Posts Tagged ‘Solar Dynamics Observatory’

25 February

Yesterday’s Magnificent Solar Flare Unleashed From The Sun


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Solar Flare-Multi-wavelengths, Feb. 24, 2014 (credit: NASA/SDO, Solar Dynamics Observatory). This design is also available at

Wow, yesterday (Monday, Feb. 24, 2014), the sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 7:49 P.M. (EST). NASA’s SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory), keeping the constant watch on the sun, captured images of the event. Above you are seeing the SDO images from 7:25 P.M. EST showing the first moments of this x-class flare in different wavelengths of light (in units of angstrom, A with circle above, 1.0 x 10^(-10) meters), seen as the bright spot on the left limb of the sun. Hot solar material can be seen hovering above the active region in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona. This flare is classified as an X4.9-class flare. X-class denotes the most intense flares while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 is twice as intense as an X1 whereas X3 is three times as intense as X1.

Below (in italics), is wikipedia’s explanation of the sun, solar flare and CME (coronal mass ejections) and a previously uploaded video by sunisthefuture channel :

solar flare is a sudden brightening observed over the Sun‘s surface or the solar limb, which is interpreted as a large energy release of up to 6 × 1025 joules of energy (about a sixth of the total energy output of the Sun each second or 160,000,000,000 megatons of TNT equivalent, over 25,000 times more energy than released from the impact of Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 with Jupiter). They are mainly followed by a colossal coronal mass ejection also known as a CME. The flare ejects clouds of electrons, ions, and atoms through the corona of the sun into space. These clouds typically reach Earth a day or two after the event. The term is also used to refer to similar phenomena in other stars, where the term stellar flare applies.


Solar Flare of May 3, 2013 (credit: NASA/SDO)

Solar Flare of 2011 produced a CME that did not travel toward the Earth (credit: NASA/SDO)













Solar flares affect all layers of the solar atmosphere (photospherechromosphere, and corona), when the plasma medium is heated to tens of millions of kelvins the electronsprotons, and heavier ions are accelerated to near the speed of light. They produce radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum at all wavelengths, from radio waves to gamma rays, although most of the energy is spread over frequencies outside the visual range and for this reason the majority of the flares are not visible to the naked eye and must be observed with special instruments. Flares occur in active regions around sunspots, where intense magnetic fields penetrate the photosphere to link the corona to the solar interior. Flares are powered by the sudden (timescales of minutes to tens of minutes) release of magnetic energy stored in the corona. The same energy releases may produce coronal mass ejections (CME), although the relation between CMEs and flares is still not well established.

related posts, below:

Solar Flare of Yesterday

Sun & Its CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejections)

Understanding Our Powerful Sun & Its CME (Coronal Mass Ejection)

Gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

~have a bright and sunny day~

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1 March

Sun & Its CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejections)


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(Please click on red links below)

Some of you asked me for the transcript of the video and commented on the cool images of the Sun and its CMEs, so here is more on the subject matter! Transcript of our video on Feb. 21, 2013 and more fantastic images of the Sun and its CMEs (coronal mass ejections).

Transcript of the video:  The sun, it has shed light on our homes for over four billion years. It will continue to do so for another four. It is massive almost beyond comprehension, constant yet ever changing. Born from the swirling cloud of dust and gas, it is a giant fusion engine that drives the solar system. It seams and broils like a living thing. Loops of plasma rise up, so large that would dwarf earth. Explosion flash from its surface. And yet the sun would also give its warmth and life and beauty….

Coronal mass ejections (or CMEs) are huge clouds of plasma and magnetic fields occasionally thrown off by the sun.

Sun’s CMEs (of plasma & magnetic fields) burst & throw off by the Sun

Scientists study them because the massive burst  pose a threat to  space age technology, and even power grids on the ground. Within each CME lies a kernel, known as the flux rope, tightly wound groups of  magnetic lines that can contain and transport solar material. Astronomers have seen them as CMEs burst off of the sun.

Flux Ropes & CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejections) of the Sun (collaboration of NASA & Sun Is The Future)

But they have been next to  impossible to detect on the sun itself. New research using NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has now shown that they can be seen in just one of its cameras which shows the very hottest material on the sun. By watching a flux rope form and ejects as a CME, the research has brought some closure to one long standing mysteries, whether a rope is formed before or during a CME eruption. It’s impossible to actually see the flux ropes or any of the sun’s powerful magnetic fields involved with CMEs and flares because these fields are invisible.

Sun’s CME, Flux Ropes, and Internal Magnetic Fields (NASA)

But scientists can map them by observing plasma trapped by these fields, which shows up as thin lines under extreme ultraviolet light. Since earth’s atmosphere naturally filters these UV light, scientists must observe them using telescope in space, such as NASA’s SDO. So there’s been relatively few detailed observations of CMEs, particularly at higher temperatures. SDO images the sun at high image and time resolution. It is also the first satellite to consistently observe light with a wavelength of 131 A (angstroms),

Sun’s CME Flux Ropes viewed in 131 A (angstrom)

which highlights plasma at temperatures  around 10,000,000 degrees. This wavelength is usually reserved for studying solar flares. But what NASA and Naval Research Laboratory scientists  found is that the flux ropes associated with CMEs could only be seen at this temperature. On July 19, 2012, a CME erupted from the visible edge or limb of the sun. Because it was on the limb, the flux ropes were in profile and  particularly visible. Even more important, the flux ropes appeared about 7 hours earlier in the same location. The ropes were visible  as a line  of figure 8’s that looked exactly the way as theorists predicted  they would.

Sun’s CME Flux Ropes viewed in 171 A (angstrom) (NASA)

Sun’s CME Flux Ropes in Figure 8 (NASA)

This is the first direct evidence that flux ropes formed well before the coronal mass ejection. Footage of the CMEs from the SOHO spacecraft confirms the presence of the flux ropes. By adding  footage from the stereo A spacecraft which is viewing the sun from an entirely different angle, the researchers were able to create a three dimensional picture  of the flux ropes. For the most part, they followed the classic figure 8 pattern previously observed and predicted by solar models. But some of these ropes also had feet which extended farther away than scientists had expected. This deviation from the model is interesting and requires further studies. Besides show and proof of early flux rope formation, the study also paves the way for future flux ropes and CME research by literally finding a new light  to observe them in. The possibility of using flux rope formations as early warning system for CMEs means this line of research can have some very practical and far reaching applications and it could also help to wrap up some of the long standing mysteries of the sun.

If you are inspired or enthralled by these images, please feel free to visit or click inside the big rectangular box below with SUN IS THE FUTURE for gift items with these images.

~have a bright and sunny day~
gathered, edited, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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