Pick of The Week
 
 

Looking at the Source (November 10, 2004)


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Millions of people around the world were treated to a brilliant display of aurora lights on the evening of November 7. Many of them must have wondered why did they occur and was any one able to predict their arrival. Well, the source can be observed in the stills and video clips right here. It was a very busy week for the Sun, which produced at least five major "halo" CMEs or coronal mass ejections over the period Nov. 4-8, 2004.

A "halo" CME is so named when a CME produces an expanding circle of particles all around the Sun when observers see this they know the CME is heading directly towards or away from Earth. In this case, all were headed in our direction. Their source was around a group of sunspots called Active Region 696. Many solar flares occurred during this period as well.

The most significant solar storm occurred late on Nov. 5th (Universal Time). As expected, the cloud of charged particles smashed into the Earth magnetosphere about two days later and generated a strong geomagnetic storm. The interaction of that energy with the Earth's atmosphere caused the aurora. Because the storm was quite strong, aurora was visible as far south asAlabama in the U.S. The auroral colors were strong and the storm lasted for hours in some cases. Numerous links on the Space Weather area of the SOHO website give additional information about solar storm observations and aurora predictions. Or come visit our new space weather section at soho.nascom.nasa.gov/spaceweather/lenticular/.

...and the solar storming action has continued for November 9 and 10 as can be seen in the LASCO C2 movie for these days.

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Previous Picks of the Week

SOHO began its Weekly Pick some time after sending a weekly image or video clip to the American Museum of Natural History (Rose Center) in New York City. There, the SOHO Weekly Pick is displayed with some annotations on a large plasma display.

If your institution would also like to receive the same Weekly Pick from us for display (usually in Photoshop or QuickTime format), please send your inquiry to steele.hill@gsfc.nasa.gov.

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