Solar Eruptions

October 5, 2018

Do Solar Flares Cause Earthquakes?

We have been getting a number of questions and comments lately regarding the possible relationship between solar activity and geological activity, such as earthquakes and volcanoes, so I have decided to look into the matter in more detail. First let
October 19, 2014

The Big Spot Gives an X1.1 Solar Flare

Sunspot group, AR12192, released a strong burst of magnetic energy in the form of an X1.1 flare and a surge of solar plasma. The solar flare peaked in the GOES X-ray monitor at 5:01 UT, 10/19/2014. There was no significant
September 10, 2014

AR12158 Gives Away an X-flare and CME

AR12158 produced an X1.6 flare along with a coronal mass ejection. The flare peaked in X-rays at 17:45 UT. 18:20 UT (9/11/2014) – This movie is a difference movie created by Dr. Nariaki Nitta (@halocme) from the Lockheed Martin Solar and
August 4, 2014

Giant Filament Staring at Earth

High above the solar surface in the hot million+ C solar corona sits a giant filament of cooler (~50,000 C), denser material, both supported and restrained by solar magnetic fields. If this filament should become unstable as they sometimes do
July 8, 2014

AR12113 Erupts with an M6.5 Flare

03:11 UT – Space Weather researchers at NASA/GSFC have determined the CME may affect Mars and Spitzer as well as possibly glance Earth. The CME has an estimated speed of 725 km/s. Below is a computer model showing the CMEs
June 30, 2014

Solar Activity May Soon Be on the Rise

The active sun is rotating into view, that could mean there is solar fun to come. For the past 2 weeks that sun has been a bit quiet but that is only because the regions of current solar activity were
June 17, 2014

The Sun is really, really big!

A giant filament on the eastern edge of the sun really puts the size of our star, Earth and the planets into perspective. This structure of solar plasma, a billion plus tons of 80,000 degree Fahrenheit material, sits high above
June 12, 2014

A CME Impact at Earth – Maybe?

NOAA active region AR12087 began making its activity apparent in SDO well before it became visible on the Earth facing solar disk. Solar flares from the region became visible in the first week of June. On June 10, the region
June 10, 2014

Double X! AR12087 Produces Back-to-back X Flares

Just after the X2.2 AR12087 let out an X1.5 flare peaking at 12:52 UT. Here is a snapshot of the event using the SDO/AIA 131 angstrom channel. This shows plasmas with temperatures up to about 10 million Kelvin. http://youtu.be/cV5ccg3n_J0 The
June 6, 2014

Possible Glancing Blow CME

The slow CME produced by the giant filament eruption from June 4 could give Earth a glancing blow. The impact should be very weak but there could be a minor geomagnetic enhancement on June 7. High latitude aurora watchers may
June 5, 2014

Giant Filament Erupting into Space

A huge filament on the southeast of the sun erupted towards the end of June 4. The filament was somewhere between a whopping 500,000 – 1 million km in length. This eruption produced a fairly slow coronal mass ejection that
February 20, 2014

Starting the Day with a Flare, Protons and a Geomagnetic Storm

Geomagnetic storms continue while an eruption on the west limb of the sun brings a flare, protons and possibly another CME our way. Solar Eruption The sun erupted with an M3 X-ray flare (NOAA Scale R1-Minor radio blackout) peaked in
February 12, 2014

Current Solar Rumblings and Valentine’s Day Aurora

A whole lot of spots going on! We no longer have the rumbling region AR11967 but the solar disk is covered with smaller regions and AR11974 is sitting at disk center popping of lots of small and medium-sized flares. It
January 31, 2014

Possible Glancing Blow from M6.6 Associated CME

CME may impact Earth on Feb. 2, 2014 according to NASA SWRC research models. At 16:11 UT Jan. 30, 2014, an M6.6 flare from AR11967 peaked in the GOES X-ray monitor. This was about 15 minutes after the completion of an
January 28, 2014

It’s Back – AR11944 is back as AR11967

Sunspot group or active region AR11944 that gave us such a show at the beginning of the year is back. After taking its trip around the sun it has rotated onto the Earth facing solar disk and NOAA has labeled it
October 30, 2013

A Whole Lot Happening on the Sun – In Many Types of Light

The sun has been really active lately. SDO gives us an amazing view of this activity in many different wavelengths of light. This also shows us the sun’s atmosphere in many temperatures ranging from ~4500 Kelvin or 7600 degrees Fahrenheit
August 20, 2013

Aurora Ahead? – Filament Eruption with an Earth-directed CME

There may be a geomagnetic storm in store for Earth. Lookout aurora watchers! A filament ~50 Earths in length (~400,000 miles) erupted from the Sun’s southern hemisphere in the southwest direction around 7:24 UT (4:24 am EDT). The eruption produced
August 17, 2013

M3.3 Solar Flare and a Coronal Mass Ejection

A long duration M3.3 flare with a beautiful eruption and CME! Active region AR11818 produced a flare peaking in X-ray at 18:24 UT (2:24 pm EDT). The eruption produced extended X-ray emission with another flare, ~M1.5 after the initial eruption
May 22, 2013

M5+ Solar Flare from Filament Eruption (Updated)

21:21 UT (5/23/2013) – Proton levels the eruption are still at the S2 NOAA alert level, down from S3. The particles are very apparent in SOHO/LASCO C2, showing up as “snow” on the images. 1:17 UT (5/23/2013) – Currently, a S2
May 13, 2013

Three’s a Charm! Another X Flare!

