Posts Tagged ‘Solar Flare’

Magnitude X8 X-ray Flare of Sept 9 2017 (2nd Biggest in Cycle 24)

The sun erupted with an X8 solar flare, one of the largest of the current solar cycle (Sept. 10, 2017). Its source was the same sunspot region that produced an X9 flare last week. We show this in two wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light at the same time, and each reveals different features. Both are colorized to identify in which wavelength they were observed. The coils of loops after the flare are the magnetic field lines reorganizing themselves after the eruption. The video clip covers about six hours.

Thirty Minutes of Dazzle: The Sun in UHD 4K by SDO (NASA)

Take a front-seat view of the Sun in this 30-minute ultra-high definition movie in which NASA SDO gives us a stunning look at our nearest star.

This movie provides a 30-minute window to the Sun as seen by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which measures the irradiance of the Sun that produces the ionosphere. SDO also measures the sources of that radiation and how they evolve.

SDO’s Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) captures a shot of the sun every 12 seconds in 10 different wavelengths. The images shown here are based on a wavelength of 171 angstroms, which is in the extreme ultraviolet range and shows solar material at around 600,000 Kelvin (about 1 million degrees F.) In this wavelength it is easy to see the sun’s 25-day rotation.

The distance between the SDO spacecraft and the sun varies over time. The image is, however, remarkably consistent and stable despite the fact that SDO orbits Earth at 6,876 mph and the Earth orbits the sun at 67,062 miles per hour.

Scientists study these images to better understand the complex electromagnetic system causing the constant movement on the sun, which can ultimately have an effect closer to Earth, too: Flares and another type of solar explosion called coronal mass ejections can sometimes disrupt technology in space. Moreover, studying our closest star is one way of learning about other stars in the galaxy. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. built, operates, and manages the SDO spacecraft for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C.

Charged particles are created in our atmosphere by the intense X-rays produced by a solar flare. The solar wind, a continuous stream of plasma (charged particles), leaves the Sun and fills the solar system with charged particles and magnetic field. There are times when the Sun also releases billions of tons of plasma in what are called coronal mass ejections. When these enormous clouds of material or bright flashes of X-rays hit the Earth they change the upper atmosphere. It is changes like these that make space weather interesting.

Sit back and enjoy this half-hour 4k video of our Star!  Then, share.  🙂

73 dit dit

 

Our Amazing Sun and HF Radio Signal Propagation

Space Weather. The Sun-Earth Connection. Ionospheric radio propagation. Solar storms. Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). Solar flares and radio blackouts. All of these topics are interrelated for the amateur radio operator, especially when the activity involves the shortwave, or high-frequency, radiowave spectrum.

Learning about space weather and radio signal propagation via the ionosphere aids you in gaining a competitive edge in radio DX contests. Want to forecast the radio propagation for the next weekend so you know whether or not you should attend to the Honey-do list, or declare a radio day?

In the last ten years, amazing technological advances have been made in heliophysics research and solar observation. These advances have catapulted the amateur radio hobbyist into a new era in which computer power and easy access to huge amounts of data assist in learning about, observing, and forecasting space weather and to gain an understanding of how space weather impacts shortwave radio propagation, aurora propagation, and so on.

I hope to start “blogging” here about space weather and the propagation of radio waves, as time allows. I hope this finds a place in your journey of exploring the Sun-Earth connection and the science of radio communication.

With that in mind, I’d like to share some pretty cool science. Even though the video material in this article are from 2010, they provide a view of our Sun with the stunning solar tsunami event:

On August 1, 2010, the entire Earth-facing side of the sun erupted in a tumult of activity. There was a C3-class solar flare, a solar tsunami, multiple plasma-filled filaments of magnetism lifting off the stellar surface, large-scale shaking of the solar corona, radio bursts, a coronal mass ejection and more!

At approximately 0855 UTC on August 1, 2010, a C3.2 magnitude soft X-ray flare erupted from NOAA Active Sunspot Region 11092 (we typically shorten this by dropping the first digit: NOAA AR 1092).

At nearly the same time, a massive filament eruption occurred. Prior to the filament’s eruption, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) AIA instruments revealed an enormous plasma filament stretching across the sun’s northern hemisphere. When the solar shock wave triggered by the C3.2-class X-ray explosion plowed through this filament, it caused the filament to erupt, sending out a huge plasma cloud.

