Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Solar Activity, Ahoy!

Last week I posted concerning a sunspot on the western near-equatorial region of the sun. What I should have focused on is the new sunspot on the eastern limb as detected by the STEREO B satellite. This spot is currently hidden from Earth (the STEREO mission has two satellites that see the sides of the sun that can't bee seen from Earth) but will rotate into view in the next few days.

STEREO B image, linked from

Yesterday, this region produced a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), a violent release of mass, radiation, and magnetic field into the solar system. While this particular CME had no chance of hitting the Earth, these are the kind of events that damage satellites, over load electrical grids, put our astronauts in danger and produce the beautiful aurora. The sun is, apparently, slowly waking from its long cycle minimum.

A movie of the CME event can be found here.
Be sure to check out the latest images from the STEREO Mission!

No comments:

Post a Comment