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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 13:06:37 EST
Subject: Record solar flare, lecture tonight

Hi all,

The Sun never ceases to amaze! On top of all the recent highly energetic 
activity, it has now just produced the most energetic solar flare EVER recorded!

Giant sunspot 486 unleashed another intense solar flare on Nov. 4th (1950
UT), and this one could be historic. The blast saturated X-ray sensors
onboard GOES satellites. The last time this happened, in April 2001, the
flare that saturated the sensors was classified as an X20--the biggest
ever recorded at the time. Yesterday's flare appears to have been even
stronger.

Because sunspot 486 is near the sun's western limb, the blast was not
directed much toward Earth. Nevertheless, our planet's magnetic field
might be hit by a coronal mass ejection on Nov. 5th or 6th. The impact
will be glancing, but even a glancing blow from such a powerful explosion
could stir geomagnetic storms. Sky watchers should be alert for auroras
during the nights ahead.

Just a final reminder: TONIGHT,  I.A.A. Lecture, 7.30 p.m., Stranmillis 
College, Stranmillis Road, Belfast: Robert Hill (Armagh Planetarium) "The Faulkes 
Telescope - A European Handle on the Universe". Admission Free, All welcome.

And don't forget the Total Lunar Eclipse on 8/9 November - more details soon.

Clear skies,

Terry Moseley



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