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Amy Hubbard, of The LA Times reports Solar prominences erupt -- and the best is yet to come, describing the eruption on the sun of two enormous glowing red solar prominences that had been twisting for hundreds of thousands of mile into space on Friday.

NASA says the sun erupted twice on Friday within four hours.  The looping red plasma -- "a hot gas made of electrically charged hydrogen and helium," the space agency says -- was released in a dramatic double whammy of explosions.  The good news: The released material, known as a coronal mass ejection, did not appear directed at the Earth, experts said. ...

The sun follows a cycle of activity of about 11 years, and it hasn't yet reached the busiest part of that cycle -- although it's nearing.

Alex Young, NASA heliophysicist, told the Los Angeles Times in an earlier interview that we're still months, if not a year or more, away from "solar maximum."
"We ... expect to reach it toward the end of 2013 or into 2014," Young said. "We will continue to see active sunspot regions come and go but with the frequency and intensity slowly increasing. So there will be more to come."

While coronal mass ejections, (CMEs), in the direction of earth can disrupt radio, and satellite transmission, and if large enough cause dangerous electro-magnetic pulses that can damage power grids, this one is pointed well away from us so is not cause for alarm.  

As always, if you should experience a coronal mass ejection or prominence that lasts for more than four hours please call NASA right away. And, me too. That's something I'd like to see.

PS: BTW The embedded video above is from a similar solar prominence in April. To see what may be a more recent video, (that looks virtually the same to me), please visit the NASA website at the link below. I can not get their Iframe script to embed here for some mysterious reason.

For the more avid reader, please check out this link to a post I did last year  of a stereo view of the earth being engulfed by a mild coronal mass ejection from 2008 in stereo. NASA Releases Video of Solar Coronal Mass Ejection Engulfing Earth Viewed by Stereo Satellites.

Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 10:08 PM PT: Here's a 11 second animation to give you an overview of how this 2008 CME generated solar storm expanded towards earth, from a more distant angel.

4:13 PM PT: Perhaps you will not mind, too much, if I "pimp" an important post I wrote earlier today that seemed to get overlooked in the afternoon deluge. The new president of the World Bank just issued a report warning us that the expected 7 degree Fahrenheit rise in planetary temperature over the next century will be devastating for poorer countries.

World bank warns climate change will hit poorest regions hardest, but if we start getting our act together now we may be able to limit the temperature rise to just 3 degrees, and make wise preparations.

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