Friday, April 6, 2012

Report for 4/6/12

Although sunspot AR1429 recently returned from its journey around the backside of the Sun, solar activity has been low this week. This sunspot (which has since been renamed AR1451) was the source of over 50 solar flares from March 2nd to 15th, but has significantly decreased in size over the past few weeks.

A coronal mass ejection (CME) that erupted from the Sun on April 2nd was predicted to hit Earth two days later, but there have been no signs of it yet. It is possible it missed Earth, but we are still on the lookout for it.

The Sun also did a 360 degree roll this wee
k. Just kidding! Although it appears the Sun did a somersault, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) actually did. Twice a year, the SDO spacecraft does a 360 degree roll about the spacecraft-Sun line; this maneuver allows scientists to identify optical distortions in solar images. It also enables them to determine if the Sun's sphere is changing over time as a result of the solar cycle.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory did a 360 roll on Wednesday (not the Sun).

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