Friday, February 18, 2011

Sun flares, erupts but Earth dodges storm

NASA: On Valentine's Day the Sun unleashed one of its most powerful explosions, an X-class flare. The blast was the largest so far in the new solar cycle. Erupting in the Sun's southern hemisphere, the flare is captured here [VIDEO] in this extreme ultraviolet image from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The intense burst of electromagnetic radiation momentarily overwhelmed pixels in SDO's detectors causing the bright vertical blemish. This X-class flare was also accompanied by a coronal mass ejection (CME), a massive cloud of charged particles traveling outward at nearly 900 kilometres per second.

Raw Story: A wave of charged particles from a huge solar eruption has glanced off the Earth's northern pole, lighting up auroras and disrupting some radio communications... But the Earth appears to have escaped a widespread geomagnetic storm, with the effects confined to the northern latitudes.
Images: NASA