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Saturday, July 30, 2005

 

Massive Solar Flare - Aurora to come



All images courtesy of SOHO.
Although we are nearly at solar minimum, the Sun keeps surprising us with strong flares and auroral events. Sunspot group 792, an active group that blasted our world with unseasonable flares and produced unexpected aurora, has survived its passage around the Sun and is back on our side again. It's bee blasting out a series of flares. The latest one an X 1.3 giant. The image below is of an earlier M class flare (the most recent data isn't up yet). A movie of the flare is here (WARNING 4 meg file).



These flares are of interest because they produce disruption to communication services and satellites (a particularly violent one broke the Japanese Mars probe) and they produce aurora.

Aurora are particularly beautiful in the southern and northern reaches of the world, but even here in South Australia strong storms can be seen as a reddish glow moving restlessly in the sky. Will this latest flare produce aurora, we don't know, but if it was Earth directed, it is a good bet. I will keep you posted.

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