Last week’s solar eruption and resulting radiation bombardment--the biggest recorded in seven years--made its presence felt here on Earth via altered flight paths for some planes in the Northern Hemisphere and a certain degree of hand-wringing over the health of satellites in the solar storm’s path. But it also made an impression far from Earth aboard the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, currently cruising the interplanetary space between Earth and Mars.
That gigantic solar flare that lashed out toward Earth on Saturday is "the geomagnetic storm that just won't go away," the NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) in Boulder, Colo., said via its Facebook page today. And that appears to be true. Active Region 1302, pictured above, continues to pummel earth with solar energy and could disrupt satellite communications as it continues turning toward us in the days to come.
Prepare to be astounded: the image on the right is in . . . three dimensions
Seven months after its launch, NASA's STEREO satellite has sent back 3-D images of the sun. The Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (guess STRO wasn't a cool enough acronym) charts the flow of matter and energy between Earth and the sun, and maps out things like solar storms and coronal mass ejections--actually useful for us, since these storms and CMEs will be used to better predict the next blackout-inducing maelstrom.So what's NASA been up to while its probe undertakes a two-year photo shoot? Well, it's been typing up the instructions on
how to make your own 3-D glasses. (Hint: it's exactly what you'd imagine.) —Abby SeiffRelated Links:Solar stormMake your own specsThe sun in 3-D