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Posts Tagged "space weather"

Basic Space

Remember that solar eruption from a few days ago? It just hit Earth

An M6.5 flare that erupted on the morning of April 11, 2013. Credit: NASA/SDO

On Thursday morning, the biggest solar flare of the year erupted from the sun. Shortly afterwards it was followed by a coronal mass ejection (CME) that sent tons of high energy particles hurtling towards Earth. Solar flares can affect us almost instantly. This one was no exception, causing a radio blackout. But CMEs take longer [...]

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Basic Space

The Sun’s Bright Idea

Light bulb erupting from the sun

Here’s an eruption from the sun that happened just a few days ago. It is a coronal mass ejection that loops out from the sun, looking slightly like a lightbulb that has just switched on. But it’s a far cry from a 60 watt bulb – the temperature of the solar corona where the bubble [...]

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Basic Space

A week in space: Cassini dips down to Enceladus, a solar flare erupts, Discovery moves, and more

Unprocessed image of Enceladus was taken last weekend. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

If I lived elsewhere in the multiverse, this is the news and cool space stuff I’d have been covering this week. Unfortunately, in this universe I didn’t have the time. Last weekend, Cassini dipped down close to Enceladus to “taste” the jets that erupt from its surface. For some background on Enceladus, see my entry [...]

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Basic Space

‘Dropout’ Electrons Get Pushed out of Van Allen Belt

Judging by the many flares erupting from the sun at the moment, it is well on track to reach its next peak in activity early next year. As this peak approaches, we can expect many more huge bursts of energy that erupt from the sun and send lots of energetic particles, and sometimes magnetic fields, [...]

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Basic Space

Explaining Titan’s Alien Weather System

A composite image taken by Cassini on a fly by in 2005. This is roughly what Titan would look like to the human eye. Credit: {link url="http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA06230"}NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute{/link}

Underneath Titan’s dense atmosphere lies something rather unusual, by terrestrial standards. Some features of the Saturnian moon, at first glance, might look similar to some features we have on Earth — it is the only other body in the solar system with lakes, and appears to have an active weather system. But instead of water, [...]

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Observations

Davos: The Future of Space

Space: the beneficial frontier. That was the underlying theme of a panel called “The Future of Space,” which I moderated at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting at Davos, Switzerland. It was the first such session on space services in the formal part of the program at this meeting of leaders in policy and business—and [...]

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Observations

Earth-Facing Sunspots Could Erupt This Weekend

Sunspot region 1476

Space weather forecasters are keeping a close watch on a large collection of sunspots that could unleash blasts of energy or charged particles toward Earth in the coming days. Sunspot region 1476, the dark patch resembling the Hawaiian Islands in the photo at left, is located near the center of the sun’s face as seen [...]

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Observations

When It Comes to Solar Storms, We Don’t Even Know How Bad It Might Get

CME, solar storm, space weather, electricity

Space weather is not all bad. After all, the charged particles streaming out from the sun that cause geomagnetic disturbances on and around our planet also produce the lovely aurorae near Earth’s poles—and sometimes at much lower latitudes. But when the sun really acts up, spewing out heaps of charged particles in a burst called [...]

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Observations

Largest Solar Storm Since 2005 to Hit Earth Tuesday

Last night the sun unleashed a flash of radiation called a solar flare, along with a generous belch of ionized matter that is now racing toward Earth at thousands of kilometers a second. The solar storm front from the ionized blast, called a coronal mass ejection (CME), should arrive tomorrow morning, according to the National [...]

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Observations

See the Stormy Sun That Produced Yesterday’s Geomagnetic Disturbance [Video]

A “strong to severe” geomagnetic storm hit Earth yesterday, NASA says, after the sun unleashed a burst of plasma from a turbulent region two days prior. The region, known as sunspot 1302, has sent forth a few blasts of energy called solar flares, including a flare and an accompanying belch of plasma called a coronal [...]

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The Countdown

5 Remarkable Facts about the Northern Lights – The Countdown, Episode 39

topimage

What causes the sky near Earth’s poles to light up with swirling, colorful light? In this episode of the Countdown, we explore the physics behind auroras and more. More to Explore: Visit LightsOverLapland.com for more images of the Northern Lights from Abisko National Park in Sweden. Aurora Forecast (NOAA) Written in the Sky: Aurora Borealis [...]

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