Coronal Mass Ejections & Their Effect on Earth – A Student Activity
You will need to go here to get the necessary data plots and images for this activity:
- Using the solar data, decide which of the CMEs shown are halo CMEs and therefore are directed towards the Earth – they do not need to be complete halos to effect the Earth – partial halos count too!
- There are tiny white dots on a number of the images that are just noise. However, those on the images for November 7, 1997 are something else – what do you think they are ?
- From the X-ray data, can you say which of the events has a flare associated with it?
- Categorize the flares – i.e. C-class, M-class etc.
- Which event has the largest flare?
- Using the solar wind magnetic field data – which of the events could be classed as magnetic clouds?
- Which one has the largest total field (Btotal) and which has the largest southward component (Bz negative)
- At roughly what time does each event arrive at Earth – look for any sudden increases in Btotal. Sometimes it is not possible to determine the time arrival accurately.
- Using the earliest time given on the solar plots (i.e. the first time the CME was seen leaving the Sun) work out how long it took the CME to travel from the Sun to the Earth.
- The Dst indices are given for the four months corresponding to the five Earthward-directed CMEs. What is the largest negative value reached?
- Do all of the events have active aurora? (There are no images for the April 10-11, 1997 event as the POLAR cameras were switched off). Can you estimate during which event the aurora moves the most equatorwards?
- The auroral images for November 7, 1997 (the November 4, 1997 CME) show an additional feature – what do you think is causing this?
Now go to the Real Time Monitoring Page
Using the links to the real time data, see if you can see any of the features of halo CMEs, flares, magnetic clouds, magnetic storms or bright auroral displays.
Page Author: Nicky Fox
Official NASA Contact: Mr. William Mish
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