Thursday, May 30, 2013

Blowin' in the wind

A large coronal hole is currently transiting the solar disk center.   This may be a source of high-speed solar wind and potential geomagnetic activity in a few days.   

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

SDO is Featured on the BBC Website

SDO images are featured in a slideshow on the BBC website In Pictures: Raw Power of the Sun. Check and see if favorites are there.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

AR 11748 Lets Go Another X-class Flare!

AR 11748 unleashed another X-class flare last night. It was an X1.2, peaking at 0148 UTC, 15-May-2013 (9:48 pm ET, 14-May-2013). The location was N11, E63, a little south of the earlier flares but in the same active region. Here is the post-flare arcade, nicely displayed in AIA 335 the light of Fe XVI, which measures plasma at 2.5 million Kelvin. This is almost 10 hours after the peak and the loops are still bright.
Today at 2:10 pm ET SDO will do a momentum management burn. We will fire the thrusters to force the reaction wheels to go to the desired spin rates. We will be off-line for about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Three X-class Flares in One Movie!

A movie in AIA 304 covering all three X-class flares we saw since Monday morning. There were a lot of little flares from the same region. Lots of flows out of the region as well. Very nice eruption just before the flare.

Thanks to Steele for putting this together.

The Third X-class Flare in 24 Hours!

The Sun unleashed another X-class flare last night, the third in 24 hours. They have all come from the same active region, which is AR 11748 but the flare was at coordinates N15 E77. This X3.2 flare peaked at 0111 UTC on 14-May-2013 (9:11 pm ET on 13-May-2013). Here are some stills from AIA 1600 and 1700 and the HMI continuum. The 1600 image at upper left is from later in the flare (0200 UTC) and shows the loops in 1600, with a bridge moving toward the upper right of the frame.
The 1700 image at upper right is a little earlier (0148 UTC) but is the best time to see the wisps of coronal loops in this channel. There is a little wisp of light above the loops that is also seen in the 1600 passband on left.
The HMI continuum image at left (also at 0200 UTC) shows the sunspot that is producing these flares. The movies show that the sunspot is changing, the two small groups on the right merging and the elongated spot on the lower left expanding out to join them.
Great times ahead for this active region!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Second X-class Flare, this time in motion!

Here's a movie of the second X-class flare, which erupted at 1605 UTC on 13-May-2013. This movie uses the AIA 131 passband, which is measuring plasma at 10 million K. This flare is in a region that just rotated onto the visible disk. After the flare appears you can see the emission climb out away from the Sun as the loops expand outward.

X-class Flare this Morning!

Last night at 0200 UTC (10:00 pm ET) the Sun unleashed a an X1.7 flare! It was over the east limb (left edge of SDO images) from the viewpoint of SDO. NOAA places it at 15 degrees North latitude, meaning it is in the active region latitude band. Here is the EVE irradiance measurements showing the increase in solar output at wavelengths between 0.1 and 7 nm.

For a new view of a flare, here is the AIA 1600 channel for 0248 UTC 13-May-2013. It shows a nice set of loops rising over the flaring region, which is just over the limb. This channel measures C IV emissions. These loops are about 26 Mm (16 million miles) high, a little over twice the diameter of the Earth. They are visible about 21 minutes after the peak in the X-ray irradiance.

The same region has produced another X flare, this one an X2.8! I hope it keeps this up as it rotates into view.

Friday, May 3, 2013

M-class Flare!

NOAA announced that the solar X-Ray Flux exceeded M5, 2013 May 03 1729 UTC (2:29 pm ET). Here's a view of the peak brightness of the flare from the EVE SAM camera. SAM is pinhole camera that is sensitive to X-rays. The X marks where the flare overwhelmed the CCD. Another view showing the flaring region in the upper left limb of an AIA 94 image. The active region that flared has not yet been assigned a number, but keep an eye on it as it rotates into view!

SDO Movies at

Check out the Weather Channel website. There are several movies from SDO and even one about a special bird named Camilla! I also saw a story about space junk, which more solar activity would help clean out of low-Earth orbit. More sunspots please!