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Recent Solar Eruptions Travel into Space

Satellite Technology

Satellite Technology Feature Article

November 26, 2012

Recent Solar Eruptions Travel into Space

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

There were several reports late this month of solar eruptions. More of these celestial activities are possible. So far, the Earth has not experienced any noticeable results from recent events on the Sun.

On Nov. 16, the Sun had two major eruptions – which led to some spectacular photos taken by NASA. The two eruptions took place four hours apart.

They were caused by plasma, which NASA described in an agency statement as a “hot gas made of electrically charged hydrogen and helium,” which led to red glowing loops.

The eruption is a result of instability and leads to a burst. Clouds of particles then head into space after the burst.

NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) took photos of the eruptions. Impressed by the video, The Space Reporter called the scenes at the Sun a “massive solar tsunami.”

The bursts were also described as “prominences” – which can extend hundreds of thousands of miles into space.

On Nov. 20, a coronal mass ejection was seen at the Sun, too. It can lead to solar particles going into space and reaching the Earth in a few days, TMCnet said. They sometimes can interfere with electronic systems in satellites and those on Earth. The Nov. 20 coronal mass ejection was traveling at speeds of 450 miles per second.

On Nov. 23, a coronal mass ejection erupted from the Sun, again. It was the third such eruption in just a few days.

In the past, solar storms have interfered with radio communications on Earth. In March, a powerful solar storm did not cause any immediate interference with power grids, GPS or satellite technology, but it was carefully watched by officials at NASA, TMCnet said.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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