Geomagnetic storms due to coronal mass ejections (CMEs) earlier in the week have increased in strength, and are now rated a G3 on a scale from G1 to G5.
This space weather is due to the March 7 activity from the sun that caused rapid changes to the shape of Earth’s magnetosphere – the bubble of protective magnetic fields surrounding the planet — resulting in a geomagnetic storm. As of March 8, the storm was fairly mild since the magnetic fields from the CMEs were partially aligned with Earth’s own and thus slid around the magnetosphere. However, the geomagnetic storm has increased because the magnetic fields of the CMEs have now changed direction such that they can more easily deposit magnetic energy and radiation into Earth’s environment.
Big sunspot AR1429 has unleashed another major flare–an X5-class eruption on March 7th at 00:28 UT. As a result of the blast, a radiation storm is underway and a CME will likely hit Earth’s magnetic field in a day or so. Geomagnetic storms are already in progress at high latitudes due to earlier eruptions from the active sunspot. Last night, auroras were spotted over several northern-tier US states including Michigan and Wisconsin. Check http://spaceweather.com for updates and images.
GEOMAGNETIC STORM UPDATE: A CME propelled toward Earth by this morning’s X5-class solar flare is expected to reach our planet on March 8th at 0625 UT (+/- 7 hr). Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, who prepared the CME’s forecast track, say the impact could spark a strong-to-severe geomagnetic storm. Sky watchers at all latitudes should be alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text,phone.
A mild geomagnetic storm is already underway, following a lesser CME impact on March 7th around 0400 UT. Shortly after the cloud arrived, a burst of Northern Lights appeared over the US-Canadian border.
Solar activity is now high. Big sunspot AR1429, which emerged on March 2nd, is crackling with strong flares. The strongest so far, an X1-class eruption, occured just ths morning, March 5th at 0413 UT. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash:
The explosion also hurled a bright coronal mass ejection (CME) into space: SOHO movie. The expanding cloud will probably deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field on March 6th or 7th. (Stay tuned for updates on this possibility as more data arrive.) High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras in the nights ahead.
This morning, Jan. 23rd around 0359 UT, big sunspot 1402 erupted, producing a long-duration M9-class solar flare. The explosion’s M9-ranking puts it on the threshold of being an X-flare, the most powerful kind. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the flare’s extreme ultraviolet flash.
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and NASA’s twin STEREO spacecraft detected a CME rapidly emerging from the blast site: movie. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab say the leading edge of the CME will reach Earth on Jan. 24 at 14:18UT (+/- 7 hours). Their animated forecast track shows that Mars is in the line of fire, too; the CME will hit the Red Planet during the late hours of Jan. 25.
The sun’s surface dances. Giant loops of magnetized solar material burst up, twist, and fall back down. Some erupt, shooting radiation flares and particles out into space. Forced to observe this dance from afar, scientists use all the tools at their disposal to look for patterns and connections to discover what causes these great explosions. Mapping these patterns could help scientists predict the onset of space weather that bursts toward Earth from the sun, interfering with communications and Global Positioning System (GPS) signals.
Analysis of 191 solar flares since May 2010 by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has recently shown a new piece in the pattern: some 15 percent of the flares have a distinct “late phase flare” some minutes to hours later that has never before been fully observed. This late phase of the flare pumps much more energy out into space than previously realized.
On Sept. 6th, active sunspot 1283 produced two major eruptions including an impulsive X2-class solar flare. The blasts hurled a pair of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) toward Earth, which could spark geomagnetic activity when they arrive on Sept. 8-10. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras in the nights ahead. Checkhttp://spaceweather.com for images and updates.