The build-up to the first ever Solar Maximum recorded in digital, and 3D, is well underway. The latest solar storm to capture the worlds attention is AR1476. At 60,000 miles or 100,000 kilometres across AR1476 is a sunspot of immense proportions. So large that it is visible in photo’s using a decent digital camera and the proper filters (welding glasses), it is never a good idea to stare directly at or point your camera towards the sun.
AR 1476 first appeared last week, spotted by NASA’s SDO team, who proceeded to tweet the observation. The news spread rapidly, with space weather warnings being announced. generating a massive buzz on the way.
SDO is keeping a close eye on AR1476, the sunspot is still active, with a 10% chance of an X-Class solar flare and 4 massive active dark cores within, AR 1476 is both fascinating and dangerous. An X-Class flare is the highest rated class and potentially dangerous, at the very least it could most annoying. With the ability to destroy communications satellites and interfere with radio signals an uncomfortable silence may ensue.
Continue reading Solar Maximum Update. Sunspot AR1476 Visible Without A Telescope…
With the solar maximum of 2012 building up the sun is putting on quite a show for us all. The sun, our all gas jolly giant is due to reach the peak of its solar flare activity in 2013. The peak called Solar Maximum is generating a lot of interest. Scientist have calibrated instruments, created classifications, the rest of us just have to sit back and enjoy the wild ride. We actually know a lot about how the flares happen we just can’t do much about it.
Solar flares – also called Mass Coronal Ejection – consist mainly of super excited protons and electrons, heated to millions of degrees before spewing out of the sun. The individual particles don’t have enough mass to do any direct damage, no bullets from the sun, but collectively there is so much energy being sent out in the flare that they can be very dangerous. At most risk are astronauts and soon to join them space tourists. When travelling outside the Earths magnetic field the radiation – especially X-rays and Gamma rays – is extremely dangerous to living organisms, doing damage to each cell in your body. Currently no space craft are able to completely protect its crew from this radiation. Ironically Solar Flares actually cut the number of cosmic rays hitting Earth by deflecting the stream – solar wind – of particles.
Continue reading Solar Flares, A Slap in the Face from Space!…