NASA Discovery: Fiery Sunspots Captured On Sun’s Atmosphere Like Never Before [PHOTOS]

NASA Discovery: Fiery Sunspots Captured On Sun’s Atmosphere Like Never Before [PHOTOS]

Aug 07, 2013 09:58 AM EDT    | Jessica Passananti
A dynamic swirling mass of plasma is seen spinning above the Sun’s surface for over 36 hours on June 16 – 17, 2013, in this handout image provided by NASA. The mass was accompanied by two smaller prominences, which was also being pushed and pulled around by magnetic forces, according to NASA. (Photo : REUTERS/NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory/Handout via Reuters )

Big Bear Solar Observatory’s new Solar telescope captured unseen features of solar magnetism in the sun’s photosphere and chromosphere.

According to IB Times, the detailed photographs will help researchers learn more about solar activity that could affect Earth and the satellites orbiting the planet.

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Researchers using the BBSO, Big Bear Solar Observatory, observed thin magnetic loops on the sun’s photosphere, or first atmospheric layer. This image marks the most precise photo of a sunspot ever recorded.

The sunspot photo shows the sun’s umbra, or central core, and the surrounding penumbra, which is lighter in color. The image brings several features to light, including umbra dots, the core point in the umbra, as well as movement and patterns throughout the Sun’s atmosphere.

The NST will soon be upgraded to eliminate any atmospheric distortion, thanks to the solar multi-conjugate adaptive optics system, which will be able to observe the sun in near-infrared light.

Click here to see the detailed photos of the Sun’s atmosphere.

August 9th, 2013 | Posted by

Muslim Brotherhood switches its focus from Egypt to Syria

Special to

CAIRO — Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, ousted from power by the
military, has intensified its participation in the Sunni revolt in Syria.

Islamist sources said the Brotherhood has been recruiting what could
result in thousands of new fighters to battle the regime of Syrian President
Bashar Assad.

A Syrian rebel fighter fires from a truck during clashes with forces loyal to the regime in the eastern Syrian town of Deir Ezzor on Aug. 1.  /Ahmad Aboud photo

A Syrian rebel fires from a truck during clashes with Assad regime forces in the eastern town of Deir Ezzor on Aug. 1. /Ahmad Aboud photo

The sources said the Brotherhood was receiving funds from Saudi Arabia to bolster the embattled rebel movement amid the offensive by the Assad regime.

“There are literally tens of thousands of trained Brotherhood fighters who might prefer to receive handsome salaries to fight Assad in Syria rather
than the military in Egypt,” a source said.

Under the year-long regime of Egypt’s first Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, most of the Brotherhood fighters stayed home in expectation of jobs in the government and security forces. But after Morsi was overthrown on July 3, many fighters traveled to the Sinai Peninsula and other locations for insurgency operations that included Al Qaida-aligned forces.

The Brotherhood already has been coordinating with units in Hama,
regarded as the main stronghold of the Islamist movement. The sources said
Hama was used to store weapons and equipment allocated to an
expected rebel offensive later in 2013.

The sources said Brotherhood fighters were being recruited to join
the Free Syrian Army. They said a Saudi priority was to bolster FSA amid the
domination of the rebel war by Al Qaida-aligned militias, including Al Nusra
Front for the Defense of the Levant and the Islamic State of Iraq and

An opposition figure, Mulham Droubi, said the Brotherhood established
units in Syria in May 2013. Droubi, a member of the Syrian National Council,
said he welcomed Brotherhood recruitment and operations against Assad.

“The formation of a military organization is on the agenda,” Droubi
said. “But this group will not clash with the jihadists who are fighting
the Syrian regime.”

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August 9th, 2013 | Posted by

Jordan concerned Brotherhood is undermining relations with Egypt

Special to

AMMAN — Jordan, in wake of the ouster of Egypt’s first Islamist
president, has been considering its own crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sources said King Abdullah determined that the opposition,
particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, was seeking to undermine Jordan’s
rapproachement with Egypt’s new military-backed regime.

