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Archive for August 24, 2011

Shape-shifting sunspot 1271 harbors energy for M-class solar flares

August 24, 2011 Comments off

thewatchers.adorraeli.com

Every time you look, sunspot 1271 has a new outline. For the past two days the active region has been in a constant state of change, altering its shape on an hourly basis. Click on the image for 48 hours of shape-shifting:

These rapid changes have caused the sunspot’s magnetic field to criss-cross and tangle. The magnetic field now has a “beta-gamma” configuration that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Any such flares today would be approximately Read more…

The Growing Threat From China’s Air Force

August 24, 2011 Comments off

wsj

By MICHAEL AUSLIN

Two advanced Su-27 fighters recently chased an American reconnaissance plane over the Taiwan Strait.

China watchers have been fixated on the maiden voyage of Beijing’s first aircraft carrier this month. However, U.S. and Asian defense planners should take care not to ignore another aspect of China’s growing military might. The Chinese Air Force may one day play the most significant role in challenging America’s military presence in the Asia-Pacific. At the same time, looming cuts to the U.S. Air Force may wind up reducing its ability to protect American interests.

As the U.S. Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center put it in a report last year, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, or Plaaf, has been “transforming itself from a poorly equipped and trained organization into an increasingly capable fighting force. Dramatic changes have occurred, and continue to occur, in the areas of mission, organizational structure, personnel, education, training, and equipment.”

Today, the Plaaf remains Read more…