Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Video: Summer Set to Begin With Active Solar Flares

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 9:01 AM

No major interference was reported, but a series of geomagnetic storms were reported across our planet last weekend, tied to an active sunspot amping up the sun's activity and unleashing two strong solar flares. One of the flares set off a coronal mass ejection, or CME, hurtling into space directly toward Earth.

NASA confirmed that two separate CMEs crashed into Earth's protective magnetic bubble, called the magnetosphere, sparking geomagnetic storms and intensifying stunning visions of the so-called "northern lights" seen as far south as Iowa, Nebraska and Maryland.

According to the Space Weather Prediction Center, which is jointly managed by the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, yet another solar flare, dubbed AR 1504 "still poses a threat."

The sun's activity waxes and wanes on an approximately 11-year space weather cycle. The sun's current cycle began in 2008 and the star's activity is expected to ramp up toward a solar maximum in 2013.

The Slooh Space Camera is set to broadcast a special live solar show today, beginning at 5 p.m. Mountain Time, to examine recent solar activity and to celebrate the summer solstice, the official start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

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