Egyptian President Adly Mansour, right, greets Jordan's King Abdullah II on his arrival to the presidential palace in Cairo on July 20.  /AP/Egyptian Presidency

Egyptian President Adly Mansour, right, greets Jordan’s King Abdullah at the presidential palace in Cairo on July 20. /AP/Egyptian Presidency

“The king does not want the opposition to foment massive pro-Egyptian rallies throughout Jordan that would directly threaten the government,” a source said.

The sources said Abdullah and his aides have become alarmed by the opposition solidarity with Morsi and the Egyptian Brotherhood. They cited opposition criticism of Abdullah’s visit to Cairo on July 20 to discuss military and strategic ties.

The Islamist opposition has also staged protests against the arrest of Brotherhood operatives in Jordan. One such demonstration took place in downtown Amman and included what the sources termed “unacceptable criticism” against the king.

“Jordan cannot afford or tolerate such behavior, particularly in this
time of national security threats,” the source said.

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Hamas supplied Sinai terrorists with Iran-made Fajr-5 missiles for foiled attack on Eilat
DEBKAfile Special Report August 10, 2013, 10:15 AM (IDT)
Iran-made Fajr-5 missiles in Sinai

Iran-made Fajr-5 missiles in Sinai

The missile launcher destroyed by two rockets fired by an Israeli drone at Ajarah in North Sinai Friday, Aug. 9 was capable of firing 4 heavy Iranian-made M-75 missiles known as Fajr-5, which Hamas possesses, but not Sinai Salafists

Its 75-kilometer range covers Tel Aviv from Gaza Strip or Eilat from inland Sinai. The five terrorists killed in the drone strike were prevented from launching these rockets against Eilat airport Thursday by a tip-off from Egyptian intelligence to Israel. The Fajr-5 proved its high accuracy by leveling a building in the central Israeli town of Rishon Lezion on Nov. 20,  2012.

Since then, Hamas has upgraded the Fajar-5’s performance with an integrated radar system. It is carried by an Iranian made vehicle. debkafile’s military sources have not yet established whether Hamas handed the Iranian weapon over to the Salafist Bedouin acting in concert with al Qaeda in Sinai before the Egyptian army placed the Gaza Strip under siege in early July, or smuggled it across more recently. Even though Egyptian forces destroyed many of the Sinai-Gaza smuggling tunnels ahead of their counter-terror operation in Sinai, they may have missed a couple.

The Iranian rocket, which is 10 meters long, 333mm diameter and weighs 9 tons, is based on a 302mm Chinese rocket sold to Tehran in the 1990s and reproduced as Fajr-5. To move it through the smuggling tunnels, the missile would have had to be broken down into 8-10 sections and then reassembled at the other end, a function only Hamas is qualified to perform. It is also possible that a terrorist cell managed to infiltrate Sinai in recent days and collected the Fajr missile system from Hamas, which is trained in its operation..

Neither Egypt nor Israel has provided any clues to the identities of the five dead terrorists.

In either case, Hamas cooperation was clearly forthcoming. That the Palestinian terrorist group ruling the Gaza Strip is supplying advanced weapons to Sinai Salafists is a strategic development of the highest order indicating its resolve to fight the military regime headed by Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisis in Cairo and an emerging coalition between Hamas, al Qaeda in Sinai, the Muslim Brotherhood ousted from power in Egypt and Iran.
Two years ago, Israel refrained from pointing the finger at Teheran when missiles made in Iran and supplied to terrorists were first launched against Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Rishon Lezion. Israel remains silent when they are pointed at Eilat.
debkafile reported Friday:

Intelligence sharing and military cooperation between Egypt and Israel foiled a terrorist missile attack from Sinai on Eilat Thursday, Aug. 8, say foreign sources. Egyptian security officials reported that an Israeli drone fired a missile in the northern Sinai peninsula, killing five Islamic militants and destroying one or more launchers. Egyptian military helicopters circled over head. The launcher, said the officials, was rigged for firing at targets in Israel from the vicinity of Egyptian Rafah in northern Sinai.

Eilat has come under rocket fire from Sinai in the past.

