Archive for CME

Sun: Return of The Big Coronal Hole

Posted in 2016, astronomy, Galaxy with tags , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2016 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI


At the end of October, a hole in the sun’s atmosphere lashed Earth’s magnetic field with solar wind, sparking moderately-strong geomagnetic storms and almost a full week of Arctic auroras.

News flash:  It’s back.  The same “coronal hole” is turning toward Earth again. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the structure on Nov. 20th.

Coronal holes are regions in the sun’s atmosphere where the magnetic field peels back and allows solar wind to escape.

Since our last encounter with this hole in late October it has been transiting the farside of the sun, carried around by the sun’s 27-day rotation.  Now that it is back we can see that the hole is not quite as large as it was a month ago–but it is still impressive, covering more than 1/4th of the visible solar disk.

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Solar wind flowing from an unusually large coronal hole on the sun

Posted in 2016, astronomy with tags , , , , on September 3, 2016 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI


A stream of very fast moving solar wind is buffeting Earth’s magnetic field this weekend, and this is causing geomagnetic storms around the poles.

A twilight display in Lofoten, Norway, on Sept. 3rd prompted one photographer to move his dinner table outside



NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is monitoring a hole in the sun’s atmosphere–a “coronal hole.”

Posted in 2015, astronomy, Galaxy with tags , , , , , on August 26, 2015 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI


It is colored deep-blue in this extreme UV image of the sun taken by SDO on Aug. 26th


Coronal holes are places where the sun’s magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. In the image, above, the sun’s magnetic field is traced by pale loops. White arrows show the flow of material out of the hole.

A stream of solar wind flowing from this coronal hole will probably reach Earth on Aug. 28-29. Its impact could spark a geomagnetic storm at the end of this week. If so, bright moonlight will temper the visibility of any auroras. Aurora alerts: text or voice

Sanjana Greenhill sends this picture from Anchorage of a geomagnetic storm and bright auroras over Canada and Alaska

Posted in 2015, astronomy, Galaxy with tags , , , on August 23, 2015 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI


As predicted, a solar wind stream hit Earth’s magnetic field during the early hours of Aug. 23rd.

“The whole sky was lit up,” says Greenhill. “Pictures barely do any justice to what the eyes saw.”

More storms could be in the offing. Minor CMEs that left the sun on Aug. 21st and 22nd are expected to sideswipe Earth’s magnetic field on Aug. 24th. NOAA forecasters estimate a 70% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when the CMEs arrive. Aurora alerts: text or voice

The sun has unleashed 3 separate solar storms that have combined to smash into Earth’s atmosphere

Posted in 2015, astronomy, Galaxy with tags , , , , , , on June 24, 2015 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI

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Forecasters say the storm will continue tonight, causing the huge aurora to be visible from the Earth’s north. It should be seen in much of Europe, as long as there are no clouds, and may even be visible as far south as the Canadian border with the US.

But the phenomenon could cause problems with electricity supplies here.

The US Government’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWCP) said: ‘Aurora watchers in North America, especially northern states of the US, should stay alert.  

‘The geomagnetic storm that began on 22 June has reached G4 (Severe) levels once again as of 0513 UTC (0113 EDT) on 23 June. 

‘Solar wind conditions remain highly favourable for continued Strong Geomagnetic storming, with both fast solar wind and strong magnetic fields.’ 

‘This is the very early stages of an event that will play out over many hours, with SWPC forecasting continuing storm level intensities into tomorrow. 

June 22nd 2015 Full Halo CME, Storm Warning: A coronal mass ejection (CME) is heading directly for Earth

Posted in 2015, astronomy, Galaxy with tags , , , on June 22, 2015 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI



It left the sun during the early hours of June 21st, and is expected to sweep up one or two lesser CMEs already en route, before it reaches Earth sometime on June 22nd. Click to view a movie of the “full-halo” CME

NOAA forecasters estimate a 90% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when the CME arrives. This doesn’t mean that a major space weather event is in the offing. The storm could be mild. It all depends on how the magnetic field of the CME connects to the magnetic field of Earth at the time of impact. According to NOAA, there’s only a 10% chance of nothing happening, so stay tuned. Aurora alerts: text, voice


NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory: October 22nd 2014, Lots of Solar Flares

Posted in 2014, astronomy with tags , , , , , on October 22, 2014 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI

Solar activity is high. During the past 48 hours, monster sunspot AR2192 has produced a series of seven M-class solar flares of increasing intensity. The eruptions crossed the threshold into X-territory with an X1-class flare on Oct. 22nd. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded a powerful flash of extreme UV radiation in the sunspot’s magnetic canopy at 14:30 UT

Remarkably, not one of the explosions so far has hurled a significant CME toward Earth. The primary effect of the flares has been to ionize Earth’s upper atmosphere, causing a series of short-lived HF radio communications blackouts. Such blackouts may be noticed by amateur radio operators, aviators, and mariners.

