Entire Hemisphere of the Sun Erupts

Whoa – this is really starting to sound like some of the apocalyptic predictions about the end of the world in 2012! Just announced by NASA:

On August 1, 2010, an entire hemisphere of the sun erupted. Filaments of magnetism snapped and exploded, shock waves raced across the stellar surface, billion-ton clouds of hot gas billowed into space. Astronomers knew they had witnessed something big.

Locations of key events are labeled in this extreme ultraviolet image of the sun, obtained by the Solar Dynamics Observatory during the Great Eruption of August 1st. White lines trace the sun's magnetic field. Credit:NASA / K Schrijver & A. Title.

Locations of key events are labeled in this extreme ultraviolet image of the sun, obtained by the Solar Dynamics Observatory during the Great Eruption of August 1st. White lines trace the sun's magnetic field. Credit:NASA / K Schrijver & A. Title.


It was so big, it may have shattered old ideas about solar activity.

“The August 1st event really opened our eyes,” says Karel Schrijver of Lockheed Martin’s Solar and Astrophysics Lab in Palo Alto, CA. “We see that solar storms can be global events, playing out on scales we scarcely imagined before.”

For the past three months, Schrijver has been working with fellow Lockheed-Martin solar physicist Alan Title to understand what happened during the “Great Eruption.” They had plenty of data: The event was recorded in unprecedented detail by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and twin STEREO spacecraft. With several colleagues present to offer commentary, they outlined their findings at a press conference today at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

Explosions on the sun are not localized or isolated events, they announced. Instead, solar activity is interconnected by magnetism over breathtaking distances. Solar flares, tsunamis, coronal mass ejections–they can go off all at once, hundreds of thousands of miles apart, in a dizzyingly-complex concert of mayhem.

“To predict eruptions we can no longer focus on the magnetic fields of isolated active regions,” says Title, “we have to know the surface magnetic field of practically the entire sun.”…

[continues at NASA]

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  • Honu

    Interesting. First time I’ve heard about this event and it happened in August. That’s alot of energy thrown into space and at the earth. I wonder what kind of impact it’s made.

  • Honu

    Interesting. First time I’ve heard about this event and it happened in August. That’s alot of energy thrown into space and at the earth. I wonder what kind of impact it’s made.

  • Quart Jester

    I think this is just a hint of what is to come. I believe we will see these continue to escalate over these next two years and culminate in a huge CME at the end of 2012. But I could be wrong. I hope I am, `cuz if I’m right we’re all fux0rd.

    • Ironaddict06

      I believe this also. The peek of the next sun spots cycle is 2012-2013.

  • Quart Jester

    I think this is just a hint of what is to come. I believe we will see these continue to escalate over these next two years and culminate in a huge CME at the end of 2012. But I could be wrong. I hope I am, `cuz if I’m right we’re all fux0rd.

  • chinagreenelvis

    This has fuck-all to do with 2012. But thanks for playing.

  • chinagreenelvis

    This has fuck-all to do with 2012. But thanks for playing.

  • Ironaddict06

    I believe this also. The peek of the next sun spots cycle is 2012-2013.