Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sun Burst: Collapsing solar filament on August 31

A gigantic solar filament collapse has been caught on a NASA observatory camera. The stunning video covers nearly 3 hours compressed into half a minute. The event resulted in a coronal mass ejection and a small-scale geomagnetic storm on Earth.

The footage shot in extreme ultraviolet light shows the last hours of an arc of relatively cold plasma, which was kept stable by magnetic forces, but collapsed on August 31. The filament explodes, releasing a burst of radiation and coronal mass into space.

The ejection delivered a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetosphere, triggering a moderate level geomagnetic storm, the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center reported. By Tuesday, however, radiation levels went below the minor event threshold.

A solar filament, also called a solar prominence if it is observed against space, consists of hot ionized hydrogen and helium looping hundreds of thousands of kilometers from the sun’s surface into the relatively hotter corona. It can persist for months before ceasing to exist. Astrophysicists so far have no comprehensive theory as to how such structures are formed.

3-day Solar-Geophysical Forecast issued Sep 03 22:00 UTC

Solar Activity Forecast: Solar activity is expected to be low through the period (04 - 06 September) with a chance for isolated M- class flares.
Geophysical Activity Forecast: Geomagnetic field activity is expected to be at unsettled to active levels on day 1 (04 September) with a chance for minor storm levels as CME effects wind down. Quiet to unsettled conditions are expected during days 2 - 3 (05 - 06 September) with a chance for active levels due to arrival of Earth-directed CMEs observed on 02 September along with a co-rotating interaction region ahead of a coronal hole high-speed stream (CH HSS). The CH HSS is expected to commence on day 3. The greater than 10 MeV proton event at geosynchronous orbit is expected to end on day 1.
See also HERE & HERE & HERE