In this movie, taken by SDO AIA at several different Extreme Ultra Violet (EUV) wavelengths such as the 304- and 171-Angstrom wavelengths, a cooler shock wave can be seen emerging from the origin of the X-ray flare and sweeping across the Sun’s northern hemisphere into the filament field. The impact of this shock wave may propelled the filament into space.

This movie seems to support this analysis: Despite the approximately 400,000 kilometer distance between the flare and the filament eruption, they appear to erupt together. How can this be? Most likely they’re connected by long-range magnetic fields (remember: we cannot see these magnetic field lines unless there is plasma riding these fields).

In the following video clip, taken by SDO AIA at the 304-Angstrom wavelength, a cooler shock wave can be seen emerging from the origin of the X-ray flare and sweeping across the sun’s northern hemisphere into the filament field. The impact of this shock wave propelled the filament into space. This is in black and white because we’re capturing the EUV at the 304-Angstrom wavelength, which we cannot see. SDO does add artificial color to these images, but the raw footage is in this non-colorized view.

The followling video shows this event in the 171-Angstrom wavelength, and highlights more of the flare event:

The following related video shows the “resulting” shock wave several days later. Note that this did NOT result in anything more than a bit of aurora seen by folks living in high-latitude areas (like Norway, for instance).

This fourth video sequence (of the five in the first video shown in this article) shows a simulation model of real-time passage of the solar wind. In this segment, the plasma cloud that was ejected from this solar tsunami event is seen in the data and simulation, passing by Earth and impacting the magnetosphere. This results in the disturbance of the geomagnetic field, triggering aurora and ionospheric depressions that degrade shortwave radio wave propagation.

At about 2/3rd of the way through, UTC time stamp 1651 UTC, the shock wave hits the magnetosphere.

This is a simulation derived from satellite data of the interaction between the solar wind, the earth’s magnetosphere, and earth’s ionosphere. This triggered aurora on August 4, 2010, as the geomagnetic field became stormy (Kp was at or above 5).

While this is an amazing event, a complex series of eruptions involving most of the visible surface of the sun occurred, ejecting plasma toward the Earth, the energy that was transferred by the plasma mass that was ejected by the two eruptions (first, the slower-moving coronal mass ejection originating in the C-class X-ray flare at sunspot region 1092, and, second, the faster-moving plasma ejection originating in the filament eruption) was “moderate.” This event, especially in relationship with the Earth through the Sun-Earth connection, was rather low in energy. It did not result in any news-worthy events on Earth–no laptops were fried, no power grids failed, and the geomagnetic activity level was only moderate, with limited degradation observed on the shortwave radio spectrum.

This “Solar Tsunami” is actually categorized as a “Moreton wave”, the chromospheric signature of a large-scale solar coronal shock wave. As can be seen in this video, they are generated by solar flares. They are named for American astronomer, Gail Moreton, an observer at the Lockheed Solar Observatory in Burbank who spotted them in 1959. He discovered them in time-lapse photography of the chromosphere in the light of the Balmer alpha transition.

Moreton waves propagate at a speed of 250 to 1500 km/s (kilometers per second). A solar scientist, Yutaka Uchida, has interpreted Moreton waves as MHD fast-mode shock waves propagating in the corona. He links them to type II radio bursts, which are radio-wave discharges created when coronal mass ejections accelerate shocks.

I will be posting more of these kinds of posts, some of them explaining the interaction between space weather and the propagation of radio signals.

For live space weather and radio propagation, visit http://SunSpotWatch.com/. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel: https://YouTube.com/NW7US.

The fourth video segment is used by written permission, granted to NW7US by NICT. The movie is [email protected], Japan. The rest of the video is courtesy of SDO/AIA and NASA. Music is courtesy of YouTube, from their free-to-use music library. Video copyright, 2015, by Tomas Hood / NW7US. All rights reserved.

Stunning Video of the Sun Over Five Years, by SDO

Watch this video on a large screen. (It is HD). Discuss. Share.

This video features stunning clips of the Sun, captured by SDO from each of the five years since SDO’s deployment in 2010. In this movie, watch giant clouds of solar material hurled out into space, the dance of giant loops hovering in the corona, and huge sunspots growing and shrinking on the Sun’s surface.

