, Space, Space Fotos, Sun.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.
Credit & Copyright: Koen van Gorp

Explanation: During a total solar eclipse, the Sun's extensive outer atmosphere or corona is an awesome and inspirational sight. The subtle shades and shimmering features of the corona that engage the eye span a brightness range of over 10,000 to 1, making them notoriously difficult to capture in a single picture. But this composite of 33 digital images ranging in exposure time from 1/8000 to 1/5 second comes very close to revealing the crown of the Sun in all its glory. The telescopic views were recorded from Side, Turkey during the March 29 solar eclipse, a geocentric celestial event that was widely seen under nearly ideal conditions. The composite also captures a pinkish prominence extending just beyond the upper edge of the eclipsed sun.

Elongated Coronal Hole December 31, 2005

Posted by jtintle in NASA, SOHO, Solar Flares, Space Fotos, Sun, Sun Spot.
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Hi-res TIF image ( 3.4M)

Image Credit: SOHO

Explanation: The Earth was bathed most of this last week in a solar stream that flowed out of this long coronal hole (image from December 27, 2005). Coronal holes appear as dark area of the corona when viewed in ultraviolet light and in X-rays (seen here traversing down the upper half of the Sun in ultraviolet light). This coronal hole area is one of the largest ones seen over the past year. Since coronal holes are ‘open’ magnetically, strong solar wind gusts can escape from them and carry solar particles out to our magnetosphere and beyond. Solar wind streams take 2 – 3 days to travel from the Sun to Earth, and the coronal holes in which they originate are more likely to affect Earth after they have rotated more than halfway around the visible hemisphere of the Sun. This same hole could reappear when the Sun rotates this area around again in about two weeks.

The magnetic field lines in a coronal hole open out into the solar wind rather than connecting to a nearby part of the Sun’s surface. Coronal holes are responsible for the high-speed solar wind streams that sweep through the plane where the planets orbit — and thus have a direct affect on “space weather” near the Earth. Transequatorial holes like this one affect the earth’s magnetosphere directly. Thus, many people living at the higher latitudes probably experienced mild geo-effective storming for these few days in the form of aurora displays.

OPML

Jupiter Passes By October 15, 2005

Posted by jtintle in C3 Imager, Jupiter, SOHO, Solar Flares, Space Fotos, Sun.
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Electric Sunspots October 13, 2005

Posted by jtintle in Solar Flares, Space Fotos, Sun, TPOD.
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Credit: Mandatory credit: Friedrich Woeger, KIS, and Chris Berst and Mark Komsa, NSO/AURA/NSF.

Round Three October 7, 2005

Posted by jtintle in SOHO, Solar Flares, Space Fotos, Sun.
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Hi-res TIF image ( 1.5M)

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Annular Solar Eclipse at High Resolution October 5, 2005

Posted by jtintle in APoD, Solar Eclipse, Solar Flares, Space Fotos.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available. Credit & Copyright: Stefan Seip

One Spot, Many Flares September 24, 2005

Posted by jtintle in Solar Flares, Space Fotos, Sun.
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Hi-res TIF image ( 4.2M)

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Credit: LASCO C3 coronagraph

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