The Sun emitted a significant solar flare on Oct. 22, 2012, peaking at 11:17 p.m. EDT. The flare came from an active region on the left side of the sun that has been numbered AR 1598, which has already been the source of a number of weaker flares. It was captured by SDO in the 131 Angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light. The movies covers less than an hour.
This flare was classified as an X.1-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, an X3 is three times as intense, and so on. An X-class flare of this intensity can cause degradation or blackouts of radio communications for about an hour. This event did produce an impulsive R3 Solar Flare Radio Blackout. R3 is considered “Strong”, meaning a wide area blackout of HF radio communication, loss of radio contact for about an hour on the sunlit side of Earth.
The Sun has weather too, in a sense. This “cloud” of charged gas is powered by the magnetic field that surrounds the Sun.
A recent, prolonged lull in the sun’s activity did not prevent the Earth from absorbing more solar energy than it let escape back into space, a NASA analysis of the Earth’s recent energy budget indicates.
An imbalance like this drives global warming — since more energy is coming in than leaving — and, because it occurred during a period when the sun was emitting comparatively low levels of energy, the imbalance has implications for the cause of global warming.
The results confirm greenhouse gases produced by human activities are the most important driver of global climate change, according to the researchers.
They found that the Earth absorbed 0.58 watts of excess energy per square meter than escaped back into space during the study period from 2005 to 2010, a time when solar activity was low. By comparison, the planet receives 0.25 watts less energy per square meter during a solar minimum, than during a period of maximum activity in the sun’s 11-year cycle. (Currently, the sun is in the midst of Solar Cycle 24, with activity expected to ramp up toward solar maximum in 2013.)
On December 15th, Comet Lovejoy passed within 140 000 kilometers of the surface of the sun. Much of the comet evaporated, but the frozen nucleus of the comet survived and returned to deep space.
What Lies Beneath? Magnetar Enigma Deepens
Observations with NASA’s Chandra, Swift, and Rossi X-ray observatories, Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, and ESA’s XMM-Newton have revealed that a slowly rotating neutron star with an ordinary surface magnetic field is giving off bursts of X-rays and gamma rays.
This discovery may indicate the presence of an internal magnetic field much more intense than the surface magnetic field, with implications for how the most powerful magnets in the cosmos evolve.
What Is Hydrogen Alpha?
Imaged Above: Combination of 3 surveys (image compilations of data) in Ha - Hydrogen Alpha. Credit: Harvard.Edu
So some of you might have noticed I started posting more Ha images than I normally would, aside from showing more activity in space than you normally would with your unaided eyes, this way of seeing images is essentially good to highlight just how much hydrogen a star or a cosmic environment contains since it is the most abundant thus shows activity very clearly when possible. Here’s a nice explanation courtesy of AstronomyKnow-How on what Ha actually is and what it’s used for:
The sun contains many elements but the most abundant by far is hydrogen. The visible layers (the photosphere and the chromosphere) is the only part of the sun that is cool enough for hydrogen to exist in it’s atomic form and it is here that we can see the absorption and emission spectra (colors) for hydrogen.
It is helpful to think of a hydrogen atom as a small ‘solar system’ with the heavy nucleus as the ‘sun’ in the middle. This particular solar system has only one planet orbiting - ie a single electron. Due to the laws of quantum physics, this electron can only orbit the nucleus in specific orbits which are given a number n.
When electrons jump from the lower to the higher number orbits, they absorb a particular amount of energy and we can observe the absorption spectrum. When they fall back again they release the same amount of energy and we can observe the emission spectrum. The amount of energy absorbed or released in this way can be mathematically directly related to the wavelength at which we see the absorption and emission lines on the spectrum. [Side note: Essentially, you’re viewing the action of these movements of energy as emissions on the full spectrum of colors. Red typically highlighting hydrogen emissions.]
Hydrogen can absorb and emit in the ultraviolet region of the spectrum (the Lyman series) but the emissions and absorptions we see in the visible part of the spectrum are the Balmer series and occur when electrons jump from and fall to the n=2 orbit.
The Balmer series lines that we see are imaginatively called alpha, beta, gamma…. and so looking at the diagram below you can see the whole picture:
The line that appears in the red part of the spectrum is created when an electron moves between the second and third orbit (N=2 and N=3) and the wavelength at which this occurs is 656nm. It is this line that is called the Hydrogen alpha line and hydrogen alpha filters are designed to block out as much of the spectrum as possible leaving only a very small bandwidth through which light can pass at the H-alpha frequency.
