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#1036483 - 30/11/2011 11:53 Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013
SunnyDays Offline
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Registered: 30/01/2011
Posts: 1615
Loc: Oxley Brisbane Qld
I thought I would start this thread for those of you who might be interested in the Sun – a place where we can learn and share information about the Sun and how it affects life not only on our planet but that in our Solar System (space weather).

Ever since I was a little girl I have always been awe inspired by how large and hot it is. Second to Health and Nutrition it is one of my favourite interests and I always check it daily to see how many sunspots there are, or if the Sun has burped letting off a solar flare releasing a CME (coronal mass ejection) among other things.

With the Sun about to reach a Solar Maximum in 2012-2013 things could start to get interesting as I have already noticed increased activity and more sunspots. The Sun’s solar magnetic field changes every 11 years. Figure below shows the last cycle.




I will begin by sharing links to sites that contain lots of information;

http://www.spaceweather.com/
Spaceweather.com is a great info site that keeps you up to date on the Sun’s activity and space weather daily. Also has a section on Near Earth Asteroids which is interesting, it helped no doubt spark the interest in YU55 smile

http://spaceweathermonitor.com/
Again another useful site linking to up to date information on space weather from NASA, SOHO and SWPC and much more

http://www.solarham.com/
A great site linking to all the top information about the Sun and space weather


Now to more specific information sites by NASA;

http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/home.html
Soho stand for ‘Solar and Heliospheric Observatory’

Fantastic site one of my favourites containing all the instruments used to measure the Sun’s activity and current space weather from various images of the Sun, Solar Wind Speed, Proton levels to how many current Sun spots there are etc etc



Did you know the following.... these images taken by Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope depict the solar atmosphere at different wavelengths and show solar material at different temperatures.


Red is 304 Angstrom the bright material is between 60,000 to 80,000 degrees Kelvin
Blue is 171 Angstrom at 1 million degrees
Green is 195 Angstrom at 1.5 million Kelvin
Yellow is 284 Angstrom at to 2 million degrees


For a great brief video introduction to space weather half way down the page http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/spaceweather/ click on this figure




http://stereo.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Stereo stands for ‘Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory’
STEREO consists of two space-based observatories - one ahead of Earth in its orbit, the other trailing behind. It enables you to see the structure and evolution of solar storms as they blast from the Sun and move out through space



Quoted from the site.....This figure plots the current positions of the STEREO Ahead (red) and Behind (blue) spacecraft relative to the Sun (yellow) and Earth (green). The dotted lines show the angular displacement from the Sun. Units are in A.U.





http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Stand for ‘Solar Dynamics Observatory’
Great for live shots of the sun... this is right now as I type this post. Wow looks as though there is some activity on the eastern limb which is about to turn and be directly facing Earth in the coming days (from a large Sunspot region which could be one to watch)





http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpmenu/forecasts/SRS.html

This site is for Daily Sunspot Summaries – The Solar Region Summary (SRS), compiled by SWPC, is a daily report of the active solar regions observed during the preceding day. The SRS contains a detailed description of the active regions currently visible on the solar disk.

Click on the dates listed



http://www.solarmonitor.org/

A better site for measuring the Sun spots





http://www.vsp.ucar.edu/Heliophysics/

Don’t stick my head much in this one anymore – great photos and explanation though.

Quoted from the site....

Heliophysics is all of the science common to the field of the Sun-Earth connections. This fast-developing field of research covers many traditional sub-disciplines of space physics, astrophysics, and climate studies. The NASA Living with a Star program, with its focus on the basic science underlying all aspects of space weather, acts as a catalyst to bring the many research disciplines together to deepen our understanding of the system of systems formed by the Sun-Earth connection.



http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/rt_plots/xray_5mBL.html

Great site to measure Solar Flares



http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/wsa-enlil/cme-based/

Measure the Sun’s wind Speed



http://www.helioviewer.org/

It is a solar data browser showing great live coverage of the Sun



http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/rt_plots/kp_3d.html

Measures the K- index - The K-index is a code that is related to the maximum fluctuations of horizontal components observed on a magnetometer relative to a quiet day, during a three-hour interval.

Here is a link to explain more about the K- Index http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/info/Kindex.html



http://www.lmsal.com/solarsoft/latest_events/

Solarsoft is full of instruments that measure the Sun’s activity... It is quite in depth though and for those who are up to speed in reading the various reports.