The unnamed region on the east limb has produced a 3rd X-class flare! (Updated) 11:44 UT – The NASA GSFC Space Weather Research Center has estimated that the CME will merge with CMEs associated with the 2 X-flares (X1.7 and X2.8) and may give a
May 13, 2013

The 2nd X-flare for 2013

Larger than the First! – (Update) In less than 24 hours, the active region about to rotate into view has produced another X-class solar flare. 19:15 UT – The NASA GSFC Space Weather Research Center has estimated that the CME  may give
July 12, 2012

Earth Bound CME Predicted with X1 Flare Event

Possible Moderate to Severe Geomagnetic Storm Sunspot group, AR11520, produced an X1.4 solar flare, peaking in the NOAA GOES X-ray monitor at 16:52 UT (12:52 EDT). This flash of electromagnetic radiation temporarily altered the upper atmosphere changing its ability to
June 29, 2012

Some Moderate Activity for June 28-29

Over the past 24 hours, sunspot group AR11513 has increased in complexity, producing several C-class flares and 2 M-class flares, an M2.4 on June 28 at 16:07 and an M2.2 on June 29 at 9:10 UT . Both AR11513 and
May 6, 2012
AR11476 Flaring in Multiple Wavelengths

AR11476 Comes into a Multicolored View

4 M-class Flares and More A new active region (AR11476) has been rotating into view during the beginning of May 2012. It has been producing CMEs and by May 5th it started releasing small M-class flares and lots of C-class
April 23, 2012
At 17:40 UT, the Sun produced a C2 solar flare with a radio burst and a SCORE-C CME. NASA Goddard Space Weather Center predicts it will reach Earth 4/27/2012 at 5:49 UT with only minor impact.

A Little Flare & Some Geomagnetic Activity – April 23, 2012

At 17:40 UT, the Sun produced a C2 solar flare with a radio burst and a SCORE-C CME.  NASA Goddard Space Weather Center predicts it will reach Earth 4/27/2012 at 5:49 UT with only minor impact. Currently, there is a
March 14, 2012

It Just Won’t Quit! More from AR11429!

  Sunspot group or active region AR11429 has almost rotated out of view but it still had enough energy to release an M7.9 X-ray solar flare, a fast coronal mass ejection (CME) and a solar energetic particle event (SEP). A
March 11, 2012

More Geomagnetic Storms Predicted for March 11, 2012

    CMEs are on their way to us! Estimated impact is March 11, 2012 around 2-3 PM EDT. High latitude aurora watchers keep lookout the night of March 11, 2012. On March 10, 2012, the sun produced 1 C-class
March 9, 2012

Geomagnetic Storm Picks Up! And AR11429 Flares Again!

      Nature never ceases to surprise and amaze. Just when it looked like the geomagnetic storm from yesterdays CME impacts had fizzled out, Earth’s magnetosphere continues its upset state. Even before the Kp index (a measure of the
March 7, 2012

Double Blast – Exciting Space Weather from AR11429

Sunspot group, AR11429 (Active Region), is at it again. When it first began its journey across the Earthward side of the Sun it released an M-class flare, an X-class flare and several more M flares, along with several CMEs. Early
March 5, 2012

3 Days of AR11429 – Lots of Activity

Sunspot group AR11429! Here is a look at AR11429 from Friday to today showing the 2 M-class and 1 X-class flare blasting away from the Sun. In addition to those events and their associated CMEs there is a lot of
February 6, 2012

Happy 10th RHESSI!

Ten years ago yesterday (5 February 2002) saw the launch of the Reuven Ramaty High-Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, or RHESSI (pronounced reh-see). RHESSI was designed to study particle acceleration and energy transport during solar flares by observing the highest energy
November 3, 2011

Space Weather This Week: 10/27/2011 – 11/02/2011

Solar Activity Solar activity was at low to moderate levels, with occurrences of several C-class flares and three M class flares (see the list below). Quite a few slow to moderate CMEs were detected emanating from different regions of the
November 3, 2011

The Spot Marks X!

