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In the News – Year 2011

Comet Lovejoy Plunges into the Sun and Survies
Comet Lovejoy Plunges into the Sun and Survives
12.16.11 – An armada of spacecraft witnessed something that many experts thought impossible. Comet Lovejoy flew through the hot atmosphere of the sun and emerged intact.
Curiosity and the Solar Storm
Curiosity and the Solar Storm
12.14.11 – Curiosity, launched on Nov. 26 on the Mars Science Laboratory, has begun monitoring space radiation during its 8-month trip from Earth to Mars using an instrument called the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) that monitors high-energy atomic and subatomic particles.
Solar Storms Could 'Sandblast' the Moon
Solar Storms Could ‘Sandblast’ the Moon
12.06.11 – A typical two-day solar storm could strip hundreds of tons of material from the moon.
Space Weather Workshop
Space Weather Workshop
12.06.11 – Five scientists speaking at a workshop at the 2011 Fall AGU meeting in San Francisco on Tuesday, December 6 at 10 AM PST will discuss the complex – and relatively new – research area of space weather.
A 360 Degree View of an X-class Flare and A CME
A 360 Degree View of an X-class Flare and A CME
11.04.11 – The sun sent out two different kinds of solar activity on November 3, 2011 in different directions: an X.19 solar flare and a particularly bright CME.
Solar Cycle Primer
Solar Cycle Primer
10.27.11 – The number of sunspots on the sun increase and decrease over time in a regular, approximately 11-year cycle. More sunspots mean increased solar…
Beautiful Red Aurora
Beautiful Red Aurora
10.25.11 – A coronal mass ejection (CME) shot off the sun late in the evening of October 21 and hit Earth on October 24 at about 2 PM ET causing red aurora in the U.S.
ESA to Collaborate with NASA on Solar Science Mission
ESA To Collaborate with NASA on Solar Science Mission
10.06.11 – On October 4, 2011, the European Space Agency announced it's two next science missions, including Solar Orbiter, a spacecraft geared to study the powerful influence of the sun.
Incoming Comet; Outcome CME
Incoming Comet; Outgoing CME
10.04.11 – On October 2, 2011, an exceptionally bright comet headed toward the sun and disintegrated; moments later a large coronal mass ejection (CME) blew off the other side of the sun.
Nikolaos Paschalidis: Miniaturized Details and the Big Picture
Nikolaos Paschalidis: Miniaturized Details and the Big Picture
10.04.11 – A profile of Nikolaos Paschalidis, who is in charge of coordinating science and technology advancement efforts of NASA Goddard's Heliophysics division. He builds tiny chips for spacecraft, and thinks big about the future.
Geomagnetic Storm Subsiding
Geomagnetic Storm Subsiding
09.27.11 – The severe geomagnetic storm that began yesterday when a CME hit Earth's magnetic field is subsiding.
Solar Activity Can Affect Re-Entry of UARS Satellite
Solar Activity Can Affect Re-Entry of UARS Satellite
09.22.11 – The world's eyes are on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite headed toward re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.
An X1.4 Solar Flare and a CME
A Solar Flare and a CME
09.22.11 – Our increasingly active Sun produced a large CME yesterday evening and an X1.4 class flare this morning. This increased solar activity is a normal…
Solar Activity Subsiding - Auroras Ablaze
Solar Activity Subsiding - Auroras Ablaze
09.12.11 – After last week's flurry of strong flares from sunspot 1283, solar activity is subsiding as this sunspot rotates over the sun's western limb. Aurora from last week's solar activity will be dancing in the sky for the next several day.
Sunspot 1283 Bristling With Flares: An X1.8 and An M6.7 - UPDATED
Sunspot 1283 Is Bristling With Flares-UPDATED
09.08.11 – The first of what will likely be several CME hits occurred this morning sparking a strong geomagnetic storm. Additional hits will occur over the weekend.
X2.1 Solar Flare and CME
X2.1 Solar Flare and CME
09.07.11 – Sunspot 1283 erupted with another flare yesterday that peaked at 6:20 PM ET. This was an X2.1 class flare, some four times stronger than the earlier flare.
Something New On the Sun: SDO Spots a Late Phase in Solar Flares
SDO Spots a Late Phase in Solar Flares
09.07.11 – Fifteen percent of the flares have a distinct “late phase flare” some minutes to hours later that has never before been observed. This late phase of the flare pumps much more energy out into space than previously realized.
Moderate Labor Day Solar Flare Eruption
M5.3 Solar Flare Eruption-CME
09.06.11 – At 9:35 PM ET on Labor Day, the sun emitted an Earth-directed M5.3 class flare as measured by the GOES satellite.
Sunspot Breakthrough
Sunspot Breakthrough
08.24.11 – Scientists detected several sunspot regions in the deep interior of the sun, 1-2 days before they appeared on the solar disc.
Sun Unleashes X6.9 Class Flare
Sun Unleashes X6.9 Class Flare
08.09.11 – On Aug. 9, 2011, the sun unleashed an X6.9 class flare. Though not Earth directed, we may experience radio and communications blackouts.
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Sun Packs a Double Punch-UPDATED
08.08.11 – The August 5, 2011 arrival of the combined August 3 CMEs caused many photographers in the northern U.S. and Europe to race outside with their cameras to record the colorful skies. They were not disappointed.