April 21, 2015 marks the five-year anniversary of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) First Light press conference, where NASA revealed the first images taken by the spacecraft. Since then, SDO has captured amazingly stunning super-high-definition images in multiple wavelengths, revealing new science, and captivating views.

February 11, 2015 marks five years in space for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which provides incredibly detailed images of the whole Sun 24 hours a day. February 11, 2010, was the day on which NASA launched an unprecedented solar observatory into space. The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) flew up on an Atlas V rocket, carrying instruments that scientists hoped would revolutionize observations of the Sun.

Capturing an image more than once per second, SDO has provided an unprecedentedly clear picture of how massive explosions on the Sun grow and erupt. The imagery is also captivating, allowing one to watch the constant ballet of solar material through the sun’s atmosphere, the corona.

The imagery in this “highlight reel” provide us with examples of the kind of data that SDO provides to scientists. By watching the sun in different wavelengths (and therefore different temperatures, each “seen” at a particular wavelength that is invisible to the unaided eye) scientists can watch how material courses through the corona. SDO captures images of the Sun in 10 different wavelengths, each of which helps highlight a different temperature of solar material. Different temperatures can, in turn, show specific structures on the Sun such as solar flares or coronal loops, and help reveal what causes eruptions on the Sun, what heats the Sun’s atmosphere up to 1,000 times hotter than its surface, and why the Sun’s magnetic fields are constantly on the move.

Coronal loops are streams of solar material traveling up and down looping magnetic field lines). Solar flares are bursts of light, energy and X-rays. They can occur by themselves or can be accompanied by what’s called a coronal mass ejection, or CME, in which a giant cloud of solar material erupts off the Sun, achieves escape velocity and heads off into space.

This movie shows examples of x-ray flares, coronal mass ejections, prominence eruptions when masses of solar material leap off the Sun, much like CMEs. The movie also shows sunspot groups on the solar surface. One of these sunspot groups, a magnetically strong and complex region appearing in mid-January 2014, was one of the largest in nine years as well as a torrent of intense solar flares. In this case, the Sun produced only flares and no CMEs, which, while not unheard of, is somewhat unusual for flares of that size. Scientists are looking at that data now to see if they can determine what circumstances might have led to flares eruptions alone.

Scientists study these images to better understand the complex electromagnetic system causing the constant movement on the sun, which can ultimately have an effect closer to Earth, too: Flares and another type of solar explosion called coronal mass ejections can sometimes disrupt technology in space as well as on Earth (disrupting shortwave communication, stressing power grids, and more). Additionally, studying our closest star is one way of learning about other stars in the galaxy.

Goddard built, operates and manages the SDO spacecraft for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. SDO is the first mission of NASA’s Living with a Star Program. The program’s goal is to develop the scientific understanding necessary to address those aspects of the sun-Earth system that directly affect our lives and society.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXN-MdoGM9g

A Solar flare, A CME, A Proton Storm: Magnitude M2.5 X-ray Flare

Watch this amazing explosion on the Sun. From sunspot complex 1226-1227 comes an X-ray Flare peaking at a magnitude of M2.5 at 0640 UTC on 7 June, 2011.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQMrRu8BWDo

This X-ray flare hurled a massive coronal mass ejection (CME) toward the Earth. This not-squarely Earth-directed CME is moving at 1400 km/s according to NASA models. The CME did not deliver even a noticeable glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field late June 8th or June 9th.

What can be seen clearly in this movie is one of the most spectacular prominence eruptions ever observed. In fact, one could call it a “prominence explosion”. The prominence material expanded to a volume some 75 times as big across as the earth!

This X-ray flare also triggered an S1-level solar radiation storm, causing a long-lasting polar cap absorption (PCA) event. A polar cap absorption (PCA) event affects the propagation of a shortwave radio signal as it makes its way over the polar regions. In short, radio communications on lower shortwave radio frequencies become more difficult, as those radio signals are absorbed by the ionosphere (in the D-region) over the polar regions.

What does this mean in real-world communications? Trans-polar airline pilots may find it more difficult to communicate with regional air traffic control, shortwave radio listeners who want to hear a broadcast from a country by receiving a transmission from a country by way of a transmission beamed over the pole (like, from Europe into the USA via the North Pole), or other such communications, will find those signals all but gone. The stronger the PCA event, the higher the frequencies absorbed over the polar regions, with the greatest absorption occurring at the lower frequencies.

