Here Comes the Sun! CME Headed Toward Earth, Saturday Delivery

As you read this, a huge cloud of charged solar particles is speeding toward our planet, a coronal mass ejection resulting from an X1.4-class flare that erupted from sunspot 1520 on July 12. The CME is expected to collide with Earth’s magnetic field just after 6 a.m. EDT Saturday, potentially affecting satellite operations and tripping…

How Big is a CME?

This big! The M1.7-class flare that erupted from active region 1461 on Monday, April 16 let loose an enormous coronal mass ejection many, many times the size of Earth — and I for one was glad that our planet was safely tucked out of aim at the time… and 93 million miles away! Read more here.

The Sun Fires Off a Warning Shot

Today, April 16, a class M1.7 coronal mass ejection (CME) exploded from the Sun’s eastern limb — an enormous expulsion of solar material, flung out into space by a giant snap of the Sun’s complex magnetic field.

Time For Some Stormy Solar Weather!

Any lapse in solar activity we may have seen during this period of “solar maximum” came to an end this weekend with some very energetic flares and CMEs, including the one seen above: an M8.7-class flare spotted by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) at 3:49 UT this morning. This comes just 4 days after a…

One “Big Blemish” – AR 1339

Another fantastic image by Alan Friedman, this shows the massive sunspot region AR 1339 as it appeared on November 5, 2011 while in the process of rotating into view – and aim! – of Earth. Estimated at about 17 times the width of Earth, AR 1339 contains some gigantic sunspots capable of producing high-powered solar…

A Splash of Sun

A large solar flare erupted from the Sun on September 7, 2011 and resulted in a coronal mass ejection (CME) and impressive display of magnetic activity, seen here in a video made from data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory’s AIA 304 imaging assembly. Spanning the course of about three hours over the 7th and 8th…

SDO: Year One

Can’t see the video below? Click here. One year ago today, on April 21, 2010, NASA held a First Light press conference where the first images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory were presented to the public! Now here we are one year later and the images and video we have enjoyed these past 12 months…

Active region is active.

Active region 1163-1164 kept the show going this morning, February 27 2011, with a large coronal mass ejection (CME) that erupted at around 4:30am EST from the Sun’s western limb. The animation above was made from ten high-resolution images taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, and shows this particular flare in action. (Click the image…

Flare Out

Today at 7:35 UT, hours before the final Discovery shuttle launch, the Sun had a launch of its own: an M3-class solar flare spewed a giant plume of material hundreds of thousands of miles into space. Luckily this ejection was not facing Earth at the time, but the active region responsible is gradually rotating into…

The Sun’s Still At It!

‘Tis the season…the season for solar activity, that is! Last week was just the beginning, even though it saw some of the most powerful solar flares of the past four years send charged solar particles streaming toward Earth. Luckily our magnetosphere was in such a position to absorb much of it, creating some beautiful aurora…