Solar watch

Does the solar magnetic field show a North-South divide?

A study of jets travelling through the Sun’s corona at speeds between 200-500 km/s has shown that the fast-moving columns of plasma are deflected much more strongly by the Sun’s magnetic field in the northern hemisphere than in the southern hemisphere. A nor

July 09, 2015

The mystery of solar nanoflares

Nanoflares are eruptions on the Sun which are billion times less energetic than ordinary flares but still have the power that belies their name. They appear as little brightenings of the solar surface at extreme ultraviolet and X-ray wavelengths and they might solve a l

March 20, 2015

Earth-facing side of the sun without visible sunspots

Images taken by Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) on July 17, 2014 show no active sunspots on the visible solar disk. To be correct, tiny decaying AR 2113 is still visible, but its size remains so small that the plots and charts didn't registered it. SDO's

July 17, 2014

MESSENGER and STEREO measurements open new window into high-energy processes on the Sun

Understanding the sun from afar isn't easy. How do you figure out what powers solar flares – the intense bursts of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots – when you must rely on observing only the light and particle

July 09, 2014

STEREO probes operations will be curtailed for more than a year

NASA's revolutionary twin STEREO probes which allowed us to see the farside of the Sun and make 3D models of incoming CMEs will pass directly behind the Sun later this year making images from the probes unavailable for quite some time.While planning the

June 28, 2014

STEREO maps much larger solar atmosphere than previously observed

Surrounding the sun is a vast atmosphere of solar particles, through which magnetic fields swarm, solar flares erupt, and gigantic columns of material rise, fall and jostle each other around. Now, using NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, scientists have

June 26, 2014

Solar mini-max

NASA and NOAA agree: Solar Max has arrived, but this "mini Max" is not like any other solar maximum of the Space Age.Years ago, in 2008 and 2009 an eerie quiet descended on the sun.  Sunspot counts dropped to historically-low levels and solar flares cease

June 09, 2014

The best observed X-class flare

On March 29, 2014 the sun released an X-class flare. It was observed by NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS; NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO; NASA's Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, or RHESSI; the Japanese Aer

May 08, 2014

Earth directed solar flares possible in the coming days

Solar activity was at low levels during last 24 hours, however, that might change today and in the days ahead. Active Region 2036 exhibited rapid growth over the last few days and is now almost directly facing our planet. Earth directed eruption

April 16, 2014

Rare ripple in Earth's magnetic field occurred during yesterday's X1.0 solar flare

During yesterday's major X1.0 solar flare (17:35 - 17:54 UTC) a rare event called Magnetic crochet occurred. Magnetic crochet, also known as Solar Flare Effect, occurs during fast impulsive flares and is described as a ripple in

March 30, 2014

SDO 2014 spring eclipse season has begun

Twice every year, around the time of the equinoxes, Earth can pass directly between the Sun and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), producing a series of beautiful eclipses. For the next 3 weeks the Earth will pass between SDO and the Sun around 07:30 UTC

March 01, 2014

Solar Dynamics Observatoy (SDO) - Year 4

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), launched on February 11, 2010, keeps a 24-hour eye on the entire disk of the Sun, with a prime view of the graceful dance of solar material coursing through the Sun's atmosphere, the corona. The

February 11, 2014

Our changing climate and the variable Sun

Solar physicists around the world today are wondering: has the Sun fallen silent? In 2013, the Sun began the peak phase of its 11-year sun spot cycle called the Solar Maximum when sunspot production should be at its highest. However, the lack of sunspot activity has

February 01, 2014

Solar Dynamics Observatory - Argos view

Argos (or Argus Panoptes) was the 100-eyed giant in Greek mythology. While NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has significantly less than 100 eyes, seeing connections in the solar atmosphere through the many filters of SDO presents a number of interesting

December 17, 2013

The weak solar cycle and its consequences

At this year's Fall Meeting of American Geophysical Union, held in San Francisco (December 9 - 13), several scientists made a presentation on weak Solar Cycle 24 and its consequences. They agree that the current solar cycle is on track to be

December 12, 2013

Largest ever recorded solar flare in history - The "X-Whatever" mega flare

On this day, exactly 10 years ago, the largest ever recorded solar flare in history erupted from Sun's western limb. This mega flare started its historic eruption at 19:29 UTC from Active Region 10486 and peaked around 19:50 UTC. Ionizing radiation from the

November 04, 2013

Rare hybrid solar eclipse event on November 3, 2013

Annular total solar eclipse will sweep over the Atlantic Ocean and the middle of Africa on November 3, 2013. The eclipse will be total only along a narrow path over the Atlantic Ocean and equatorial Africa from Gabon to Somalia. Most of Africa, the

October 31, 2013