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NASA Detects Solar Flare Pulses at Sun and Earth

Bringing some of the mysteries of the universe a little closer to home.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:27 pm

When our Sun erupts with giant explosions — such as bursts of radiation called solar flares — we know they can affect space throughout the solar system as well as near Earth. But monitoring their effects requires having observatories in many places with many perspectives, much the way weather sensors all over Earth can help us monitor what’s happening with a terrestrial storm.

By using multiple observatories, two recent studies show how solar flares exhibit pulses or oscillations in the amount of energy being sent out. Such research provides new insights on the origins of these massive solar flares as well as the space weather they produce, which is key information as humans and robotic missions venture out into the solar system, farther and farther from home.

The first study spotted oscillations during a flare — unexpectedly — in measurements of the Sun’s total output of extreme ultraviolet energy, a type of light invisible to human eyes. On Feb. 15, 2011, the Sun emitted an X-class solar flare, the most powerful kind of these intense bursts of radiation. Because scientists had multiple instruments observing the event, they were able to track oscillations in the flare’s radiation, happening simultaneously in several different sets of observations.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:28 pm

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Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured these images of an X-class flare on Feb. 15, 2011.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:29 pm



A flare or solar flare is a phenomenon by which the Sun releases electromagnetic radiation in a sudden and intense way. It usually occurs above sunspots, and the outbreak ranges from radio waves to X-rays and gamma rays.

 
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