This movie spans the period of time from 0300 UTC through 1556 UTC, and is composed of the 171-Angstrom, 304-Angstrom, and 335-Angstrom wavelength views as captured by the filters of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA). In this movie, the AIA instruments capture the Sun’s extreme ultraviolet light and reveal a very large eruption of cool gas. It is somewhat unique because at many places in the eruption there seems to be even cooler material–at temperatures less than 80,000 K.

The following is a linked video that is part of this event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4CsjcUGoaw

Watch as we zoom out to see a total view of the June 7, 2011 moderately-powerful X-ray Flare and Prominence Eruption. This movie will give you a full perspective of the immense size of this prominence eruption as it spews out away from the Sun.

The X-ray Flare peaked at a moderate magnitude of M2.5 at 0640 UTC, but unleashed a huge prominence eruption. The massive cloud of plasma was ejected out into interplanetary space, but missed the Earth. This movie stars with a “close-up” view by the Solar Dynamics Observatory at a combined wavelength view at 94 and 304 Angstroms. Then, the movie views the event further back through the eyes of the COR1 spacecraft (with the SDO AIA 304 image superimposed in the middle). Next, we zoom out to the COR2 spacecraft and superimpose the COR1 and SDO views. Then, we zoom further back to the H1 view… and finally look again at the event close-up.

More info: http://sunspotwatch.com/

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Source: SDO AIA NASA SOHO

LHS Episode #136: Introduction to FreeDV

dv screen shotHello, everyone! We are back again with another fun and informative episode of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, your hosts discuss solar flares, lots of space weather, stable and easy-to-install Linux distributions, H.R. 4969, Quentin Tarantino, dinner rolls and the amazing and fun new transmission mode for HF known as FreeDV. Don’t miss a second of this action-packed episode.

73 de The LHS Guys

Radio propagation and space weather course

As the propagation columnist for several amateur radio magazines, I hear from a diverse group of interested people that find space weather and the propagation of radio waves fascinating. I admit: I am a space weather and radio propagation nut, and it is always good to correspond or meet with other interested folks. This is an aspect of our hobby that never grows old, as there is so much that we don’t yet know–we communicators are in a perfect space to make discovery and to make improvements to our understanding of this science.  Over the years, I’ve heard a lot from readers of my columns, expressing their fascination with the science of radio and solar phenomenon.

Are you interested in learning about the Sun and the Sun-Earth connection (space weather), including topics of sunspots, solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and so on?  Do you want to delve deeper into topics including the ionosphere, the magnetosphere, and how radio waves propagate from transmitter to receiver?

foF2 Map for June 2014

The critical frequency (foF2) for mornings during June 2014.

You might consider a time-proven “course”–material that is very comprehensive–that you can self-study, to become well-versed in this information. The course (one that has been used in professional disciplines) is offered either stand-alone, or bundled with the ray-tracing PropLab PRO software. 

Some may say, “But, I like the magic of just getting on the air and trying my luck! If I learn all this stuff, then it becomes science, and not a hobby.” It is true that there’s a joy at being dazzled with the magic of radio; buy a super cool transceiver, and a factory-made antenna with coax already fitted with connectors, adding the necessary accessories to make it come alive, then begin exploring the shortwave frequencies. Magical, indeed! But, there are many in the hobby that wish to learn how all of that works. Some even begin learning how to build antennas, radio kits, and discover the joy of the “science” of radio. A few eventually take the step with gained “scientific” knowledge of electronics, and they design and build equipment for their hobby. The course is part of that mix: learning how the Sun affects getting a radio signal from point A to point B, and how to leverage their time and efforts, is a joy, indeed.

Interested?  Here’s the web page: http://hfradio.org/swp_course/

 

Ray Traced Radio Wave

PropLab PRO creates ray-traced radio wave analysis

 

If any disclosure is necessary, here you go: The proceeds from a purchase of this course go to the funds I use to keep cw.HFRadio.org, swl.HFRadio.org, and other resources at HFRadio.org, plus http://SunSpotWatch.com up and running. There are monthly fees, yearly fees, and software licensing to cover, as well as the purchase of hardware from time to time. These operating and maintenance funds are mostly covered by me, Tomas, NW7US, out of my personal funds. Any donations and sales helps out. Haters and Hecklers can send their comments to the bit bucket.

73 de NW7US


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