Wednesday, April 18, 2012

BIG BURST OF PLASMA

How many times do I tell the kids to keep a safe distance from the fire pit for fear a spark might burn them. Of course the warning wanes and before long they are poking at the fire again!

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has released some dynamic pictures/video of a coronal mass ejection, which followed a solar flare. Fortunately, the ejection was was not aimed toward Earth.

The storm was the strongest this year, but NASA spacecraft captured great photos of magnetic plasma. Two spacecraft—including the Spitzer Space Telescope—will feel the effects of the solar storm

When aimed at Earth, strong solar flares and CMEs can supercharge the planet's auroras, also known as the northern and southern lights. Extremely powerful CMEs can pose a danger to astronauts and satellites in space, as well as power grids, navigation and communications systems on Earth.

Space weather scientists use five categories — A, B, C, M and X — to rank solar flares based on their strength and severity. A-class flares are the weakest types of sun storms, while X-class eruptions are the most powerful. This one registered as a moderate M1.7-class.

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