Earth-effects could increase in the days ahead. AR2192 has an unstable ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field that harbors energy for powerful explosions, and the active region is turning toward Earth. NOAA forecasters estimate at 65% chance of M-class flares and a 20% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

NASA | Comparing CMEs

Posted in 2014, astronomy, Galaxy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2014 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI

This video features two model runs. One looks at a moderate coronal mass ejection (CME) from 2006. The second run examines the consequences of a large coronal mass ejection, such as The Carrington-Class CME of 1859. These model runs allow us to estimate consequences of a large event hitting Earth, so we can better protect power grids and satellites.

In an effort to understand and predict the impact of space weather events on Earth, the Community-Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, routinely runs computer models of the many historical events. These model runs are then compared to actual data to determine ways to improve the model, and therefore forecasts of future space weather events.

Sometimes we need an actual event to have data for comparison. Extreme space weather events are one example where researchers must test models with a rather limited set of data.

The vertical lines on the left represent magnetic field lines from the sun.

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:

 On September 1–2, 1859, one of the largest recorded geomagnetic storms (as recorded by ground-based magnetometers) occurred. Aurorae were seen around the world, those in the northern hemisphere even as far south as the Caribbean; those over the Rocky Mountains were so bright that their glow awoke gold miners, who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning. People who happened to be awake in the northeastern US could read a newspaper by the aurora’s light.

The aurora was visible as far from the poles as Cuba and Hawaii. Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed, in some cases giving telegraph operators electric shocks. On Saturday, September 3, 1859, the Baltimore American and Commercial Advertiser reported, “Those who happened to be out late on Thursday night had an opportunity of witnessing another magnificent display of the auroral lights.

The phenomenon was very similar to the display on Sunday night, though at times the light was, if possible, more brilliant, and the prismatic hues more varied and gorgeous. The light appeared to cover the whole firmament, apparently like a luminous cloud, through which the stars of the larger magnitude indistinctly shone. The light was greater than that of the moon at its full, but had an indescribable softness and delicacy that seemed to envelop everything upon which it rested.

Between 12 and 1 o’clock, when the display was at its full brilliancy, the quiet streets of the city resting under this strange light, presented a beautiful as well as singular appearance.” In 1859, the world was far less reliant on electricity and certainly of satellite communications. In June 2013, a joint venture from researchers at Lloyd’s of London and Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) in the United States used data from the Carrington Event to estimate the current cost of a similar event to the US alone at $0.6–2.6 trillion. 

When the sky over Yellowknife, Canada, lit up one cold March night with a spectacular Northern Lights display

Posted in 2014, astronomy, Galaxy with tags , , , , , , on September 26, 2014 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI


Korean photographer Kwon O Chul

There are two types of auroras – Aurora Borealis, or ‘Northern Lights,’ and Aurora Australis, known as ‘Southern Lights.’

Auroras occur when highly charged electrons from the solar wind collide with atoms of oxygen and nitrogen in the earth’s atmosphere at altitudes from 20 to 200 miles above the planet’s surface. The interactions between the charged particles give off light.

Auroral displays appear in many colors: red, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

The color of the aurora depends on which atom is struck, and the altitude of the meeting. The common green hue is caused by colliding oxygen molecules at altitudes of up to 150 miles.

Spectacular Aurora Borealis captured in Norway after solar blast on 2014 September 12

Posted in 2014, astronomy with tags , , , , on September 18, 2014 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI



The varying green hues of the Aurora Borealis are both captivating and mysterious as they dance majestically through the sky. 

The latest Northern Lights display was created after a solar blast on Friday, September 12.

As a result of the blast a large amount of clouds, which were made up of magnetically charged particles, were pushed towards Earth.

Although green was the primary colour during this recent Northern Lights display in Norway, varying colours such as pinks, reds, blues and yellows are also frequently visible during displays.

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