VIDEO: The X-class Solar Flare Explained



Solar flares are giant explosions on the sun that send energy, light and high speed particles into space. These flares are often associated with solar magnetic storms known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The number of solar flares increases approximately every 11 years, and the sun is currently moving towards another solar maximum, likely in 2013. That means more flares will be coming, some small and some big enough to send their radiation all the way to Earth.

The biggest flares are known as "X-class flares" based on a classification system that divides solar flares according to their strength. The smallest ones are A-class (near background levels), followed by B, C, M and X. Similar to the Richter scale for earthquakes, each letter represents a 10-fold increase in energy output. So an X is ten times an M and 100 times a C. Within each letter class there is a finer scale from 1 to 9.

533432main_102803-eit_195_0The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft captured this image of a solar flare as it erupted from the sun early on Tuesday, October 28, 2003. Image Credit: ESA & NASA/SOHO

C-class and smaller flares are too weak to noticeably affect Earth. M-class flares can cause brief radio blackouts at the poles and minor radiation storms that might endanger astronauts.

And then come the X-class flares. Although X is the last letter, there are flares more than 10 times the power of an X1, so X-class flares can go higher than 9. The most powerful flare measured with modern methods was in 2003, during the last solar maximum, and it was so powerful that it overloaded the sensors measuring it. The sensors cut out at X28.

The biggest X-class flares are by far the largest explosions in the solar system and are awesome to watch. Loops tens of times the size of Earth leap up off the sun's surface when the sun's magnetic fields cross over each other and reconnect. In the biggest events, this reconnection process can produce as much energy as a billion hydrogen bombs.

533440main_halloweenstorm2003-auroraThe Halloween solar storms of 2003 resulted in this aurora visible in Mt. Airy, Maryland.  Image Credit: NASA/George Varros 

If they're directed at Earth, such flares and associated CMEs can create long lasting radiation storms that can harm satellites, communications systems, and even ground-based technologies and power grids. X-class flares on December 5 and December 6, 2006, for example, triggered a CME that interfered with GPS signals being sent to ground-based receivers.

NASA and NOAA – as well as the US Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) and others -- keep a constant watch on the sun to monitor for X-class flares and their associated magnetic storms. With advance warning many satellites and spacecraft can be protected from the worst effects.

Images and Information Courtesy NASA

Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell


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Video Of The Day: Dust Devil Tosses Bounce House & Boy Into The Air!

A Children's Day celebration in Sao Paulo, Brazil went terribly wrong earlier this month. The event was in full swing when a dust devil spun up close by and then took aim at a large group of people. In the dramatic video below, you can see it toss around an inflatable bounce house with a 9-year-old boy inside! According to reports, the boy was injured but he is expected to recover. I am guessing these people won't hesitaint to take cover the next time they see one of these dust devils take shape. Watch this...

Weather Blog: Weather For The Weekend

From Jude Redfield...

    The weekend offers a serious warm up with highs in the 70s both days.  The one rain chance (VERY SMALL) is possible during the first part of Saturday as a cold front approaches. This chance looks to be around 10% (don't panic if you had a brief shower...it will be brief).  Expect a sun/cloud mix this weekend will enjoying a pleasnt breeze during the day. The forecasts below should have you covered for football games, camping, hunting, etc...    Be safe and enjoy it! -Jude-


SPC New Look






Big Warm Up to Give Way to Halloween Chill???

After a prolonged period of unseasonably cool conditions, upper level winds look to carry in a much warmer air mass as we go through the weekend and head into early next week.  

Forecast models are in good agreement with the placement of an upper high pressure that is currently located across the Southwestern US.  This high is forecasted to build towards the east over the weekend and looks to be located across the Southeastern US by early on Monday.

Jet stream2

The air mass underneath this system is expected to warm with morning lows in the 50's and highs warming thru the 70's over the weekend to near 80° on Monday!  

At temps

Unfortunately for most, however, our "Indian Summer" might be short lived though.  

The passage of a well advertised cold front late Tuesday and into Tuesday night will bring us a good chance of showers and storms and looks to be followed by cooler conditions into the middle of next week with highs limited to the 60's by Wednesday.  (For reference, mid 60's are considered average for this time of the year)

At temps4

OK, so what about Halloween?

