New solar active region spitting out flares

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An active region on the sun, numbered AR 1504, rotated into view over the left side of the sun on June 10, 2012. The region fired off two M-class flares and two coronal mass ejections (CMEs) on June 13 and June 14, 2012. The first flare lasted for a relatively long three hours, peaking on June 13, 2012 at 9:17 AM EDT. The associated CME traveled at approximately 375 miles per second and is directed toward Earth, though due to its slow speed, the effect on Earth is expected to be minimal. 

The Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of an M1.2 class flare on June 13, 2012. The sun is shown here in teal as this is the color typically used to represent light in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, a wavelength particularly good for observing flares [Credit: NASA/SDO]

The second M-class flare was also a long-duration flare, and it peaked on June 14, 2012 at 10:08 AM EDT. The CME associated with this flare is traveling much faster — preliminary analysis at Goddard’s Space Weather Center indicates it is traveling at speeds of approximately 800 miles per second. It is traveling toward Earth, and could also impact Mars and the Spitzer spacecraft. 

The Space Weather Center models estimate that both CMEs will arrive on June 16. 

NASA will provide updates if AR1504 generates additional space weather. 

What is a prominence? What is a solar flare? What is a coronal mass ejection? 

For answers to these and other space weather questions, please visit the Spaceweather Frequently Asked Questions page: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/spaceweather/index.html

Source: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center [June 14, 2012]

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