Tags: graceful | solar | eruption

'Graceful' Solar Eruption: Sun Flare Captured by NASA Video

Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 01:33 PM

By Michael Mullins

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A graceful solar eruption on the sun was captured on video by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory last week. The video of the electromagnetic energy and radiation burst was subsequently posted to the Observatory's Facebook page, where it was described it as a "graceful eruption."

According to the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the solar flare consisted of a blend of two extreme ultraviolet light wavelengths, 304 Angstroms and 171 Angstroms, and peaked at approximately 10:05 a.m. EST on April 2.

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The 171 Angstroms is colorized in red, while the 304 Angstroms is yellow.

"Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation," the NASA department explained in its Facebook post. "Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however — when intense enough — they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel."

Though we're shielded by our atmosphere from the radiation given off by solar flares, if the flares are pointed directly at the Earth, the ionizing X-ray and extreme ultraviolet radiation produced could pose a potential threat to astronauts, satellites, and other spacecraft in orbit, Space.com noted.

On Jan. 8, a substantial solar flare led to the commercial spaceflight company Orbital Sciences rescheduling a private cargo mission launch, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

On March 29, an X1 solar flare was released by the sun blasting the Earth with a powerful electromagnetic wave of radiation that caused a temporary radio blackout, via orbiting satellites, across the Blue Planet that lasted for several minutes.

In addition to temporarily blacking out radio signals, the X1 solar flare also produced new radio signals of its own, astronomer Tony Phillips wrote on Spaceweather.com.

What actually triggers solar flare eruptions in space is unknown.

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