Now, everything you have read until now should come as no big surprise as it has been forecasted for several days now and confidence is good on the major points mentioned above.  

Beyond this time frame we have some seriously large discrepancies.  By that I mean, there is considerable uncertainty on what to expect for Halloween.  

Over the last few days, models have flip flopped more than once on what may be coming our way late next week.   With that being said, a trend now appears to be developing within the main models.

The most recent run of the Euro and 3 of the last 4 runs of the GFS are now developing a very deep trough of low pressure over the Eastern US next Friday (Halloween).   

Jet stream

If this scenario does indeed pan out, then it would no doubt bring us a surge of very cold conditions, perhaps coldest we've seen yet.  

So how cold are we talking about?

The 12z run of the GFS paints a bone-chilling picture with evening temps in the 30's for the Trick-or-Treaters! 

At temps2

Factoring in wind, and it could feel even colder with current wind chill forecasts running in the 20's for Friday evening!  Brrr!!!

At temps3

Now, before you go and trade in your kids Elsa costume for an eskimo suit, know that we are still 8 days away from Halloween and as mentioned above, confidence is not that great for this part of the forecast.

However, considering so many people have outdoor plans next Friday evening, I thought now was a good time to give a heads up as to what may be brewing. 

We should know much more in the next couple of days.  Stay tuned!

Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell


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Throwback Thursday: Raining Spiders In Brazil...

One particular species of spiders in South America, Anelosimus eximius, can form colonies up to 50,000 strong. These "social spiders" engage in shared brood care and cooperate to capture prey within their web, which allows them to capture prey much larger than a single individual would be able to. Last year, a man in Brazil found a large group of Anelosimus eximius spiders dangling overhead and caught the whole thing on camera. Gusty winds may be responsible for destroying their massive web, causing spiders to fall form the sky. Many clung on to nearby power lines as you can see in the video below. I'm glad I was not there to experience this one...


Video Courtesy: Unamused Smiley





Weather Blog: Viewing The Eclipse Tonight

From Jude Redfield...

    A few clouds will be moving in this evening during the eclipse. We are holding out hope that they aren't going to be thick enough to block the viewing for everyone.  **Some of us might have mostly cloudy skies that are an issue. It will be a game time call**

    Check out the info below to see how to **SAFELY** view the eclipse.





How to Safely Watch the Oct. 23 Partial Solar Eclipse
October 21, 2014
A partial solar eclipse occurs when the moon obscures only part of the sun from Earth's view. Credit: T. Ruen
A partial solar eclipse occurs when the moon obscures only part of the sun from Earth's view.
Image Credit: 
T. Ruen

During the late afternoon of Oct. 23, 2014, a partial solar eclipse will be visible from much of North America before sundown.  Partial eclipses occur when the moon blocks part of the sun from view.

› Share your photos of the eclipse with NASA
› Images of previous solar eclipses: 2012 | 2013

Throughout history, total eclipses, in which the entire sun is blocked from view, have offered scientists the chance to see the faint light of the sun's atmosphere called the corona, without its being overwhelmed by the sun itself. Total eclipses provide views of that atmosphere, which we otherwise can only get with specialized telescopes – both in space and on the ground -- that block out the bright light of the sun.  As a partial eclipse, the Oct. 23 eclipse is of less scientific interest, but it still makes for a great view!

Animated GIF Override: 
On Oct. 23, 2014, a partial solar eclipse will be visible from much of North America before sundown.
During the late afternoon of Oct. 23, 2014, a partial solar eclipse will be visible from much of North America before sundown. However, it is never safe to look at the sun with the naked eye.
Image Credit: 
However, it is never safe to look at the sun with the naked eye.  Even during a partial eclipse, when only a very small part of the sun is visible, viewing it without eye protection risks permanent eye damage or blindness. Listed below are a few ways of safely watching the eclipse.  No matter which recommended technique you choose, do not stare continuously at the sun. Take breaks and give your eyes a rest.  And, remember, don't use regular sunglasses -- they don't offer your eyes sufficient protection.

