Sunday, April 27, 2008

Quiet Sun, Flares

With the Sun continuing a its unusually prolonged Minimum, solar physicists continue to await the advent of Solar Cycle 24, which seemed to sputter briefly with the properly polarized sun spots in February, then quieted down again, only to see a small parade of Cycle 23 spots traverse the Sun's disk in recent weeks.

A "small" solar flare was reported by today, with an attendant Coronal Mass Ejection, qualifying for a genuine SPE, or Solar Partical Event that may effect the geomagnetic field and offer a display of aurora phenomena over the next 24 to 72 hours.

STRANGE SOLAR FLARE: No sunspots? No problem. Yesterday the blank sun unleashed a solar flare without the usual aid of a sunspot. At 1408 UT on April 26th, Earth-orbiting satellites detected a surge of X-rays registering B3.8 on the "Richter scale" of solar flares. That's a relatively minor flare; nevertheless, the blast sent a "solar tsunami" shock wave rippling through the sun's atmosphere and also launched a coronal mass ejection. The CME is expected to reach Earth late on April 28th or April 29th, possibly sparking high latitude auroras when it arrives. Visit to view images, movies and updates.

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