      Sunspot group AR11339 (AR stands for Active Region) has just rotated onto the Earth facing disk of the Sun. Before coming completely into view the region had produced two M flares in 24 hours (an M4.3 flare
September 6, 2011

M5 flare and a CME to the Side

  At 01:50 UT, sunspot group, AR11283, produced an M5 solar flare and CME (coronal mass ejection) from near the center of the solar disk. The CME  appears to be moving at an angle away from a path straight towards
August 28, 2011

Sunday CME – Activity on 28 August 2011

Well, it has been a fairly quiet couple of weeks since all the activity at the beginning of the month. Early in the morning of 28 August 2011, a small filament erupted with an associated B-class solar flare. Here is
June 7, 2011

A Spectacular Event – A Filament/Prominence Eruption to Blow Your Socks Off!

A solar flare, coronal wave, filament eruption, coronal rain & a coronal mass ejection (CME)!
May 23, 2011

A Prominence Breaks Free (SOHO Pick of the Week – May 20, 2011)

The STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft observed as a photogenic, solar prominence erupted and broke out into space over about 18-hour period (May 13, 2011). Prominences, notoriously unstable structures, are cooler clouds of gas that float above the Sun’s surface, tethered there
December 21, 2010
C2 CME Triple Play

A CME Triple Play

SOHO’s LASCO C2 and C3 coronagraphs caught the action as three, separate coronal mass ejections (CMEs) blasted out in succession from the Sun (Dec. 12, 2010). These were each distinct and unconnected events. The first CME event (directly on the
December 12, 2010

Epic Solar Filament Eruption from Dec. 6, 2010 Seen by STEREO

A very long solar filament that had been snaking around the Sun erupted (Dec. 6, 2010) with a flourish. STEREO (Behind) caught the action in dramatic detail in extreme ultraviolet light of Helium. It had been almost a million km
December 2, 2010

Happy Birthday SOHO!! 15 Years!!

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory or SOHO is by many accounts the granddaddy of modern solar astronomy. SOHO is not the first space based solar observatory but it has truly ushered in a golden age for solar physics. The mission
October 18, 2010

A Small Flare and Eruption from a Giant Filament

A giant filament on the sun produced a small eruption and flare.
October 18, 2010
SOHO Pick of the Week - 15 October 2010

A Twisting Solar Prominence (SOHO Pick of the Week)

The STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft caught this tumultuous solar prominence as it twisted and turned over about 18 hours, as seen in profile above the Sun?s surface, before disappearing (Oct. 8, 2010). The cloud of cooler gases, suspended by magnetic forces,
October 11, 2010
Increased Auroral Activity Oct. 11-12 from a Halo CME Oct. 6, 2010

Increased Auroral Activity Oct. 11-12 from a Halo CME Oct. 6, 2010

Around 3:30 UT on October 6, 2010 a filament erupted in the northeast part of the solar disk (upper left area). Moving at around 375 km/s (850,000 miles per hour) the CME combined with the ambient solar wind then over
October 7, 2010
A Solar Eruption as the Earth Blocks SDO’s View of the Sun

A Solar Eruption as the Earth Blocks SDO’s View of the Sun

A filament erupted in the NE area of the sun. The eruption was observed by SDO and the associated Halo CME was seen by SOHO's C2 and C3 coronagraphs. SDO is currently in eclipse season so during this event the earth moved between SDO and the sun, moving across the sun for a few minutes.
October 5, 2010
Exceptional Rocket Waves Destroy Sun Dog

The Launch of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (Part 2)

Thursday morning seemed to take longer to arrive. Expectations were certainly higher, based in no small part on the fact that most of us had flights booked to take us home later that day. Washington DC had just gotten its
October 4, 2010
The Sun Observed by SDO - 171 Angstrom and Magnetic Field

A Solar Active Region’s Parting Flare

Solar sunspot group, active region (AR) 11109, is rotating out of view over the western limb of the sun. As it was moving out of the view of the earth and SDO it produced a C-class (C2.3) solar flare at
September 22, 2010
STEREO image composite of the CME from 12/12/2008

3D Visualization of a Coronal Mass Ejection

Our good friends and colleagues at Trinity College Dublin have created a 3D visualization of the propagation of a coronal mass ejection (CME). Using multiscale image processing and 3D visualization the team reconstructed the trajectory of an earth-directed CME observed
September 9, 2010

Solar Active Region’s Farewell Blasts

Just as sunspot group AR11105 rotated out of the Earth’s view it produced a spectacular show. A large prominence erupted along with a C3 solar flare and a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) blasted away from the sun. This great show
September 9, 2010

Solar Eruptions with STEREO Ahead

A View of the Active Sun with EUVI, COR1 and COR2 A very busy active region popped off about ten blasts of solar material over a two-day period (Aug. 31- Sept. 2, 2010). With this composited image and movie three