The Israeli military has refused to comment on the report. debkafile’s military sources note that it is not absolutely clear that the Israeli air force was responsible for the attack on the terrorists’ missile squad. It may have been an Egyptian operation in the course of its counter-terrorism campaign ongoing in Sinai and the Egyptian command preferred not to admit it took place on the Muslim Eid al Fitr festival.

According to those sources, six  terrorists were killed, not five as reported.

The Israeli military has refused to comment on the incident. debkafile’s military sources say it is not absolutely clear that the Israeli air force was responsible for the missile attack on the terrorists’ missile squad. It may have been an Egyptian operation in the course of its counter-terrorism campaign ongoing in Sinai, to which the Egyptian command preferred not to own up because it occurred on the Eid al Fitr festival.

According to those sources, six terrorists were killed, not five as reported, at a point south of Egyptian Rafah not from the Egyptian-Gazan border. The terrorist group was apparently in flight from a part of the Egyptian-Israeli border opposite Eilat from where they had planned to strike Israel’s southernmost airport Thursday night. Their route 230 km north toward the Gaza border indicated they planned to cross over and reach safety in the Palestinian Hamas-ruled enclave.
debkafile’s military sources report further that the military-intelligence cooperation in force between Israel and Egypt in the war against Salafist, al Qaeda and Hamas jihadis broke surface Friday when an Egyptian security official told The Associated Press that intelligence, suggesting terrorists planned to fire missiles Friday at Israel as well as locations in northern Sinai and the Suez Canal, was passed by Egypt to Israel. Eilat airport was closed for two hours Thursday night in response to the tip-off. The official also said that Egyptian authorities planned to start air patrols Thursday night over the Naqab desert in the Egyptian Sinai, where Islamist terrorists have hideouts.

Egyptian airports in the Sinai operated normally into Thursday night despite the warning, including those in the resort cities of Sharm el-Sheikh and Taba, said Gad el-Karim Nasr, the head of state-owned Egyptian Airports Co. Taba is only 10 kilometers from Eilat.


The Social Climber: Sinkhole Leaves Kansas Residents on Edge

By ABC News
Aug. 4, 2013
A large sinkhole has opened in a pasture in Sharon Springs, Kansas.
Sinkhole Leaves Kansas Residents on Edge

A sinkhole that appeared in a small Kansas community has left residents wondering how it got there.

The sinkhole, which is located in a remote area of Sharon Springs, stretches to 200 feet across and 90 feet deep.

Officials are still insure what caused the sinkhole, which is described as looking like a small canyon and appears to be getting bigger.

The landowner and local authorities are telling people not to go see it due to the potential danger.

Sinkholes Around the World: See the Photos

Giant sinkhole amazes small Kansas town

August 02, 2013|by Jim Grawe | KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
Wallace County Sheriff’s Department

(WALLACE COUNTY, Kan.) — Residents in a small western Kansas community say they can’t believe their eyes. Something unexplainable happened that’s left people in awe and a little on edge.

At first it was something those living in Wallace County only heard about.  Then they saw the pictures.

“I thought it was just crazy," said David Baily.

So crazy, it’s caused people to flock to a remote area north of Sharon Springs to see for themselves whether the pictures are real.

“How can this happen? What happened to what was below?" wondered Virgil Fischer.

A few days ago, the earth opened up and left a giant sinkhole in the middle of Dalton Hoss’ pasture.

“Actually, my brother found it.  He called me up and his voice was quaking and he said, ‘You’ll never believe what I just saw,'" Hoss said.

What he saw was huge.  The sinkhole is 200 feet across and 90 feet deep.  People are amazed by the size of the hole that seemed to show up overnight.

“I’d seen pictures and I knew it was deep, but I didn’t think it was this deep. You get out here and you get a whole different perspective on how deep it is," said Gavin Mote.

You really can’t get a good sense of the size and scope unless you walk up close to it.  And just how safe that is remains a question. There are large cracks right next to the sinkhole.  Sheriff Larry Townsend said it appears to be getting bigger and he doesn’t know what’s going to stop it.

“Man had nothing to do with this.  This is a God thing.  There’s no oil well around here, there are no irrigation wells anywhere near.  This is something that just happened," Sheriff Townsend said.