And Lastly......
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/Education/index.html

The Spaceweather Prediction Centre – full of information – happy reading smile


Boy there is a lot to get your head around, probably information overload. Feel free to add more links, discuss flares and filaments, sunspot activity, CME’s basically what ever takes your fancy smile


Edited by Seabreeze (09/08/2013 22:03)
Edit Reason: Extended topic title from 2012 to 2013. :)
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#1037598 - 02/12/2011 11:01 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: SunnyDays]
Walffles Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 28/03/2011
Posts: 282
Wow sunnydays.
I was just expecting a simple post with a link or two.
Youv'e done your research here.

Interesting thread, Ill be keeping an eye on this one.

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#1037651 - 02/12/2011 15:12 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: Walffles]
missychop Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 31/08/2009
Posts: 304
Loc: brisneyland
oh thats awesome! Is it true that the severity of solar flares will determine the Northern/Southern Lights? what do you know about this?

thanks for sharing that post its good reading!
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#1037659 - 02/12/2011 16:03 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: missychop]
SBT Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 07/02/2007
Posts: 14154
Loc: Townsville Dry Tropics
Quote:
An aurora (plural: auroras or aurorae) is a natural light display in the sky particularly in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere (thermosphere). The charged particles originate in the magnetosphere and solar wind and are directed by the Earth's magnetic field into the atmosphere. Aurora is classified as diffuse or discrete aurora. Most aurorae occur in a band known as the auroral zone
From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora_(astronomy)
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#1037765 - 02/12/2011 20:53 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: SBT]
SunnyDays Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 30/01/2011
Posts: 1615
Loc: Oxley Brisbane Qld
Hi waffles, missychop and SBT,

Yes I go a little over the top with anything I’m passionate about LOL

The aurora borealis occurs in the Northern Hemisphere and the aurora australis occurs in the Southern Hemisphere and is caused in laymen’s primarily by solar wind from the Sun.

SBT thanks for linking to Wikipedia for the definition of what is ‘solar wind’. Solar wind comprises of charged particles (electrons & protons) that hurtle 93 million miles from the Sun to the Earth at an approximate speed on average of 400km a second. The charged particles are then drawn magnetically to our poles (North and South) in our atmosphere creating the colourful auroras.

Below shot randomly selected off the internet- so beautiful smile



Solar wind predominately escapes through coronal holes producing a wind stream, this buffers our Earths magnetic field creating the auroras. The Earth is currently in a wind stream from the below Coronal Hole as I type this.

Image taken from www.spaceweather.com



Coronal Mass Ejections (CME’s) released by the Sun because of Solar Flares will also cause Solar Wind to buffer the Earth’s magnetic field causing Auroras. In the case we are experiencing now it is from both CME and because of the Coronal Hole.The higher in scale or stronger the flare the more intense and larger the CME will be that is released. With more charged particles hitting the Earth and higher speed means the Aurora will be stronger- meaning lower latitudes will see it just not those areas closer to the poles (the aurora covers a greater area). CME's take 2-3 days to reach Earth on average.

Solarwatcher’s video on YT explains the current coronal hole and impact. He does presentations like how I would love too but I’m computer illiterate. He has taught me a bit over time. The footage he shows is incredible you will enjoy this video smile he explains things well so you understand.

http://youtu.be/gJib1B7sEC8


I hope I have answered your question missychop I tried to keep it brief and in laymens, I'm not sure how much anyone who reads this already understands smile

Pictures of solar wind - sometimes pictures can explain so much more smile





Edited by SunnyDays (02/12/2011 20:55)
Edit Reason: spelling :)
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#1038318 - 04/12/2011 16:03 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: SunnyDays]
SunnyDays Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 30/01/2011
Posts: 1615
Loc: Oxley Brisbane Qld
Here are some short movies of the Sun’s activity in the last 48 hours - it has been relatively quite. It shows a small snapshot of the North Eastern Limb of the Sun, these movies are updated regularly so be quick to see it today (4 December 2011 our time). They can take a little while to load.

If you go to this site SDO - http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/data/subfield.php And then select the 304 Angstrom (orange sun) you will see what appears to be a small flare it captures (bright flash near end of movie). Feel free to watch the others too of the same area - they will appear different due to the differing wavelength captured.



