Get ready eclipse fans! An annual solar eclipse is scheduled to make an appearance on May 20, 21, 2012. For those of you who are lucky enough to live in the northern hemisphere AND live in China, Japan or the West Coast of the United States, you will be witnesses to this celestial show!
The National Weather Service – Space Weather Prediction Center reported today that an R3 solar flare was in progress as of 6:37 PM EST. This solar flare comes after a similar flare was spawned from the same region of the sun less than 24 hours earlier. The SWPC is still collecting data from this latest outburst and does not yet know if this event will add to the G1 (minor) storm that is already headed for Earth with an anticipated impact on September 9-10, 2011.
When the atmosphere of the sun explodes, an effect known as a solar flare occurs. Solar flares are intense releases of energy, releasing huge amounts of energy in an instant. Since Planet Earth relies on energy from the sun and is directly affected by the energy it produces, instances of a sun flare explosion have a direct impact on Earth as well. But how exactly do solar flares affect planet earth?
Sunspots are a phenomena that occur on the surface of the sun and can bee seen as dark spots against the brighter surface. They are very transient in nature – meaning they don’t last very long and change shape rapidly.
Our view of the sun can be a bit blinding at times when we look up from here on Earth. To get a better idea of what the sun looks like, here are 6 great pictures of the sun from space that are sure to put you in awe of that star that is in the center of our solar system.