Sun unleashes powerful earth-bound CME

February 13, 2011EARTH-DIRECTED SOLAR FLARE: On Feb. 13th at 1738 UT, sunspot 1158 unleashed the strongest solar flare of the year so far, an M6.6-category blast (chart). NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded an intense flash of extreme ultraviolet radiation, circled above: The eruption produced a loud blast of radio waves heard in shortwave receivers around the dayside of our planet. In New Mexico, amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft recorded these sounds at 19 to 21 MHz. “This was some of the strongest radio bursting of the new solar cycle,” he says. “What a great solar day.” Preliminary coronagraph data from STEREO-A and SOHO agree that the explosion produced a fast but not particularly bright coronal mass ejection (CME). The cloud will likely hit Earth’s magnetic field on or about Feb. 15th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. -Space Weather

*Scale chart ‘only‘ as it appears on Space Weather’s website
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2 Responses to Sun unleashes powerful earth-bound CME

  1. Aaron says:

    First off, Alvin, you’ve done a wonderful service with this site. I found it about a week ago and come back every day. I really appreciate the frequent updates and the no-nonsense take on the matter. Secondly, what are expected outcomes of large solar flares pointed at Earth? Are there any past large solar flares to compare to events that happened on Earth?

    I sincerely thank you again for this very informative website. I’ll definitely be buying your book.

    • Thank you, Aaron. I thank God for the illumination and I thank you for your kind words. I’m thrilled you found the site and hope you enjoy reading the book. One of the largest solar flares unleashed on the Sun was an X-28 which occurred in 2003. The flare was so powerful it destroyed observation instruments. Flares unleash a wind of ionized particles that could short-circuit anything electric or electronic in space or on Earth that has not been hardened (protected for static electric fields) or encased in a Faraday cage. In 1859, a large sunspot sent one of the largest CME, or coronal mass ejections, ever seen up to that time hurling towards Earth in the short span of only 18 hours, rather than the normal 48 to 72 hours. The storm short-circuited telegraph wires across North America. Even when telegraph operators had unplugged their systems, they found there was enough electrical currents in the air to transmit messages. There were reports of the auroras seen as far south as Cuba and and the Caribbean. You can read more about the Carrington Event here as a starting point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859 and future dangers from another such event here: http://factoidz.com/could-another-carrington-event-destroy-our-economy/

      All the best,

      Alvin

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