Yesterday--at least in the northeast U.S.--was a picture-perfect, sun-shiney day. But as many of us took a few extra minutes at lunch to soak up one of the first nice spring days of the season, the sun overhead was in the midst of some serious violence. At roughly 1:45 p.m. EDT yesterday, a huge and beautiful eruption took place on the east limb of our local star, sending a massive prominence looping out into space.
We love a good solar storm, and a pair of flares that erupted late Tuesday are just the latest in a string of activity from our awakening sun. The second-biggest flare yet burst forth Tuesday and spewed a coronal mass ejection toward our planet, the leading edge of which arrived this morning.
That gigantic solar flare that lashed out toward Earth on Saturday is "the geomagnetic storm that just won't go away," the NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) in Boulder, Colo., said via its Facebook page today. And that appears to be true. Active Region 1302, pictured above, continues to pummel earth with solar energy and could disrupt satellite communications as it continues turning toward us in the days to come.
A trifecta of sunsplosions over the past few days has prompted government agencies to once again warn of possible power and communications disruptions. The coronal mass ejections could produce a strong aurora as far south as Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to space weather forecasters at NOAA.
On Sunday, sunspot number 1092 emitted a C-class solar flare--not a large one, by solar flare standards. But NASA scientists were intrigued by what accompanied it--an unusually fast corona mass ejection that sent a large cloud of charged plasma toward Earth. There will be no adverse effects here on Earth--other than increased aurora activity.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.