Space Weather

February 8, 2021

Happy 1st Anniversary Solar Orbiter – The Science is Just Beginning

February 9, 2021 marks the one year anniversary of the launch of the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter Mission. It was launched from Kennedy Space Center at 11:03 pm ET on February 9, 2020. This mission is a single spacecraft designed with […]
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. The […]
February 19, 2014

Geomagnetic Storm and Aurora from Valentine’s Weekend CME

A CME from February 16, 2014 has impacted Earth. The CME’s magnetic structure was such that it stirred things up in the magnetosphere.   A significant interplanetary shock detected by ACE at L1 at 3:10 UT, February 19, 2014.   The […]
February 1, 2014

AR11967 Continues its Flaring and AR11968 Sends a CME Our Way

 There are two main active regions (ARs 11967/11968) on the sun and both are giving a moderate show. AR11967 continues to produce C- and M-level events, including an M3.0 flare at 07:14 UT Feb. 1, 2014. The region continues to show signs […]
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 […]
September 30, 2013

Spectacular Erupting Filament with Earth-directed Space Weather

A huge filament erupted from the sun producing a beautiful coronal mass ejection (CME) and solar energetic particle event. Around 21 UT, 9/29/2013 a filament erupted from the northwest quadrant of the sun. It started from the surface with a […]
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 […]
May 17, 2013

Wiggling Loops from 4 Flares – May 13 – 16, 2013

Wiggly Jiggly Loops by 4 flares from an evolving sunspot AR11748 showed us some exciting yet basically benign activity. A little image processing helps us really see certain aspects of the activity. Keep an eye out for wiggling loops […]
February 28, 2013

Van Allen Probes Discover a 3rd Radiation Belt around Earth

Learn about this new result in a video by NASA Goddard Heliophysics Division. NASA presented these results at a press conference today. Tomorrow I will be on a Google Hangout with several of my colleagues at NASA Goddard. Ask […]
February 21, 2013

A Spot with Potential

A sunspot region with potential, AR11678! Yes pun intended. This solar active region (AR for short) has emerged suddenly from under the solar photosphere (the visible “surface”) packed with magnetic potential energy and the potential for some significant flaring. It […]
November 8, 2012

Two Non-Earthbound CMEs May Impact Mars and Several Spacecraft

Two CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejections) occurred in the early hours of November 8, 2012 (UT), the later one a more significant, O-type CME. The 2 CMEs are denoted with red arrows in this snapshot from the NASA Space Weather Research Center (SWRC) […]
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 […]
October 26, 2011

Anatomy of a Geomagnetic Storm – What made that great Aurora?

  Saturday, October 22, 2011, started like most any other day, lots of activity of varying size and shape was occurring on the Sun. Most people looking at the Sun that day remember the spectacular lightbulb shaped CME that occurred […]
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 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 […]
October 18, 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

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 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.
September 22, 2010

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 […]