Monday, July 8, 2013

Space Weather Alert: Colossal sunspot AR1785 is now directly facing Earth | SpaceWeather.com

 BIG SUNSPOT FACES EARTH: Colossal sunspot AR1785 is now directly facing Earth. The active region has a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class flares, yet so far the sunspot has been mostly quiet. Could it be the calm before the storm? NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of M-flares and a 10% chance of X-flares on July 8th.
NOTE: A slow-moving CME expelled from the sun on July 6th is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field on July 10th. Minor geomagnetic storms are possible when the CME arrives.

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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids


What's up in space

When is the best time to see auroras? Where is the best place to go? And how do you photograph them? These questions and more are answered in a new book, Northern Lights - a Guide, by Pal Brekke & Fredrik Broms.
Northern Lights - a Guide
BIG SUNSPOT FACES EARTH: Colossal sunspot AR1785 is now directly facing Earth. The active region has a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class flares, yet so far the sunspot has been mostly quiet. Could it be the calm before the storm? NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of M-flares and a 10% chance of X-flares on July 8th. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.
Sprawling more than 11 Earth-diameters from end to end, AR1785 is one of the biggest sunspots of the current solar cycle. In fact, it can barely fit on the screen. Click on the dark core below to see a complete hi-res picture taken by Christian Viladrich of Nattages, France:

To take the picture, Viladrich used a filtered 14-inch Celestron telescope. All those irregular blobs surrounding the primary dark core are boiling granules of plasma as small as the state of California or Texas. It's a very sharp picture. More images of the colossus may be found in the realtime gallery

SOUTHERN LIGHTS: On July 6-7, Earth passed through a region of interplanetary space with a south-pointing magnetic field. The encounter opened a crack in Earth's magnetosphere, allowing solar wind to flow inside. The resulting auroras were best seen in the wintry-dark skies of the southern hemisphere:

"These were the biggest auroras so far this year," says photographer Taichi Nakamura of Dunedin, New Zealand. "I rushed my 2 year old son and wife to finish their dinner, and I am glad I did. They enjoyed the show! It helped that the night was warmer than usual, not going under 0 degrees Celsius. I myself became so excited that I took more than 2500 shots."
More auroras could be in the offing. A slow-moving CME expelled from the sun on July 6th is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field on July 10th. Minor geomagnetic storms are possible when the CME arrives. Aurora alerts: text, voice




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