And it’s something that’s left people in awe, wondering just how solid the ground is where they are walking.  That’s why both the landowner and sheriff don’t want people to go out and see it, because of the potential danger.


NASA Confirms Flipping of Sun Soon

Submitted by Neelesh Raghuwanshi on Thu, 08/08/2013 – 12:38

NASA Confirms Flipping of Sun SoonAccording to the statements recently coming from the NASA experts, the sun will soon start to flip its magnetic field. The experts explain that the solar body is gearing up for the major solar flip soon.

Above are the conclusions drawn from the new observations made by NASA-supported observatories. In their explanations upon the issue, the scientists have cleared that flipping is an event that takes place after every 11 years.

It is a procedure of months during which the magnetic field of the sun changes its polarity thereby marking the peak of the star’s 11-year solar cycle. Also, it is called as the halfway point in the sun’s “solar maximum".

A new video has also been released by NASA describing minutely about the sun’s magnetic flip.

“It looks like we’re no more than three to four months away from a complete field reversal," Mr. Todd Hoeksema, the director of Stanford University’s Wilcox Solar Observatory, said in a statement. “This change will have ripple effects throughout the solar system," he added.

NASA officials have also talked about occurrence of some stormy space weather around our planet Earth, which they said will occur as a result of the shifts in the field.

Egypt Military ‘Split’ Over Morsi

Saturday, 10 August 2013 18:21 Hisham Allam 0 Comments

CAIRO, Aug 10 (IPS)  – Divisions are opening up within the Egyptian military over the controversial takeover from the ousted government of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi, a senior party leader says.“It is clear that there is disagreement within the armed forces, whose members have begun to realise the mistakes of Gen. Abdelfattah el-Sisi,” Dr Hamza Zoba’a, senior spokesperson for the Alhuria wal Adala (Freedom and Justice) party formed from the Muslim Brotherhood told IPS.

“El-Sisi seems to be losing support of his military partners as a result of his misconduct.”

Zoba’a says the army sits across a red line and should not be dragged into politics. “We do not wish to see a split within the army but we are sure that we will regain our rights.”

Party supporters will press for their rights peacefully, he said. “If the coup leaders want to kill more of us, we will not mind at all.” But while protesting peacefully, Zoba’a said, “the crimes against unarmed protesters who rejected the military coup will not be tolerated.”

Bloody clashes have become a daily scene in Egypt. Alhuria wal Adala members see themselves as victims of political genocide. “We are suffering from persecution now more than the blacks of America in the past,” Zoba’a said.

Alhuria wal Adala have meanwhile backed two political offers made to the military.

The first was launched by former prime minister Hisham Qandil proposing release of Morsi on one side, and an end to demonstrations on the other. The second was a five-step plan presented by Islamist thinker and former presidential candidate Mohamed Selim El-Awa.

The first of these steps would be for Morsi to delegate powers to a new interim cabinet. This would hold parliamentary elections within the following 60 days, leading to a proper cabinet. The fourth step would be a presidential election and finally then a review of the constitution.

The Brotherhood claims come across a deep political divide. Other leaders deny a split within the army, and see the change as a step towards democracy that would take Egypt past what were emerging as Morsi’s increasingly autocratic ways. “The Egyptian people rescued themselves at the proper time,” Abdel Ghaffar Shukr, head of the Socialist People’s Alliance Party tells IPS.

The solution to the crisis, he says, lies in implementation of the roadmap announced by the army, with a new constitution eliminating the articles that would turn Egypt into a religious state. “The Muslim Brotherhood should recognise the fait accompli. They isolate themselves and refuse to sit at the negotiations table and reconciliation sessions, then complain to the west of persecution.”

The Muslim Brotherhood, Shukr said, was “sacrificing their supporters” in armed clashes to gain the sympathy of the West. Party members are also attacking military installations and cutting off roads, he said.

“The spectre of civil war is not far from Egypt. If the security vacuum in Sinai is not handled wisely and quickly, terrorism hotbeds and Jihadists would move to Cairo, which would lead to infighting and public division.”

