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I just saw the Weather Channel discussing "solar flares on Venus"... Not getting into the horrid scientific illiteracy of today's media, I finally managed to dig up a little info as to what it was they were actually talking about.

Could someone discuss what a "Hot Flow Anomaly" really is, how it works, and then if these is any way to see these? As I understand it, these happen in our magnetosphere, and I was wondering if they are ever visible.

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I'm no expert, but I have a passing interest in such things, here is my understanding of a HFA.

A 'Hot Flow Anomaly' (HFA) is a type of 'space weather outburst', these are quite common on Earth. HFA's basically cause a temporary reversal of the solar wind that usually moves past a planet. A HFA surge causes the material to flood backward.

HFA's can release so much energy that solar wind is totally deflected and can even be redirected back toward the Sun. If you consider that solar wind is supersonic (faster than the speed of sound), you can truly appreciate how much energy HFA's release being able to totally turn the solar wind around.

-EDIT- Link to diagram which shows the workings of a HFA:

http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/627070main_HFA-orig_full.jpg

Hope this helps //Ad

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