Our Star Is Alive Once Again!!!

Read on Bugg’s Blog

Yesterday, Dec. 22nd at approximately 0455 UT, magnetic fields around sunspot 1036 erupted, producing a C7-class solar flare. NASA’s STEREO-A spacecraft was almost directly above the sunspot at the time of the blast and recorded this extreme ultraviolet movie.

The shadowy wave racing away from the blast site is a solar tsunami, a swell of hot, magnetized plasma about 100,000 km high packing as much energy as a million megatons of TNT. The tsunami petered out before it went more than halfway around the sun, but another manifestation of the blast is still going. The eruption hurled a faint coronal mass ejection (CME) into space and the billion-ton cloud should cross Earth’s orbit on or about Dec. 25th. A glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field could spark polar auroras for Christmas.

The sun is showing signs of life. There are no fewer than five active regions on the sun’s surface, shown here in an extreme ultraviolet photo taken this morning by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). Each circle contains a sunspot or proto-sunspot belonging to new Solar Cycle 24. After two years of record-low sunspot numbers and many month-long stretches of

utter quiet, this is a notable outbreak. Whether it heralds a genuine trend or merely marks a temporary, statistical uptick in activity remains to be seen. Sunspot 1035 (bottom image) is putting on a good show. There are two planet-sized cores connected by sinuous magnetic filaments more than 100,000 km long, all surrounded by a seething froth of hot plasma. Stay tuned!

Full stories and more about our Star here

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