Recently in the Space Weather Category

Telescopes help distant objects appear bigger, but this is only one of their advantages.

The ESA and NASA Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured these images of the sun spitting out a coronal mass ejection (CME) on March 15, 2013, from 3:24 to 4:00 a.m. EDT. This type of image is known as a coronagraph, since a disk is placed over the sun to better see the dimmer atmosphere around it, called the corona. Credit: ESA&NASA/SOHO

Quiet Interlude in Solar Max

Something unexpected is happening on the Sun. 2013 was supposed to be the year of "solar maximum," the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle. Yet 2013 has arrived and solar activity is relatively low.

The Sun Produces Two CMEs

In the evening of Feb. 5, 2013, the sun erupted with two coronal mass ejections or CMEs that may glance near-Earth space.

New Sunspots Are Producing Space Weather

On Jan. 13, 2013, at 2:24 a.m. EST, the sun erupted with an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection or CME. Not to be confused with a solar flare, a CME is a solar phenomenon that can send solar particles into space and reach Earth one to three days later.

Sun Emits a Mid-level Flare

On Nov. 13, 2012, the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:04 p.m. EST.

The sun emitted a significant solar flare on Oct. 22, 2012, peaking at 11:17 p.m. EDT. The flare came from an active region on the left side of the sun that has been numbered AR 1598, which has already been the source of a number of weaker flares. This flare was classified as an X.1-class flare.

On Oct. 22, 2012, the sun emitted another mid-level flare, which peaked at 2:51 p.m. EDT. The flare emerged from the same region as the M9 flare on Oct. 20, an active region that has been numbered AR 1598. The flare is classified as an M5 flare, which means it was weaker than the earlier one.

Magnificent Coronal Mass Ejection Erupts

On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun's atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, traveled at over 900 miles per second.

One of the Fastest CMEs On Record

On July 23, 2012, a massive cloud of solar material erupted off the sun's right side, zooming out into space, passing one of NASA's Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft along the way.

One of the most frigid places on the planet appears to be an ideal location to help protect humans living and working in the cold of outer space against radiation bursts from the sun.

One Half Million Mile Solar Filament

This image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) shows a very long, whip-like solar filament extending over half a million miles in a long arc above the sun's surface.

When Curiosity enters the Martian atmosphere on August 6th, setting in motion "the seven minutes of terror" that people around the world have anticipated since launch a year ago, the intrepid rover will actually be performing the mission's second daredevil stunt.

Sun Sends Out Mid-Level Solar Flare

This image was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) on July 19, 2012 of an M7.7 class solar flare.

The first images of an upward surge of the Sun's gases into quiescent coronal loops have been identified by an international team of scientists. The discovery is one more step towards understanding the origins of extreme space storms, which can destroy satellite communications and damage power grids on Earth.

With the impending solar maximum expected to bring heightened rates of flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), putting at risk an ever-increasing human presence in space, Oh et al. designed and assessed a prediction system to keep astronauts safe from these solar storms.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of an M1.2 class flare on June 13, 2012.

As the Sun approaches solar maximum this year and next, sunspots will grow more frequent and numerous. Those tangled knots of magnetic activity will bring more frequent solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and plenty of radio disturbances that affect technology on Earth. The rise in the Sun's activity also increases the odds of seeing auroras at high latitudes and, occasionally, middle latitudes.

Solar activity is expected to be moderate. Additional M-class events from Region 1429 are likely. There is also a chance for a major flare and/or proton producing event from Region 1429 during the next three days (07-09 March).