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A gorgeous filament eruption


On February 24, 2015, around 10:00UT, the Sun put on quite a show with a gorgeous filament eruption. PROBA2 was on the outlook, and its EUV camera (SWAP) recorded a magnificent movie of the event.

An icy visitor from outer space


After the M2 flare on 9 February, the Sun decided to take a break, with only low-level C-class flares during the subsequent two weeks. In fact, for 5 consecutive days (from 13 till 17 February), not even a C-class flare was registered, as can be seen in graph underneath.

DSCOVR and IXV


It's a good day when, within the space of 10 hours, two satellites successfully get launched. That's indeed what happened on 11 February when first, at 13:40UT, the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) lifted off with a Vega rocket from French Guyana. This was quickly followed by the launch of the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), lifting off at 23:03UT with a Falcon rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

A loooong filament


A movie of the transit of the filament and its almost eruption on 04 February 2015 in both H-alpha and EUV is available here.

Leaving on a jet


A comet’s tale


Over the last few weeks, sky gazers have been enjoying a relatively bright and colorful comet in the northern skies. Comet Lovejoy, named after its discoverer Terry Lovejoy (Australia), has been the source of many beautiful pictures that can be admired on the web (see e.g. Spaceweather.com comet gallery).

Lovely curves


During the morning hours of 13 January, a rather strong M-class flare took place in active region NOAA 2257, close to the northwest limb. This sunspot group seemed deceptively simple, but harboured some opposite magnetic polarity spots close to each other. That's a configuration that often results in a flare.

The curious case of a strong storm


On 7 January, a strong geomagnetic storm (Kp=7; see the NOAA scales) was observed. The solar wind magnetic field turned southward with maximum values of -21 nT, which is even a bit stronger than the 12 September storm from last year (-18 nT; see this news item).

Fireworks in the sky!


Well, maybe it was a bit late to spectacularly launch the New Year, but at least in the northern part of the Netherlands some faint but colorful polar light could be seen low above the northern horizon on 4 January around 18:00UT. The aurora didn't last long, barely 10 minutes, but Vincent van Leijen still managed to snap this great picture.

The best of ... 2014!


In its New Year's letter for 2014, the Sun promised great solar activity to come. True to its word, sunspot numbers reached a new monthly high in February 2014, probably indicating the maximum of the ongoing solar cycle. Throughout the year, this increased sunspot activity was accompanied by plenty of strong flares, big sunspot groups and geomagnetic unrest.

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