Bad Astronomy

HD footage of last night’s flare

Over at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, video producer Scott Wiessinger put together a short but exquisite video of the Sun’s big flare last night – the second most powerful of this cycle, beaten out only by last year’s X6.9 event in August.

The numbers on the side are wavelengths – in this case, 171 and 131 Angstroms, way out in the ultraviolet where violent magnetic events are more easily seen.

This flare was very powerful, and blasted out a wave of particles that’s expected to hit Earth sometime tonight after midnight EST (the exact time is difficult to determine). We’ll be OK down here on Earth, but there may be sporadic communication issues, power outages (maybe), and aurorae. If you’re on Google+, Camilla Corona SDO is the person to follow. She has updates and great links!

Credit: NASA/SDO/