UPDATE Feb.15,8 pm: Early Tuesday morning a second much more massive solar eruption occurred on the Sun and it appears the resulting charged cloud is heading towards Earth. Arrival time is estimated to occur lat Wednesday to Thursday. The flare , which is the largest seen in 4 years, was categorized as X-2 which is very strong and has the ability to cause planet-wide radio blackouts and bright auroras down to mid-latitudes. Look towards the northern horizon around local midnight for possible northern lights the next couple of nights… Stay tuned for more info…
It appears that the Sun has belched a supercharged cloud of particles called a coronal mass ejection (CME) that may have Earth in its crosshairs. Tip of the hat to Spaceweather.com for breaking this story.
The solar eruption happened on Sunday morning around a newly formed group of sunspots, and indications are that it should slam into Earth’s magnetic field around Feb.15th – Tuesday.
What really has made experts perk up is that its pretty much one of the largest eruptions that have been directed towards Earth in quite a while. The Sunspots group associated with it consists of ten Earth-sized spots – wow! The group is still growing in size – already more than 100,000 km in diameter. And expectations are that more eruptions may be on their way.
It looks like it was a medium sized eruption on the solar flare ‘richter’ scale – M class – and might cause some colourful auroras so folks living in high-latitude areas – like Canada should be on alert. At this point experts are waiting for more data to come in from Sun watching satellites about the blast itself to know exactly if it will hit Earth directly or will it be just a glancing blow.
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