Archive for January, 2012

Coronal mass ejection and auroral activity, 24-25th January 2012

The coronal mass ejection associated with the flare event of 23 January 2012 has just been spotted by the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft. ACE orbits the L1 libration point which is a point of Earth-Sun gravitational equilibrium about 1.5 million km from Earth and 148.5 million km from the Sun. From its location at L1 ACE has a prime view of the solar wind, interplanetary magnetic field and higher energy particles accelerated by the Sun, as well as particles accelerated in the heliosphere and the galactic regions beyond.

You can check here for recent observations of the distribution of the aurora borealis from space, courtesy of the NOAA Polar Operational Environmental Satellite. NOAA also have a test data product and webpage that shows the output of a model that predicts the probability of seeing the aurora. You can keep informed on the latest space weather activity at NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center and the Integrated Space Weather Laboratory.

Here are some more movies of the original event shared by our users – thanks to everyone!

YouTube and Helioviewer.org user losyziemi shared this video of the eruption and the consequent view in LASCO C2 and C3. Those streaks and dots are due to particles accelerated by the event impacting the detectors of LASCO C2 and C3

YouTube and Helioviewer.org user otraLoly shared this video of the eruption, concentrating on AIA 171 and LASCO C2.

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Service resumed; geomagnetic storm predicted for Tuesday January 24th

As you will already know since you are reading this, Helioviewer Project services have now returned to nominal operations earlier than anticipated. Thanks to all those concerned for their work and for keeping the downtime to a minimum!

Just before our scheduled outage, many of our users caught sight of a flaring active region (videos below). Well, since then the Solar Weather Prediction Center

“has issued a Geomagnetic Storm Watch with G2 level storming likely and G3 level storming possible, with the storm continuing into Wednesday, Jan 25. All of this activity is related to a moderate (R2) Radio Blackout x-ray flare that erupted Sunday night (11pm EST).”

which the self-same flaring event spotted by our users. This is a developing story – please consult the Solar Weather Prediction Center for more updates on the progress of the storm. There is great animation of the predicted progress of the coronal mass ejection through interplanetary space as it comes towards Earth here. Geomagnetic storms are temporary disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field; this one is predicted to be moderate, possibly strong. On average, there are a few of these every year; the good news is that if you haven’t noticed one before, you’re probably not going to notice this one.

I’ve included some videos of the flaring event below, made by Helioviewer users and shared with Helioviewer and YouTube users – thanks everyone!

YouTube user Idontwannastopat6

Nice close-up of the flare in SDO/AIA 304 ansgtrom from YouTube user 666redwater.

YouTube user 666redwater also made a zoomed-out video of this event using the SDO/AIA 131 filter. In this filter you see very different structures compared to SDO/AIA 304 and 171. There are a total of 10 filters of AIA, each of them telling us something different about the structure of the sun’s atmosphere.

YouTube users MeireRuiz7 and usog180 shared these wide-angle SDO/AIA 304 movies.

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Scheduled service outage, Monday 23rd January, 13:30 – 21:00 UT

All Helioviewer Project services (www.helioviewer.org, JHelioviewer, and the API) will be unavailable Monday 23rd January, 13:30 – 21:00 UT (2:30pm – 11pm, CET; 8.30am – 5pm, EST ; 5:30am – 2pm, PST) due to scheduled maintenance at our facility. Helioviewer Project services should be available again after about 21:00 UT. We apologize for this interruption to our services.

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Recent LASCO, EIT, COR1/2 images available again

Recent images from the LASCO, EIT, COR1/2 instruments are now available again. We will be filling in the missing images over the coming days. We apologize for the interruption in providing these images.

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User highlight: flares and loops

YouTube and users losyziemi, MeireRuiz7 and goggog67 have created a wonderful series of movies that show a flaring system of loops coming from a source active region just coming round the limb of the Sun. Thanks for sharing these great movies!

Solar flares are caused by the interaction of particles accelerated by magnetic reconnection with the surrounding plasma. In the movies below, you can see bright loop-top sources filling in their supporting loops. This caused by the flare-accelerated particles striking the surrounding plasma, and heating it up; as that plasma cools down, it appears in the AIA wavebands. This event should be visible in all the other AIA wavebands (which correspond approximately to different temperatures in the solar plasma).

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Interruption in LASCO, EIT, COR1/2, EUVI image availability

The most recent LASCO, EIT, COR1/2 and EUVI images are currently unavailable to Helioviewer Project browse clients. This is because the computer that converts the science data to JPEG 2000 images experienced a mechanical failure on Friday January 13th. We will replace the failed machine, and make an announcement via the blog concerning the resumption of the availability of images from LASCO, EIT, COR1/2 and EUVI. We are apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Finally, images from AIA and HMI should be unaffected.

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