Pick of The Week
 
 

The Big ONE! (October 30, 2003)


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Active region 10486, which had grown to one of the largest sunspot seen by SOHO, unleashed a spectacular show on 28 October 2003. An X 17.2 flare, the second largest flare observed by SOHO and the third largest ever recorded, blasted off a strong high energy proton event and a fast-moving Coronal Mass Ejection. A flare is an intense solar eruption, the largest known explosion in our solar system. It appears as a bright flash in SOHO ultraviolet images. This was slightly preceded by a Coronal Mass Ejection, which sent a large particle cloud headed directly towards Earth. The expanding CME cloud and subsequent particle hits on the SOHO imager can be seen in the latter half of the video clip. The fast-moving cloud first impacted Earth's magnetosphere a mere 19 hours later, almost a record speed. Subsequent impacts were still occurring hours later. As a result of this storm, aurora were seen as far south as Virginia and Missouri.

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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.

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