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C. Alex Young
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Nerd, geek or ordinary guy, maybe one or all of those things
Nerd, geek or ordinary guy, maybe one or all of those things

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Winter wonderland aurora around the arctic circle. Luba Trifonova captured these amazing images from the Kola Peninsula of Russia. Beautiful green aurora shining down upon moonlit snow. High speed solar wind swept past Earth to produce a G1 geomagnetic storm, exciting aurora across Canada and into the northern US. Forecasters estimate a 30% chance for continued storms. credit: Luba Trifonova and spaceweather.com
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2014-12-30
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Join solar scientists discuss the best observed flare in history. Happening now through a Google+ hangout.
On March 29, 2014, an X-class flare burst off the right side of the sun . . . and NASA was watching.

Coordinating their observations, five NASA observatories and one ground-based telescope were able to see things in the flare they'd never seen before.  Numerous other NASA spacecraft provided additional data about what was happening on the sun during the event and what the effects were at Earth. 

Join us at 2:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 8, 2014, as researchers describe how multiple missions worked together to explore the sun's surface and atmosphere, layer by layer, providing unprecedented images of the onset of a solar flare.  

In addition to the colorful pictures of the sun that NASA will share, participants will explain how such research can help scientists better understand what sets off these large explosions on the sun. Perhaps, someday scientists may be able to predict their onset, forewarning of the radio blackouts they can cause near Earth – blackouts that can interfere with military, airplane and ship communications.

Participants include: 
Adrian Daw: IRIS project scientist at NASA Goddard
Albert Shih: RHESSI scientist at NASA Goddard
Sabrina Savage: Hinode deputy project scientist at NASA Marshall
Lucia Kleint: Bay Area Environmental Research Institute 
Jeffrey Newmark: NASA Headquarters

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It's here. Storms ahead? CME associated with the X4.9 flare now be seen at the ACE spacecraft. The glancing blow should be at Earth soon. Aurora tonight? Perhaps.
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Let's talk #ISON. Check out Comet Encounter Tonight on PBS with @SungrazerComets and @thesuntoday. 9pm EST

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A new sunspot group, AR11897 is rotating into view. Solar active has decreased since AR11890 gave us it's last X1.1 and given that it is about to rotate over the west limb it seemed that activity may stay low. All the other active regions currently on the solar disk are too simple to provide significant activity. But the new region coming into view, AR11897, let off an M2 flare at 11:18 UT on Nov. 11, 2013. The region has not rotated enough onto the disk to get a complete picture of its magnetic complexity but the images of the sunspots in visible light look promising. 

Here is a video of composite SDO/AIA 171 and 131 angstrom images from 8:15 on Nov. 11, 2013 to 12:44 on Nov. 12, 2013. The small M-flare is visible in about the first sec. of the video.

credit: NASA/SDO/helioviewer
http://youtu.be/fZ-zO0Ssp_8

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Here is another look at the eruption from AR11890. The video has 4 sections. First the full disk is shown, then a zoomed in view, back to the full disk and lastly the full disk is shown inside the SOHO/LASCO/C2 coronagraph. The sun images are created using the SDO/AIA 171, 193 and 94 angstrom images. The active region erupted with another X1.1 flare but there was also a southward directed coronal wave and an Earth-directed CME. The flare peaked in X-rays at 5:14 UT, 11/10/2013. This flare, like the X3.3 and X1.1 flares from AR11890 earlier in the week was confined to a small region in the active region.

credit: NASA/SDO/helioviewer

http://youtu.be/DVkpOpA-I-I

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The power output of yesterday's X1.1 solar is ~1 million trillion 100 watt lightbulbs. The total energy is ~250 mag. 9 earthquakes or 500 hurricanes or 20,000 world yearly energy usage or 10 million volcanic eruptions or 10,000 trillion lightning bolts or 1 hundredth of sun's output every sec. credit: NASA/SDO/helioviewer
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AR11890 erupted with another X1.1 flare but there was also a southward directed coronal wave and an Earth-directed CME. The flare peaked in X-rays at 5:14 UT, 11/10/2013. This flare, like the X3.3 and X1.1 flares from AR11890 earlier in the week was confined to a small region in the active region.

This video shows the event in several SDO/AIA wavelengths. The first frames are the 304 angstrom wavelength showing the flare and a surge of southward directed darker material at temperatures around 40,000-80,000 Kelvin plasma. The next set of teal frames show the bright flash of the flare in 10-20 million Kelvin plasma with 131 angstrom light. The green images are from the 94 angstrom wavelength, showing the flare and also the southward wave in temperatures around 6 million Kelvin. The last 2 sets show 193 and 211 angstrom wavelengths. These wavelengths show 1 and 2 million Kelvin plasma respectively and are especially useful for observing coronal waves. 

NASA Space Weather Research Center (SWRC) simulations indicate that the leading edge of the CME will reach Earth at about 18:39 UT on 11/12/2013 (plus minus 7 hours). The geomagnetic impact is expected to be minor at most.

credit: NASA/SDO
http://youtu.be/L02esjEud04

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On Nov. 6, 2013 the sun erupted with 2 eruptions about 10 hours apart on the right and left sides of the sun. First, at about 13:30 UT, region AR11890 erupted producing an M3.9 solar flare as well as a fast surge of material blasting away from the sun towards the east (left side of the sun.) Some of the material left the solar surface as a coronal mass ejection (CME) but a lot of the material fell back onto the sun following the active region's magnetic field. Around 10 hours later at about 23:30 UT a filament erupted on the west limb (right side of the sun.) This expanded as a nice loop producing a bright CME. 

The video shows the eruption with a view of the full disk with the SDO/AIA 304. Then the video zooms into a view with the SDO/AIA 193 and 304 angstrom wavelengths showing the first eruption. The video switches to a view of the second eruption in SDO/AIA 304. 

credit: NASA/SDO/helioviewer

http://youtu.be/-EMcHmFaUdg

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Active region AR11890 is at it again. An X1.1 flare came from the region, peaking in X-rays at 4:26 UT, 11/08/2013. 

The event was similar to the earlier X3.3. It was impulsive and compact but not as much as the X3.3 flare. This eruption produced a small but noticeable coronal wave and dimming, indicating the loss of material in the form of a coronal mass ejection (CME.) The eruption also produced Type II and IV radio bursts, typical of a CMEs associated with a flare and a CME/radiation storms respectively. There was a moderately bright CME observed in the SOHO/LASCO and STEREO A&B Cor2 instruments. The CME was southward directed instead of Earth-directed despite the region's location on the solar disk.

The video shows the eruption with a view of the full disk with the SDO/AIA 304,171 and 193 angstrom wavelength then a zoomed in view with the SDO/AIA 171, 193 and 131 angstrom wavelengths.

 credit: NASA/SDO/LMSAL
http://youtu.be/wNtMHjew2hA
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