The movies shows this part of the Sun
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#1040062 - 08/12/2011 20:01 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: SunnyDays]
SunnyDays Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 30/01/2011
Posts: 1615
Loc: Oxley Brisbane Qld
The Earth facing side of the Sun is very quiet at the moment, almost as boring as the weather has been well except for the rain we finally have received in SE QLD in the last 24 hours smile

Total Sunspots for 8 December 2011 = 122

Image below taken from SOHO




Wow check out the action that is about to turn and become Earth facing! I have impossed a little yellow dot near it to represent the approximate size of Earth. Aren't we glad we are so far away crazy




We may be in for some sizeable solar flare action in the coming days - I will keep you posted. Not forgetting it ties in nicely with our Eclipse on December 10
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#1040485 - 10/12/2011 09:17 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: SunnyDays]
SunnyDays Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 30/01/2011
Posts: 1615
Loc: Oxley Brisbane Qld
The Sun’s two new active regions (sunspots 11375 & 11374) shown below that are approaching Earth side of the Sun, are already beginning to get a little lively - they are connected by magnetic fields. We will have to wait and see what they bring in the coming days smile





Introducing Skyywatcher88 who also produces videos of the Sun’s activities – he’s not bad in putting together some fantastic visuals of the Sun and its eruptions.

http://youtu.be/I4NDPzGxLfI


Below is a snapshot from his latest video – it shows a C2.7 solar flare from Sunspot 11375 and in comparison to the size of Earth (1:56mins into the clip) looks rather impressive – but on the scale of flares C’s are small.




Note: the clip was made on the 8 Dec and the two new AR (active regions) had not been named yet hence he refers to them differently.



Edited by SunnyDays (10/12/2011 09:18)
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#1040520 - 10/12/2011 10:35 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: SunnyDays]
SBT Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 07/02/2007
Posts: 14154
Loc: Townsville Dry Tropics
Not going to be good viewing in Townsville tonight if this cloud cover keeps up.
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#1040828 - 10/12/2011 16:59 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: SBT]
SunnyDays Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 30/01/2011
Posts: 1615
Loc: Oxley Brisbane Qld
Hi SBT - I'm not sure about here in Brisbane too, alot of cloud around and we have two nice little storm cells active at present. I've provided links in the other thread for the eclipse to live webcams. frown might be our last resort.
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#1041867 - 11/12/2011 17:23 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: SunnyDays]
SunnyDays Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 30/01/2011
Posts: 1615
Loc: Oxley Brisbane Qld
Eclipse of a Different Kind

While we were all watching one form of Eclipse NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) observed on 8 December 2011 an unusual event on the sun: An erupting cloud of plasma was eclipsed by a dark magnetic filament. The source of the explosion is a farside active region due to turn toward Earth in a few days. For now, though, the blast site lies just behind the sun's eastern limb--perfectly situated for this rare kind of eclipse.

Note: the filament (follow yellow line) of relatively cool dark material snaking across the sun's surface in the foreground. That filament partially blocks our view of hot plasma exploding behind it. It’s over 100,000 km in length.

Following image from Spaceweather.com - click here to go view the brief movie NASA has provided




skyywatcher88 released a youtube clip 9 December 2011 showing some fantastic footage of the filament eruption plus footage of the following C3.1 solar flare from active region (sunspot 11374.

http://youtu.be/xpwF0pMtmMM





Outlook will still be a little quite for the next couple of days hopefully we might see an M Class flare soon smile I would love to share with you all some real solar flare storm activity.
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#1042293 - 12/12/2011 09:21 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: SunnyDays]
SunnyDays Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 30/01/2011
Posts: 1615
Loc: Oxley Brisbane Qld
My apologise with the above post - to view the eclipse of the filament eruption go to the top right hand side of the screen at Spaceweather.com and in the 'Archives' drop down box select 10 December 2011 and click the view button.

As shown in the below image.





That is one benefit of this site, that you can scroll back in time to see what articles have been posted in the past.
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#1042413 - 12/12/2011 14:05 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: SunnyDays]
Wattle Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 16/06/2007
Posts: 82
Loc: C.C.-NSW (7K's North of Norah ...
Hmmm, VERY interesting !

When I use to be into CB and Amateur radio, we use to always look forward to the '11 year cycle'.

The solar activity has an effect on the radio waves that makes them travel ALOT urther than normal.
(it was nick-named 'skip' - as it seemed to 'skip' along the ionosphere)

There use to be a Amateur radio magazine that had the solar propergation charts for the following month in the back of it.

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#1042473 - 12/12/2011 16:13 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: Wattle]
SunnyDays Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 30/01/2011
Posts: 1615
Loc: Oxley Brisbane Qld

Solarwatcher has also produced an updated clip with regards to the filament eruptions experienced in the last day on the Sun (now more than one) – they have been creating a bit of solar disturbance.

