View Full Version : Discussion: SOHO Spots a Giant Solar Flare

2003-Oct-28, 07:40 PM
SUMMARY: NASA/ESA's SOHO spacecraft spotted the third largest coronal mass ejection (CME) ever seen, which exploded from a sunspot early Tuesday. The CME was an X17.2 category flare, and hurled material directly towards the Earth; it's expected to reach us in about a day; the aurorae should be spectacular and visible even from middle latitudes. High energy particles from the Sun could disrupt satellite communications, and astronauts on the space station will take extra precautions to stay safe.

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Charles Bell
2003-Oct-28, 08:34 PM
If you look at SOHO right now (2:33 PM CST) on the LASCO C3, you will see the cosmic rays innundating the cameras. (

2003-Oct-28, 10:58 PM
Watched the sun today in visible light and during a K-Band Filter.
(For those of you who don't know who Fraunhofer was, it's an H alpha filter; for any pne from the atomic physics field hanging out here, that filter lets pass only photons with energies corresponding to the H atom's electron's transition from the 3rd to the 2nd orbital niveau that that electron can be on; sorry I don't speak Atomphysician :D )
The sun is very active at the moment, with the number of sunspots very high for the fact that sun passed it's most recent maximum in it's 11 (actually 22) year long acivity cycle about 3 years ago.
At the moment (as of Oct. 28), there are two very large groups of spots near the center of the sun disk, and the picture taken by SOHO corresponds with the larger group, which is the "lower one" in an astronomical telescope.
How do I know that? Because the flare in x-ray looks exactly like in that K Band which is close to the red edge of visible light!
But believe me, if you see the sun through a telescope with a K filter, SOHO's pic pales against what you'll see. Not only will you see several flares like the mentioned one (through the other ones a little bit smaller to the eye), but also lots of protuberances (gaseous eruptions) near the sun's edge, which you can even see move if you watch long enough. People, if you got a telescope, get a K filter!
And if you don't, go ask someone who possesses both to let you take a peek at the sun, it's pretty cool!

(but watch out to get one which blocks out at LEAST 99999 parts of 100000 of sunlight even for a very small telescope or this will most likely be the last ime you saw the sun B) )