Human rights activist Amr Hamzawy says the Muslim Brotherhood failed to bring the transition to democracy in its year in power. It sought to control the state and to dominate political life, he said. “The Muslim Brotherhood group must move completely away from political action.”

The Brotherhood and its allies to the religious right were condemning human rights violations against them, but refusing to apologise for violations from their side. “They must submit the instigators of such violence to trial. It is the only way to make people trust their intentions.”

On the other hand, he said, the liberal parties were now turning a blind eye to human rights abuses against supporters of the ousted president. “Liberals seem tight-lipped in front of the fascist exclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood. The double standards of these political powers are now exposed. Liberals must restore their belief in democracy and cease immediately the absolute support of the army, so long as the Muslim Brotherhood leaders can acknowledge their mistakes.”

Giant Sinkhole Draws Visitors to Western Kansas

August 8, 2013

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The sinkhole in a Kansas field estimated to be 90 feet deep and 200-300 feet wide. (Wallace County Sheriff’s Department)

SHARON SPRINGS, Kan. — A sinkhole estimated to be about 90 feet deep in western Kansas is drawing so many onlookers that the landowner is pleading for people to stay away.

The sinkhole, which is 200 to 300 feet wide, was discovered July 31 in a pasture several miles north of Sharon Springs on land owned by 82-year-old Margaret Hoss and her family.

It occurred naturally and does not appear to be the result of groundwater depletion or oil or gas drilling, said Rex Buchanan, interim director of the Kansas Geological Survey.

After the sinkhole was publicized, people drove to see it, often ignoring signs to stay off the private pasture, which prompted the Hoss family to erect barricades Monday, The Salina Journal reported. Hoss said she is concerned the traffic will damage fragile grass needed for cattle to forage.

“I’d appreciate some privacy. We’re not running a popularity contest," said Hoss, who said added that state and national media coverage of the sinkhole had made “our life a livin’ hell out here."

(MORE: Memorable Florida Sinkholes | Bridge Destroyed by Tornado Lures Tourists)

Wallace County Sheriff Larry Townsend said he was concerned the visitors could be endangered if the sinkhole suddenly grows.

“The soil tries to level itself. It’s kind of a dangerous place to be gawking around," Townsend said.

Sinkholes occur when soil over an open void caves in. The voids are formed when underground water dissolves rock formations, “in this case probably limestone," Buchanan said.

The hole has a steep face that over time will develop more of a “saucer shape," Buchanan said. He also advises gawkers not approach the sinkhole.

“The best thing you can do with these things is fence them off and walk away," Buchanan said. “There’s nothing good about going down in that thing or getting close to it."

Information from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal,

MORE: Sinkholes Wreak Havoc in Cities Around the World

1 / 29

Workers prepare to pull vehicles from a sinkhole that opened up on a residential street in the South Deering neighborhood on April 18,

Massive Sinkhole Opens Up in Western Kansas Swallowing Pasture and Leaving Residents on Edge [VIDEO]

First Posted: Aug 05, 2013 06:01 AM EDT
Sinkhole Opened Up in Western Kansas

Massive 200 Feet Sinkhole Opened Up in Western Kansas Swallowing Pasture and Leaving Residents on Edge (Photo : YouTube Screenshot)

A massive sinkhole, measuring 200 feet across and 90 feet deep, opened up overnight in Wallace County and it is still continuing to grow. The hole that lies in the middle of resident Dalton Hoss’s lands has engulfed a whole pasture.

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The residents have been asked to avoid the area as the sinkhole has huge cracks at the edges and it is expected to grow bigger in the days to come. The locals are baffled as there is no immediate explanation available.

Sheriff Larry Townsend is clueless about the safety of the area but is certain that the sinkhole may get larger. He also said that it was not caused by any large scale construction activity.

“Man had nothing to do with this," the sheriff stated. “There’s no oil well around here, there are no irrigation wells anywhere near. This is something that just happened."

There are several natural factors that can cause sinkholes, thus not triggered by human activity.