Friday Night M9.3 Light
Friday Night M9.3 Light
08.01.11 – Active solar region 1261 let loose with a short-lived M9.3 flare on Friday Night. No Earth directed affects are expected.
SDO Spots Extra Energy in the Sunís Corona
SDO Spots Extra Energy in the Sun’s Corona
07.27.11 – Ripples in the sun’s magnetic field called Alfven waves have been shown to carry more energy than previously thought, possibly enough to drive the intense heating of the corona and to speed the solar wind to 1.5 million mph.
A close-up of the June 7, 2011 eruption shows dark blobs of plasma falling ballistically toward the surface of the sun.
Dark Fireworks on the Sun
07.11.11 – NASA has just released new high-resolution videos of the solar event recorded by SDO on June 7, 2011.
A "sun grazing" comet as caught by SOHO's LASCO C2 camera as it dived toward the sun on July 5 and July 6, 2011.
First-Ever View of a Sungrazer Comet In Front of the Sun
07.07.11 – For the first time ever, SDO has captured a movie of a comet streaking directly in front of the sun.
The Halo coronal mass ejection (CME) as viewed by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory coronograph.
Solstice Flare and CME - UPDATE
06.24.11 – A high-speed solar wind stream is currently impacting the Earth's magnetic field. The mixture of the high-speed stream and CME that erupted from solar corona on June 21 is expected to keep the geomagnetic activity level elevated. Auroral displays are possible at high-latitude locations.
Having a Solar Blast - UPDATE
Having a Solar Blast - UPDATE
06.10.11 – Earth is still waiting for the arrival of the CME unleashed June 7, 2011 but the forecasts of the glancing blow have been substantially reduced. The Sun unleashed an M-2 solar flare, an S-1 radiation storm and a spectacular coronal mass ejection in the early hours of June 7, 2011.
Surfing on the Sun, as seen by SDO
Surfing on the Sun, as seen by SDO
06.07.11 – Cue the surfing music. Scientists have spotted the iconic surfer's wave rolling through the atmosphere of the sun. More than just a nice photo-op, the waves hold clues as to how energy moves through that atmosphere.
In the Alberta prairies east of Edmonton, Canada, it looked like it was raining auroras
Memorial Weekend Light Show
06.01.11 – A high speed solar wind caused geomagnetic storms over the Memorial weekend and another high speed stream may produce even more starting June 4, 2011.
Aurora Australis (Southern Lights).
Geomagnetic Storm Light Show at Both Poles
04.30.11 – High Speed Solar Wind causes aurora at both poles
SDO First Light Anniversary Contest
SDO First Light Anniversary Contest
04.21.11 – April 21, 2011 marks the one-year anniversary of when the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured its first images, an event referred to for all telescopes as “first light”.
The Watched Pot and Fast CMEs
The Watched Pot and Fast CMEs
04.14.11 – Back in 2008, the solar cycle plunged into the deepest minimum in nearly a century. As 2011 unfolds, sunspots have returned and they are crackling with activity.
RBSP Mission Status
RBSP - Mission Status
04.14.11 – The latest update on the Relativistic Proton Spectrometer instruments, the Electric and Magnetic Field Instrument Suite and Integrated Science package, and the Radiation Belt Storm Probes Ion Composition Experiment that will ride on-board the RBSP spacecrafts.
Fortuitous Timing for NASA's New Space Weather App
Fortuitous Timing for NASA's New Space Weather App
03.16.11 – NASA officially releases new Space Weather App making images and other data almost immediately available to users.
Celebrating 400 Years of Sunspot Observations
Celebrating 400 Years of Sunspot Observations
03.09.11 – On March 9, 1611, Johannes Fabricius, who would become the first person to publish a scientific paper on sunspots, used a telescope to catch his first glimpse of one of these dark spots on the sun.
Researchers Crack the Mystery of the Spotless Sun
Researchers Crack the Mystery of the Spotless Sun
03.02.11 – In 2008-2009, sunspots almost completely disappeared for two years. But why? Solar Physicists now know the answer.
Monster Prominence Erupts from the Sun
Monster Prominence Erupts from the Sun
02.24.11 – A rather large M 3.6 class flare occurred near the edge of the Sun on Feb. 24, 2011, it blew out a gorgeous, waving mass of erupting plasma.
Launching Balloons in Antarctica
Launching Balloons in Antarctica
02.22.11 – A successful test launch in Antarctica for BARREL (Balloon Array for RBSP Relativistic Electron Losses) shows how it will will work hand in hand with.
SDO Sundog Mystery
SDO Sundog Mystery
02.11.11 – NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), best known for cutting-edge images of the sun, has made a discovery right here on Earth.
SDO Celebrates One Year Anniversary
SDO Celebrates One Year Anniversary
02.11.11 – Project scientists discuss SDO's first year of science and collaboration with other Heliophysics System Observatory missions.
Holes in the Sun’s Corona
Holes in the Sun’s Corona
01.11.11 – This SDO image from Jan. 10 shows a “coronal hole,” an area of the sun’s surface that sends magnetic field lines way out into space.
Hotspots Help Explain Coronal Heating Mystery
Hotspots Help Explain Coronal Heating Mystery
01.06.11 – Giant plumes of gas zooming up from the sun’s surface at 150,000 mph may play a key role in heating its corona in excess of a million degrees.