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Author: admin | Category: Neck Tattoo Designs | 02.02.2015

Caption: By observing the sun in a number of different wavelengths, NASA's telescopes can tease out different aspects of events on the sun.
Increased numbers of flares are quite common at the moment, since the sun's normal 11-year activity cycle is ramping up toward solar maximum, which is expected in 2013.
The flare was not associated with a coronal mass ejection (CME), another solar phenomenon that can send solar particles into space and can reach Earth one to three days later.
For example, if enough protons hit a human body, the person could suffer from enough damaged cells that it would make them sick or even kill them. However, unlike humans, satellites and space observatories, like NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, aren't so lucky. Every atom in the universe has at least one proton, and atoms are the microscopic building blocks of all of the matter we can see, including stars, planets, rocks, and people.
The Sun is extremely hot, hotter than anything on Earth except the inside of a nuclear explosion. In every nook and cranny of space between the planets of our solar system, there are solar protons racing around moment by moment. Sometimes during a solar storm, a whole lot of electrons race out from the Sun at high speeds. Since protons are too small to be seen we can't see them coming, but we can detect them when they get here. Unlike the astronauts, spacecraft like Spitzer have no place to hide when there's a solar proton event. The most vulnerable part of any spacecraft to space weather damage is usually its electronics. Scientists want to keep that kind of damage to a minimum, so there is a special layer of metal around Spitzer's detectors that stop most, but not quite all, of the fast protons.
Spitzer has gone through several solar proton events and the telescope's detectors have weathered fast solar protons well.
GOES satellites detect a sudden big increase in the number of fast protons (it can increase ten thousand times over normal in just a few hours).
Solar storm specialists, who receive data from GOES round the clock at the NOAA Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colorado, immediately send a proton storm warning to the Spitzer Flight Control Engineer on duty at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Pasadena, California.
If the number of protons arriving each second increases up to a certain danger threshold, the Flight Control Team initiates a procedure to put the spacecraft in what is called Standby Mode, where most of the electronics are turned off.

The spacecraft waits out the proton storm in Standby, with the Flight Control Team keeping a continuous eye on the GOES proton counts. When the proton counts have gone back down to a safe level for Spitzer, the spacecraft is commanded to resume normal operations. Magnetism made visible: That describes virtually every feature on the sun, from sunspots to these soaring structures, called loops. It may look wild, but this image of the solar surface, captured by a NASA satellite called TRACE in 2000, was described by scientists as "a quiet day on the sun." In other words, spectacular loops but no storms.
The sun-orbiting SOHO spacecraft captured this snapshot of the development of a coronal mass ejection (CME), an explosive sun storm. This SOHO image is in extreme-ultraviolet wavelengths, color-coded by temperature, with red showing the hottest. An aurora glows from the Earth's magnetosphere, as seen from the International Space Station.
National Geographic explores how we can feed the growing population without overwhelming the planet in our food series. The space-weather forecast for the next few years: solar storms, with a chance of catastrophic blackouts on Earth. Archaeologists and artists, armed with the latest tools and techniques, are bringing the life-size army of painted clay soldiers back to life. Each month, National Geographic magazine features breathtaking photographs in Visions of Earth.
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 Global Positioning System (GPS) and communications signals travel. M-class flares are the weakest flares that can still cause some space weather effects near Earth.
Humans have tracked this solar cycle continuously since it was discovered in 1843, and it is normal for there to be many flares a day during the sun's peak activity. Microscopic protons are shooting out of the Sun at speeds thousands of times faster than bullets. When atoms are heated up that much they come apart and the protons that are usually trapped inside of them are free to fly around at incredible speeds. Spitzer's detectors are small devices that sense infrared starlight and record an image that scientists use.

The June 9, 2002, prominence was caused by explosive instabilities in the sun's magnetic field.
It shows erupting filaments lifting off the active solar surface and blasting enormous bubbles of magnetic plasma into space.
Why is the halo-like corona, visible from Earth only during a total eclipse, hundreds—even thousands—of times hotter than the sun's surface? The spectacular light show was caused when a coronal mass ejection (CME), or a huge cloud of hot plasma from the sun, hit the Earth's magnetosphere. This disrupts the radio signals for as long as the flare is ongoing, anywhere from minutes to hours.
Although these protons cannot be spotted with the naked eye, they can cause some serious damage. Thus, astronomers on Earth sometimes take extra precautions to protect their space telescopes during solar storms, when large amounts of protons are shot out of the Sun. Although heat may have released protons from the confines of an atom, most are still trapped by the Sun's gravity. Energy generated by the dynamics of smaller loops is likely the source of the solar corona's mysterious heat. CMEs occur anywhere from once a week to two or more times a day, and they can profoundly influence space weather. This M-class flare caused a radio blackout categorized according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's Space Weather Scales as R2 -- or "moderate" -- on a scale of R1 to R5. This image is a blend of two images captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), one showing the sun in the 304 Angstrom wavelength and one in the 193 Angstrom wavelength. However, some of them are fast enough to escape even the Sun's gravity, and race out to the planets and beyond. The superheated gases that form the sun, mainly hydrogen and helium, exist in an electrified state called plasma.

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