Sun Coronal Cells

Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, D.C., discovered the odd, newly identified features, which they call coronal cells, by studying the sun’s ultraviolet emissions at temperatures around 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit (999,700 degrees Celsius). According to reserachers the pattern of cells, which have bright centers and dark boundaries, look similar to bubbles that rise to the top of boiling water. But, the scientists were surprised to find these features higher up in the corona, a part of the sun’s atmosphere that is typically dominated by bright loops and dark coronal holes.

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Solar Flares

One of the Biggest Flare of the Solar Cycle

With the help of data from the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) and the Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) NASA models have now provided more information about the two CMEs associated with the two March 6 flares. The first is traveling faster than 1300 miles per second, the second more than 1100 miles per second. NASA’s models predict that the CMEs will impact both Earth and Mars, as well as pass by several NASA spacecraft, Messenger, Spitzer, and STEREO-B. The models also predict that the leading edge of the first CME will reach Earth at about 1:25 AM EST on the morning of March 8 (plus or minus 7 hours).

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Solar Flare

Sun Major Solar Flares

A most powerful solar flare erupted from the sun on March 4 sending an explosion of plasma and charged particles hurtling toward Earth. Flares occur when accelerated charged particles, mainly electrons, interact with the plasma medium. Solar flares, depending on the power of X-ray, are classified as A, B, C, M or X. According to the Space Weather Prediction Center operated by the National Weather Service the latest flare was an X1.1-class solar flare and exploded from the surface of the sun at 11:13 p.m. EST (0413 GMT March 5).

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Solar Flare

Strongest Solar Radiation Storm in 7 Years

A powerful solar eruption is expected to blast a stream of charged particles toward Earth on January 24, as the strongest radiation storm since 2005 rages on the sun. The solar flare spewed from sunspot 1402, a region of the sun that has become increasingly active lately. Several NASA satellites, including the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), and the Stereo spacecraft observed the massive sun storm. According to NOAA, this is the strongest solar radiation storm since May 2005. A preliminary inspection of SOHO/STEREO imagery suggests that the CME will deliver a strong glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field on January 24-25 as it sails mostly north of our planet.

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Using Many Instruments to Track Comet

But on December 2, 2011, the discovery of a new Kreutz-family comet was announced. Discovering a comet before it moves into view of space-based telescopes, gives scientists the opportunity to prepare the telescopes for the best possible observations. Indeed, since comet Lovejoy was visible from the ground, scientists have high hopes that this might be an exceptionally bright comet,

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Disappeared comet dive bombs

Disappeared Comet Dive Bombs

This week Comet Dive Bombs plunged into the sun. NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory ( SOHO) spacecraft shows a huge coronal mass ejection erupt from the sun’s surface shortly before a comet dove towards the sun and disappeared. The comet was first discovered by amateur astronomer Sergey Shurpakov. Astronomers think that the comet was part of the so-called Kreutz family of comets. Kreutz comets are comets in orbits that approach within a few hundred thousand miles of the sun.

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