April 8 2024, the Sun and the Moon did their peek a boo trick. People in North America could see the Moon sliding in front of the Sun catching a glimpse of the solar corona with their own eyes. We were there.

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Position of Solar Orbiter on 8 April 2024, with Solar Orbiter’s turns around the Sun shown in green

On 8 April 2024, a large part of the United States and Mexico will experience a total solar eclipse. Also at the STCE in Belgium, all eyes will be on the Sun. Three satellite instrument teams are preparing for unique, yet complementary, eclipse observations.

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Active region NOAA 13615 was one of the larger sunspot groups so far this solar cycle. During its transit, it produced 1 X-class flare and 43 M-class flares, the latter is an exceptionally high number.

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NOAA 3615 produced its first X-class flare late on 28 March. ***UPDATE: The associated CME has no earth-directed component.***

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A long-duration X1 flare was associated with the strongest proton event so far this solar cycle, as well as with an earth-directed full halo CME. UPDATE: The ICME arrived shortly after noon on 24 March, sparking a severe geomagnetic storm.

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Fundamental Research

The STCE does Fundamental Research.

Public Outreach

Open DoorsThe STCE does public outreach during the STCE Annual Meeting and the Open Doors of the Space Pole in Uccle.

One of the highlights of the Open Doors is always a visit to the Solar Dome. A small introductory presentation is first given in the corridor of the SIDC. Skilled observers and space weather forecasters explain in laymen terminology what sunspots are, how they are observed, why these observations are so important, and how solar eruptions affect us and our technology. Then, the small groups of 10-15 people are guided stairs towards the top of the solar dome. There, the various solar telescopes are shown and their specific applications are discussed. Weather permitting, the visitors can also make solar observations using a projected solar image from the white light solar telescope. During and after the visit, there is plenty of opportunity to ask questions to the guides.

 

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