1) Projection: The safest and most inexpensive way to watch a partial solar eclipse is by projection. Place a pinhole or small opening in a card, and hold it between the sun and a screen – giant sheet of white paper works – a few feet away. An image of the sun will be seen on the screen. Projected images of the sun's crescent during an eclipse may even be seen on the ground in the small openings created by interlacing fingers, or in the dappled sunlight beneath a leafy tree. You can also use binoculars to project a magnified image of the sun on a white card. However, you must never look through the binoculars at the sun.

2) Filters: The sun can be viewed directly only when using filters specifically designed for this purpose. Such filters usually have a thin layer of aluminum, chromium or silver deposited on their surfaces. One of the most widely available filters for safe eclipse viewing is a #14 (or darker) welder's glass. A welding glass that permits you to see the landscape is not safe. Aluminized mylar manufactured specifically for solar observation can also be used. Mylar can easily be cut with scissors and adapted to any kind of box or viewing device. Only use filters that you know have been approved for solar viewing. 

Unsafe filters include color film, some non-silver black and white film, medical x-ray films with images on them, smoked glass, photographic neutral density filters and polarizing filters. Solar filters designed to thread into eyepieces, which are often sold with inexpensive telescopes are also dangerous.

3) Telescopes with solar filters: There are sun-specific telescopes available for sale -- or perhaps through a local astronomy club -- that are also safe for viewing a partial eclipse.


A Frost Advisory Has Been Posted For Our Area!




-Rick DeLuca




Another X-Class Flare Produced By The Sun...

Region 2192 produced an X1 (R3 - Strong) flare at 10:28 EDT (1428 UTC) on October 22nd. Further analysis will be conducted to determine if there is a CME associated with this event as imagery comes in. This region has produced 7 M-class (R1/R2 - Minor/Moderate) flares in the past 48 hours as well as an X1 flare on October 19th. So far none of the CMEs associated with these events are expected to be geoeffective, however, forecasters will keep an eye out for both CME activity and solar radiation storm possibility as the region approaches center disk. Stay tuned for updates.


Video Courtesy: Solar Ham


-Rick DeLuca




Weather Blog: *Partial Solar Eclipse Tomorrow*

From Jude Redfield...

    A partial solar eclipse will occur just before sunset tomorrow. Click the link below to see a simulation of what our eclipse will look like.  A few clouds will be approaching around sunset, but they don't look to be thick enough to shut out our viewing. Fingers crossed on that!

Video Of What Our Eclipse Will Look Like


Eclipse Calculator – Eclipses in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.

Next eclipse visible in Louisville – October 23, 2014 — Partial Solar Eclipse

The animation shows what the eclipse approximately looks like in Louisville

During this partial solar eclipse, the Moon covers only parts of the Sun, as seen from Louisville. As the central part of the Moon's shadow (umbra) misses the Earth during a partial solar eclipse, there are no other locations on Earth where the Sun appears completely covered during this event.

More about the October 23, 2014 — Partial Solar Eclipse

Created with Raphaël 2.1.0

Local times for eclipse in Louisville on Thursday, October 23, 2014

Click on the Sun/Moon symbol in the “Looks like” column to see what the eclipse looks like during the different phases of the event.

EventTime in LouisvilleDirectionAltitudeLooks likeComments
Partial Eclipse begins Oct 23 at 5:48 PM 245°West-southwest 11.3° Eclipse as seen from earth The Moon touches the Sun's edge.
Maximum Eclipse Oct 23 at 6:50 PM 255°West-southwest 0.2° Eclipse as seen from earth Moon is closest to the center of the Sun.
Since the Sun is near the horizon at this time, we recommend going to a high point or finding an unobstructed area with free sight to West-southwest for the best view of the eclipse.
Sunset Oct 23 at 6:53 PM 256°West-southwest 0.2° below Not directly visible Below horizon
Partial Eclipse ends Oct 23 at 7:46 PM 256°West-southwest 0.2° below Not directly visible Below horizon

This eclipse is in progress during sunrise or sunset, so the Sun is displayed only partly in some phases, according to its altitude below the horizon. The animation's bottom edge represents an ideal, flat horizon, which is at the same altitude as the observer.

