Thursday, March 08, 2012

Awaiting particles from the Sun to light up the sky...

by Salman Hameed

This is what science can do. It can observe and predict natural phenomena with good precision (take that Nostradamus/astrology/Mayans). Our Sun goes through a cycle of activity every 11 years or so (it is related to its magnetic fields). We are now starting to see an increase in sunspot activity as well as solar flares. On March 6th, there was a big Solar flare - nothing that unusual in the active season of the Sun - and as a result we may see disruption of some communicating satellites. But if you live far enough north or south of the equator, you may even see aurora borealis. So look for some cool lights in the sky tonight or tomorrow night.

In the mean time, here is a fantastic NASA video of the March 6th solar flare. It shows the Sun in the ultraviolet (171A and 131A are the wavelengths in Angstroms) - a part of the spectrum where flares can be seen more easily.


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