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| Space on Jun 08, 2011

Dramatic solar flare June 7, 2011. Aurora alert June 8 and 9

On June 7, 2011, a solar flare caused a large cloud of particles on the sun to mushroom up, then fall back, looking as if it covered almost half the solar surface.

Watch a solar flare happen

NASA obtained this image of the sun yesterday, June 7, 2011 as the sun unleashed a dramatic solar flare. It was an M-2 (medium-sized) solar flare, an S1-class (minor) radiation storm and a spectacular coronal mass ejection (CME) coming from sunspot complex 1226-1227. The CME should deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field during the late hours of June 8 or June 9, 2011. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras – the beautiful northern lights – when the CME arrives.

June 7, 2011. Image Credit: NASA/SDO.


Click here to expand image above

The large cloud of particles mushroomed up and fell back down looking as if it covered an area of almost half the solar surface.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) observed the flare’s peak at 1:41 a.m. EDT (06:41 UTC) on June 7, 2011. SDO recorded these images in extreme ultraviolet light. They show a very large eruption of cool gas. It is somewhat unusual because at many places in the eruption there seems to be even cooler material – at temperatures less than 80,000 K.

A solar flare is an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots. Flares are our solar system’s largest explosive events. They are seen as bright areas on the sun and they can last from minutes to hours. We typically see a solar flare by the photons (or light) it releases, at almost every wavelength of the spectrum. The primary ways we monitor flares are in X-rays and visible light. Flares are also sites where particles (electrons, protons, and heavier particles) are accelerated.

Bottom line: NASA observed a dramatic solar flare on June 7, 2011. It was an M-2 (medium-sized) solar flare, an S1-class (minor) radiation storm and a spectacular coronal mass ejection (CME) coming from sunspot complex 1226-1227. The CME should deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field during the late hours of June 8 or June 9, 2011. Watch for auroras – northern lights – on those nights!