The sinkhole is attracting curious visitors. Some are even hiking down into the hole. But the authorities have prohibited such activities for fear of accidents. Fortunately, the sinkhole did not swallow up any one.

Sinkholes have made headlines recently around the world. In March 2013, a sinkhole 20 feet to 30 feet across and 30 feet deep swallowed a Florida man that opened up beneath the bedroom in his Tampa home. Last month in Ohio, a woman’s car was gobbled in by a sinkhole as she was driving in Toledo. Luckily this lady managed to escape.


Space Weather and the Data Center: The Risk from Solar Storms

  • By: Jason Verge
    August 9th, 2013
  • inShare43


Solar flares are a potential threat to critical infrastructure, according to NASA scientists. who say the sun’s vast magnetic field is about to flip, an event that creates an elevated risk of solar activity and “space weather.” A concern for data center providers is the potential for solar storms, which can wreak havoc on infrastructure.

The sun changes polarity approximately every 11 years. The coming reversal marks the midpoint of solar cycle 24.The sun’s north pole has already changed, while the south is racing to catch up. This means we’re in a more active phase of the solar cycle.

While the chances of a direct hit from a solar flare are small, it’s something data center managers should be preparing for, according to Eric Gallant, consultant energy management services for Schneider Electric.

“Have an operational posture that you can shift to in the event of a solar storm,” said Gallant. “Have a plan for what you’re going to do with personnel and communications.”

Individual Events Merit Attention

The upcoming solar maximum may see a record low in the overall activity, but individual events could be very powerful. The worst-case scenario is a storm of historic proportions, similar to the “Carrington event,” a major 19th century solar weather event on a scale that could wreak havoc with modern infrastructure.

The biggest fear is what might happen to the electrical grid during these events. Power surges caused by solar particles could blow out giant transformers. The eastern half of the U.S. is particularly vulnerable, because power infrastructure is highly interconnected, potentially leading to cascading failures.

The poles of the sun are tracked just like the poles of the earth, and this heralds in change. This will be the fourth grand reversal since Magnetograms at Wilcox Solar Observatory began tracking the sun’s polar magnetism in 1976.

The sun’s magnetic influence (also known as the “heliosphere”) extends billions of kilometers beyond Pluto. The current “sheet,” the sun’s rotating magnetic field, induces an electrical current. The current itself is small, only 1 billionth of an amp per square meter, but there’s a ton of it. The amperage flows through a region 10,000 kilometers thick and billions of kilometers wide. The entire heliosphere is organized around this enormous sheet. During these field reversals, that sheet becomes very wavy. This sheet is crazy.

As earth orbits, it dips in and out of the sheet. The transitions in and out can cause stormy space weather. It also affects cosmic rays, which are primarily danger to astronauts and space probes, but some researchers say might affect the cloud concentration and climate of Earth.

The real threat is solar flares and coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. A CME is a slower moving cloud of charged particles that can take several days to reach Earth’s atmosphere. When a CME hits, the solar particles can interact with Earth’s magnetic field to produce powerful electromagnetic fluctuations.

The Carrington Event

If a storm similar to the Carrington event were to occur today, it would be mayhem. The Carrington event occurred in 1859, during the largest solar storm on record. The solar maximum was about the same size as the one we’re entering, according to NASA. The northern lights were reported as far south as Cuba and Honolulu, while southern lights were seen as far north as Santiago, Chile. People in the northeastern US could read newspaper print from the light of the Aurora. Telegraph operators reported sparks leaping from their equipment.

“The EPA and congress looked into what would happen if a solar flare of that magnitude would strike us now,” said Gallant. “We rely on those systems a lot more. They were talking about blackouts that last months, trillions of dollars lost, and 10s of thousands of lives lost.  The chances are not huge, but they are as high as they’re going to be.”

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Jason Verge is an Editor/Industry Analyst on the Data Center Knowledge team with a strong background in the data center and Web hosting industries. In the past he’s covered all things Internet Infrastructure, including cloud (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS), mass market hosting, managed hosting, enterprise IT spending trends and M&A. He writes about a range of topics at DCK, with an emphasis on cloud hosting.



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