Hydrogen Alpha filters typically have a bandpass in the region of 0.5Å to 1Å (Å = Angstrom) where 1Å is 0.1nm.
Nearly 130 years ago today, the premier event in astrophysics involved watching a tiny dot slowly sail across the surface of the sun. That dot was our sister planet, Venus, and observing its transit as it passed directly between the Earth and sun was a momentous scientific undertaking.
A transit of Venus is one of the rarest astronomical phenomena, occurring every 243 years. Because of the positions of Earth and Venus around the sun, the transit usually happens twice in close succession, such as the pair in 1761 and 1769 or 1874 and 1882.
The above image comes from 1882, when astronomers were very keen to make accurate measurements of the occurrence. That’s because, until this time, they did not know the exact size of the solar system. Since the 1600s, scientists had been able to calculate the relative positions of the planets but no one knew the specific distance between them.
Mercury And The Sun
Just days before the peak of the Leonid meteor shower, skywatchers were offered another astronomical treat as planet Mercury crossed the face of the Sun. November 1999.
Violent Sunspot Group AR 1302 Unleashes a Flare
One of the most active sunspot groups in years is currently crossing the Sun. AR 1302 first came around the Sun’s edge last week and is so large it can be seen without a telescope. Coronal Mass Ejections from AR 1302 have already caused strong geomagnetic storms including notable aurora activity around both of Earth’s poles.
Pictured above, plasma was left magnetically hanging above the Sun’s surface after AR 1302 emitted an X-class solar flare last Thursday. Earth is illustrated in the inset for a size comparison.
Although another X-class flare was emitted on Saturday, no flares from AR 1302 have been aimed directly at the Earth, as yet. The AR 1302 sunspot group will continue to evolve but likely remain visible on the Sun for the next week.
See also: Wide view of AR 1302
NASA Voyager - Magnetic Bubbles at Edge of Solar System (by LittleSDOHMI)
The sun’s magnetic field spins opposite directions on the north and south poles. These oppositely pointing magnetic fields are separated by a layer of current called the heliospheric current sheet. Due to the tilt of the magnetic axis in relation to the axis of rotation of the Sun, the heliospheric current sheet flaps like a flag in the wind. The flapping current sheet separates regions of oppositely pointing magnetic field, called sectors. As the solar wind speed decreases past the termination shock, the sectors squeeze together, bringing regions of opposite magnetic field closer to each other. The Voyager spacecraft have now found that when the separation of sectors becomes very small, the sectored magnetic field breaks up into a sea of nested “magnetic bubbles” in a phenomenon called magnetic reconnection. The region of nested bubbles is carried by the solar wind to the north and south filling out the entire front region of the heliopause and the sector region in the heliosheath.
This discovery has prompted a complete revision of what the heliosheath region looks like. The smooth, streamlined look is gone, replaced with a bubbly, frothy outer layer.
Credit: NASA Voyager / Goddard Space Flight Center
The Chrysler Building’s crown illuminated by the sun. Midtown, New York City.
“The Chrysler Building is considered a masterpiece of Art Deco architecture. The distinctive ornamentation of the building is based on features that were then being used on Chrysler automobiles. The corners of the 61st floor are graced with eagles, replicas of the 1929 Chrysler hood ornaments; on the 31st floor, the corner ornamentation are replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps. The building is constructed of masonry, with a steel frame, and metal cladding. In total, the building currently contains 3,862 windows on its facade and 4 banks of 8 elevators designed by the Otis Elevator Corporation. The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976. “- Source
- Reblogged from letslook4treasure
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- chrysler building
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- city photography
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- art deco
- art deco architecture
- chrysler building crown
- top of the chrysler building
- nyc architecture
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- building facade
LIGHT BRIGHT Two groups of active regions on the Sun put on energetic displays of magnetic forces at work as they blast out at least five solar storms over about 36 hours (from June 1-2, 2011). As they continue to rotate so that they are facing Earth, storms produced by these regions may generate “space weather” effects, including broader aurora displays and possibly technology issues. (Photo: Solar Dynamics Observatory / NASA)