Large solar flare signals weekend disruptions on Earth
Friday, July 13, 2012 - 01:16
July 13 - Space scientists say Earth will experience a moderate geomagnetic storm this weekend following what they call a coronal mass ejection from the Sun on July 12. Coronal ejections emit powerful bursts of X-ray and ultraviolet radiation, which can disrupt satellites and electric power when they arrive in Earth's atmosphere. This latest ejection was accompanied by a large solar flare, recorded by NASA's space cameras. Rob Muir reports.
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NASA calls it an X-Class solar flare, one of the most powerful to have erupted from the Sun this year.
The flare was accompanied by a coronal mass ejection, which scientists say is carrying colossal amounts of electromagnetic energy towards Earth at approximately three million miles per hour. When it arrives over the weekend, they say its likely to produce moderate geo-magnetic storms affecting radio communications and electrical power grids. It's also likely to generate spectacular auroras or light shows in the skies over both hemispheres.
The storm occured on July 12th. Images of the flare were produced by the orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory.
The obsevatory's telescopes are equipped with a variety of filters to record images in different wavelengths indicated by different colours.
The SDO was launched in February 2010 to observe and record images in unprecedetned detail during a mission lasting five years. NASA says that mission has so far been a spectacular success.
Rob Muir, Reuters.
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