Thursday, July 05, 2012

July 4th Celebrations From AR 1515 and AR 1513

The above image, captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows an M5.3 class solar flare that peaked on July 4th at 09:55 UTC (5:55 AM EDT). The flare is shown in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, a wavelength that is particularly good for capturing the radiation emitted from flares. The wavelength is typically colorized in teal as shown here. Image Credit: NASA/SDO/AIA/Helioviewe

It seems the sun wanted to take part in the Independence Day celebrations. On Wednesday, July 4th, the large sunspot of Active Region 1515 (AR 1515) threw at least four minor coronal mass ejections (CMEs) into space. Of the four, one is headed toward Earth. According to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather lab, the cloud will reach Earth on July 7th around 06:00 UTC. Observers in the high latitudes should be alert for auroras on that day. 

Also on July 4th, AR 1513 erupted, producing an M2-class solar flare. The burst was heard by those monitoring shortwave radios. The noise is caused by beams of electrons that are accelerated by the flare. As the electrons cut through the sun's atmosphere (a combination of the photosphere, chromosphere and corona), they generate a ripple of plasma waves and radio emissions that are detectable on Earth. 92.9 million miles away. 
More activity is expected from AR 1515 and AR 1513. Stay tuned... 

To learn more about the sun and to stay current on solar activity, visit the mission home page of Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), .

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