Watch as this NASA animation shows the sun blasting out a giant explosion of magnetic energy called a coronal mass ejection and the Earth being shielded from this by its powerful magnetic field. The sun also continuously showers the Earth with light and radiation energy. Much of this solar energy is deflected by the Earth's atmosphere or reflected back into space by clouds, ice and snow. What gets through becomes the energy that drives the Earth system, powering a remarkable planetary engine -- the climate.
*Special thanks to EQReporter for this video upload
During a powerful solar blast in March, NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected the highest-energy light ever associated with an eruption on the sun. The discovery heralds Fermi's new role as a solar observatory, a powerful new tool for understanding solar outbursts during the sun's maximum period of activity. "For most of Fermi's four years in orbit, its Large Area Telescope (LAT) saw the sun as a faint, steady gamma-ray source thanks to the impacts of high-speed particles called cosmic rays," said Nicola Omodei, an astrophysicist at Stanford University in California. "Now we're beginning to see what the sun itself can do."
Solar eruptions are now on the rise as the sun progresses toward the peak of its roughly 11-year-long activity cycle, now expected in mid-2013.
U-M Professor Tamas Gombosi discusses the impact of solar flares on satellite functions and US infrastructure, and the work of U-M researchers in forecasting solar storms to aid in preventative measures. According to Gombosi, we are heading into Solar Maximum -- the period of greatest solar activity that happens once every 11 years. During that time, a solar storm will occur approximately every month, and preventative action needs to be taken to avoid damage to our infrastructure. The Center for Space Environment Modeling (http://csem.engin.umich.edu/) at the University of Michigan is attempting to simulate these solar flares in order to aid in the forecasting of solar storms, and to allow for that preventative action. ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Tamas Gombosi is the Rollin M. Gerstacker Professor of Engineering in the Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences (http://aoss.engin.umich.edu/). His research focuses on planetary science, space weather, heliospheric and magnetospheric physics and high-performance scientific computing.
Special Thanks to EQReporter for the video upload
Shockwaves From Melting Icecaps Are Triggering Earthquakes, Say Scientists
High up inside the Arctic circle the melting of Greenland's ice sheet has accelerated so dramatically that it is triggering earthquakes for the first time.
Scientists monitoring the glaciers have revealed that movements of gigantic pieces of ice are creating shockwaves that register up to three on the Richter scale.
Estimates of the likely rise in sea levels this century vary, and the IPCC published a conservative range of between 20cm-60cm. But those estimates are now heavily disputed, with many scientists insisting that new data collected since the IPCC report suggested a rise closer to two metres. Professor Correll said there was now a "consensus" that a significant acceleration in the loss of ice mass has occurred since the last report.
Greenland's ice cap is immense, the second largest in the world, and its break-up would be catastrophic. The packed ice is up to two miles thick and its total collapse into the ocean would raise worldside sea levels by seven metres.
This video takes SDO images and applies additional processing to enhance the structures visible. While there is no scientific value to this processing, it does result in a beautiful, new way of looking at the sun. The original frames are in the 171 Angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet. This wavelength shows plasma in the solar atmosphere, called the corona, that is around 600,000 Kelvin. The loops represent plasma held in place by magnetic fields. They are concentrated in "active regions" where the magnetic fields are the strongest. These active regions usually appear in visible light as sunspots. The events in this video represent 24 hours of activity on September 25, 2011. Thanks to the Goddard team and EQReporter for sharing their work.
Annular Solar Eclipse / Venus Transit - Are You Ready !