One particular eruption has produced quite a powerful ‘Halo CME’ which may be headed Earths way and reach our magnetosphere around 14 December. Thankfully it is not a direct impact as they will only clip slightly above and to the side of Earth as they go by and thus possibly create a geomagnetic storm.

Definition of halo CME taken from Spaceweather.com

CMEs aimed at Earth are called "halo events" because of the way they look in coronagraph images. As the expanding cloud of an Earth-directed CME looms larger and larger it appears to envelop the Sun, forming a halo around our star.

You will see this in his clip at 30 seconds and onwards.
http://youtu.be/lBJUw-VmnV8



To see the Geomagnetic Weather Scale and how it affects us on Earth go here - http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/NOAAscales/ so lets wait and see – I’ll keep you posted.

Here is a portion of the NOAA Space Weather Scale for Geomagnetic Storms
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#1043332 - 14/12/2011 08:42 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: SunnyDays]
SunnyDays Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 30/01/2011
Posts: 1615
Loc: Oxley Brisbane Qld

Comet Lovejoy is fast approaching the Sun!
Discovered by an Aussie smile

Quoted directly from Spaceweather.com (ensure the date is Dec 13 in the Archives drop down box top right corner)

SIGNIFICANT COMET PLUNGES TOWARD THE SUN: A comet nearly as wide as two football fields (200m) is plunging toward the sun where it will most likely be destroyed in a spectacular light show on Dec. 15/16. Although Comet Lovejoy (C/2011 W3) could become as bright as Jupiter or Venus when it "flames out," the glare of the sun will hide the event from human eyes. Solar observatories in space, however, will have a grand view. Yesterday the brightening comet entered the field of view of NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft:




"You can clearly see the comet heading diagonally through the images," says Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab who prepared the animation. "During the 16-hour sequence, the comet brightens from magnitude +8 to +6.5, approximately."

It will soon grow much brighter. "This comet is a true sungrazer, and will skim approximately 140,000 km (1.2 solar radii) above the solar surface on Dec. 15/16," notes Battams. At such close range, solar heating will almost certainly destroy the icy interloper,creating a cloud of vapor and comet dust that will reflect lots of sunlight. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) will have a particularly good view.

Discovered on Dec. 2nd by amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy of Australia, the comet is an unusually large member of the Kreutz family. Kreutz sungrazers are fragments of a single giant comet (probably the Great Comet of 1106) that broke apart back in the 12th century. SOHO sees one plunging into the sun every few days, but most are small, no more than 10 meters wide. Comet Lovejoy is at least ten times larger than usual.



Here is more info on Comet Lovejoy from Sungrazer - Shame we don't get to see it with our naked eye frown


Skyywatcher88 will be posting updates on imagery taken from LASCO C3 & C2 and Stereo B and other instruments from NASA

Most Recent Dec 13 http://youtu.be/K7UeXpRfVjE
Prior One Dec 12 http://youtu.be/U5Q5eX632lg




Edited by SunnyDays (14/12/2011 08:44)
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#1044209 - 16/12/2011 10:18 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: SunnyDays]
SunnyDays Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 30/01/2011
Posts: 1615
Loc: Oxley Brisbane Qld
Howdy All smile

Well good news no geomagnetic storms from any of the CME's that have been released from filament eruptions 3-4 days ago - not that they would have been bad at all, but I was going to share more info on it, we can wait till next time smile. The Planetary K Index that measure solar storms has not registered a thing over the last couple of days.

Found here.... NOAA Spaceweather if you click on the link today you will note only small green bars rating no higher than 1 on the scale. It updates 3 hourly I believe.


Now for Comet Lovejoy updates (wasn't that the name of the fat little penguin in Happyfeet, voice was Robin Williams - gosh I love that movie!)

Anyway here is some of the latest footage from the SOHO Coronagraph - also on Spaceweather.com - 15 December 2011





Skyywatcher88 updates are below on the comet - more fantastic footage! smile and updates on a large new sunspot region and more C Class flares... just a typical day on the Sun smile

http://youtu.be/TzuY9e-Fbzs

http://youtu.be/konNQ631PMk
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#1044866 - 17/12/2011 17:55 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: SunnyDays]
GDL Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 17/02/2008
Posts: 630
Loc: Bowen Mountain NSW
Sunny Days, comet lovejoy made it round the sun

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#1045117 - 17/12/2011 23:31 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: GDL]
SunnyDays Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 30/01/2011
Posts: 1615
Loc: Oxley Brisbane Qld
Helloooo I'm full of cheer for the little comet (actually a nice bottle of sav blanc from NZ) & I'm confined to the iPhone so this will be tricky smile wow not many survive.

