End Times News Update
Sign: Signs in the Sun
Scripture: Luke 21:25
News Source: Christian Science Monitor
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Solar tsunami: Is the sun waking up?

Solar tsunami watchers say that the recent solar eruption could be a
sign that the sun is rousing from its relative dormancy.

By SPACE.com Staff / August 4, 2010

Skywatchers at high latitudes could be in for a spectacular treat of
northern lights, the aurora borealis, Tuesday and Wednesday: After a
relatively quiet stretch, it appears the sun is ramping up its
activity.

The sun’s surface erupted early Sunday, blasting tons of plasma
(ionized atoms) into space. These atoms are headed toward Earth and
could create a stunning light show in the process.

“This eruption is directed right at us and is expected to get here
early in the day on Aug. 4th,” said Leon Golub of the
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “It’s the first major
Earth-directed eruption in quite some time.”

The solar eruption, called a coronal mass ejection, was spotted by
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory , which captures high-definition
views of the sun at a variety of wavelengths. SDO was launched in
February and peers deep into the layers of the sun, investigating the
mysteries of its inner workings.

“We got a beautiful view of this eruption,” Golub said. “And there
might be more beautiful views to come if it triggers aurorae.”

Views of aurorae are usually associated with Canada and Alaska, but
even skywatchers in the northern U.S. mainland are being told they can
look toward the north Tuesday and Wednesday evenings for rippling
“curtains” of green and red light.

When a coronal mass ejection reaches Earth, solar particles stream
down our planet’s magnetic field lines toward the poles. In the
process, the particles collide with atoms of nitrogen and oxygen in
the Earth’s atmosphere, which then glow, creating an effect similar to
miniature neon signs.

The interaction of the solar particles with our planet’s magnetic
field has the potential to create geomagnetic storms, or disturbances
in Earth’s magnetosphere. And while aurorae are normally visible only
at high latitudes, they can light up the sky even at lower latitudes
during a geomagnetic storm.

The sun’s activity usually ebbs and flows on a fairly predictable
cycle. Typically, a cycle lasts about 11 years, taking roughly 5.5
years to move from a solar minimum, a period of time when there are
few sunspots, to peak at the solar maximum, during which sunspot
activity is amplified.

The last solar maximum occurred in 2001. The latest minimum was
particularly weak and long- lasting. The most recent solar eruption is
one of the first signs that the sun is waking up and heading toward
another maximum.

Source: CSM.com
URL:
http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2010/0804/Solar-tsunami-Is-the-sun-waking-up

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