Times are local for Louisville (EDT - Eastern Daylight Time).

Other eclipses visible in Louisville

Dates (Click link for path info)EclipseType at maxVisibility in LouisvilleLooks like in LouisvillePath of the eclipse
Oct 23, 2014 Solar Partial Partial Eclipse as seen from earth
Apr 4, 2015 Lunar Partial Partial Eclipse as seen from earth
Sep 27 / Sep 28, 2015 Lunar Total Total Eclipse as seen from earth
Mar 23, 2016 Lunar Penumbral Penumbral Eclipse as seen from earth
Feb 10, 2017 Lunar Penumbral Penumbral Eclipse as seen from earth
Aug 21, 2017 Solar Total Partial Eclipse as seen from earth
Jan 31, 2018 Lunar Total Partial Eclipse as seen from earth
Jan 20 / Jan 21, 2019 Lunar Total Total Eclipse as seen from earth
Jul 4 / Jul 5, 2020 Lunar Penumbral Penumbral Eclipse as seen from earth
Nov 30, 2020 Lunar Penumbral Penumbral Eclipse as seen from earth
May 26, 2021 Lunar Partial Partial Eclipse as seen from earth
Jun 10, 2021 Solar Annular Partial Eclipse as seen from earth
Nov 19, 2021 Lunar Partial Partial Eclipse as seen from earth
May 15 / May 16, 2022 Lunar Total Total Eclipse as seen from earth
Nov 8, 2022 Lunar Total Total Eclipse as seen from earth
Oct 14, 2023 Solar Annular Partial Eclipse as seen from earth
Mar 25, 2024 Lunar Penumbral Penumbral Eclipse as seen from earth
Apr 8, 2024 Solar Total Partial Eclipse as seen from earth
Sep 17 / Sep 18, 2024 Lunar Partial Partial Eclipse as seen from earth  


Snow Lovers Will Be Excited To See What Kind Of Winter The Persimmon Seeds Indicate...

In the last 2 months, the persimmon seeds have been locked in on a winter forecast based on the folklore. The persimmon seeds have been used to forecast how cold and snowy the upcoming winter will be for a long time! Many people would put the persimmon seeds and the woolly worms at the top of the winter weather forecasting folklore. In fact, the Farmer's Almanac even makes a statement about the forecasting power of the Persimmon seed...


"According to old-timers, persimmon seeds can be used to predict the severity of winter weather. When cut into two pieces, the persimmon seed will display on of three symbols. A knife shape will indicate a cold icy winter (where wind will cut through you like a knife). A fork shape indicates a mild winter. A spoon shape stands for a shovel to dig out the snow."


Persimmon Seeds From This Year...


Over the last couple of months I have started getting pictures of the persimmon seeds and the consistency is pretty impressive.. This picture was sent to me by Christy Rogers in Brandenburg about a month ago and her persimmon seeds clearly have a spoon shape.


Facebook pic 2


Brooke Rice Lang sent me this picture of her persimmon seeds in her area about a month ago. Notice there are also two spoons in her photo also indicating a snowy winter.


Facebook pic 2


Gina Foster sent me this picture of her persimmon seeds before and after opening them. Notice all show the infamous spoon with a fork in one as well.


Facebook pic 2


Matt Johnson sent me these persimmon seeds today from Otter Creek and every single one is a spoon.


Facebook 2 pic


Finally, Tammy Cook sent me this picture of her persimmon seeds from Mt. Washington today and you see the spoon yet again.


AdvanceTrak 1


So what does that say about our winter? The spoon shape indicates a snowy winter and right now that is all I have seen from our area. For what it is worth, we saw mainly knives and spoons last year which would indicate a cold and snowy winter which is what we had.


My Thoughts On These Weather Folklore...


As with all folklore, I think people will have different opinions. The real problem is that different areas seem to be showing different shapes in Persimmon seeds. I think this is one of those situations where you can probably bend the folklore to meet the actual winter conditions, so I have to say I am not a big believer. Regardless, some love weather folklore so I thought it was worth a discussion tonight.





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