Hi GDL, I just jumped on spaceweather to check - so many this year have not made it so it is a big deAL For NASA to see it receding from the sun. I'll have to check the footage in the morning iPhone won't play the SDO footage for me Rrrrrr

Here is snippet from Spaceweather.com Dated 17 December 2011

COMET LOVEJOY SURVIVES: Incredibly, sungrazing Comet Lovejoy has survived its close encounter with the sun. Lovejoy flew only 140,000 km over the stellar surface during the early hours of Dec 16th. Experts expected the icy sundiver to be destroyed. Instead, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught the comet emerging from perihelion (closest approach) apparently intact:


Comet Lovejoy began the week as a chunk of dusty, rocky ice more than 200 meters in diameter. No one can say how much of the comet's core remains intact or how long it will hang together after the searing heat of perihelion. "There is still a possibility that Comet Lovejoy will start to fragment," says researcher Karl Battams in a NASA news release. "It’s been through a tremendously traumatic event; structurally, it could be extremely weak."


I'll capture some footage tomorrow as I'm unable too at the moment. Thankyou for letting know smile

P.S. the fat little penguin was Lovelace in Happy Feet smile he survived too hehehe
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#1045405 - 18/12/2011 20:52 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: SunnyDays]
SunnyDays Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 30/01/2011
Posts: 1615
Loc: Oxley Brisbane Qld

Unfortunately I've tried and I'm unable to download any footage myself as low and behold my computer has finally reached capacity - it is soooo slow, took me awhile to figure it out. Actually it's about to get the boot - it's as old as me smile

So I will link through to Spaceweather.com make sure December 18 is selected.

You will note the below coronagraph footage showing the comet coming out from around the back of the Sun. It looks a little strange as the tail is in front - like it is going backwards - but as some of you will know the tail of the comet always faces away from the sun in it's journey.




A team led by Czech astronomer Jan Ebr captured this image at sunrise on Dec. 17th - They state...
"We used a remotely-controlled 12-inch telescope in Malargue, Argentina," says Ebr. "The sun was below horizon at the time we took the picture, but just barely. There was only a 30 minute window between the rise of the comet and that of the sun "




Skyywatcher88 latest video on comet Lovejoy

http://youtu.be/X2Yqp-veSpI


And here is his latest solar update - pretty cool flaming seahorse at 1.27 minutes into the clip smile

http://youtu.be/WjH5ZBxwONo


The Sun is far too quiet for my liking so I'm wondering what is around the corner! Time will tell

cool
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#1049343 - 27/12/2011 18:27 Re: Solar Watch - Spaceweather 2011 - 2013 [Re: SunnyDays]
SunnyDays Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 30/01/2011
Posts: 1615
Loc: Oxley Brisbane Qld
Wow the Sun has been very busy since Christmas Eve. Finally some real action - not only do we have storms in Brisbane but also on the Sun grin

It started Christmas Eve with a pair of magnetic filaments erupting in the sun's northern hemisphere followed by a sequence of C-flares from sunspot 1385 in the sun's southern hemisphere.

Information from Spaceweather.com

New sunspot 1387 erupted during the late hours of Christmas Day, producing an M4-class flare and hurling a CME toward Earth. The CME is expected to deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on Dec. 28th at 1200 UT and a direct hit to the planet Mars on Dec. 30th at 1800 UT. Using onboard radiation sensors, NASA's Curiosity rover might be able to sense the CME when it passes the rover's spacecraft en route to Mars. Here on Earth, NOAA forecasters estimate a 30-to-40% chance of geomagnetic storms on Dec. 28th when the CME and an incoming solar wind stream (unrelated to the CME from the Coronal Hole shown below) could arrive in quick succession. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on Wednesday night.

Here is solarwatcher on the 26 December regarding the M4-Class flare http://youtu.be/kDIP5HWl3uo

Note: He mentions the possibility of a large earthquake in the next couple of days in the Southern Hemisphere - lets see!






Below snapshot of the lastest solar flares can be found here on the GOES Xray Flux You can see we have had 3 M-Class flares. There is currently a 70% chance of more M-Class flares in the next 24 hour period.




Skyywatcher88 youtube updates

Christmas Eve filament eruptions
http://youtu.be/gFkte3rn1tg

C-Class and M-Class flare eruptions

http://youtu.be/SDCyMTZ9Ap4


I will keep you posted on what scale the geomagnetic storm intensity wise will reach on the scale as they hit Earth. We can go through that more as it happens.

Cheers Angie
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