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2012/06/02

A Rare Type of Solar Storm Spotted by Satellite

A Rare Type of Solar Storm Spotted by Satellite:

Artist's impression of solar cosmic rays striking Earth's atmosphere (Simon Swordy/University of Chicago, NASA)
When a moderate-sized M-class flare erupted from the Sun on May 17, it sent out a barrage of high-energy solar particles that belied its initial intensity. These particles traveled at nearly the speed of light, crossing the 93 million miles between the Sun and Earth in a mere 20 minutes and impacting our atmosphere, causing cascades of neutrons to reach the ground — a rare event known as a ground level enhancement, or GLE.
The first such event since 2006, the GLE was recorded by a joint Russian/Italian spacecraft called PAMELA and is an indicator that the peak of solar maximum is on the way.
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© Jason Major for Universe Today, 2012. | Permalink | 12 comments |
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