Don’t forget to duck.
A huge mass of magnetically charged material ejected from the sun is racing across space toward our planet, where it is expected to arrive on Tuesday. When it strikes the Earth’s magnetic field, it could produce spectacular auroras.
A blast of violent space weather could hit the Earth tomorrow following two massive explosions on the Sun. NASA astronomers witnessed a huge flare above a giant sunspot the size of our planet and linked to an even larger eruption across the surface of Sun.
Experts estimate a wave of supercharged gas called plasma will reach us this Tuesday when it will buffet the natural magnetic shield protecting Earth. It could trigger spectacular displays of the aurora or northern and southern lights.
The solar outbursts on Sunday August 1 were recorded by several satellites including NASA’s new Solar Dynamics Observatory which watched its shockwave rippling outwards. The flare over the sunspot was swiftly followed by an eruption 250,000 miles (400,000 km) away in a feature called a filament.
UK solar expert Dr Lucie Green, of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, in Surrey, followed the flare-ups using Japan’s orbiting Hinode telescope.
She said last night: “What wonderful fireworks the Sun has been producing! This was a very rare event – not one, but two almost simultaneous eruptions from different locations on the sun were launched toward the Earth.
“These eruptions occur when immense magnetic structures in the solar atmosphere lose their stability and can no longer be held down by the sun’s huge gravitational pull. Just like a coiled spring suddenly being released, they erupt into space.
“It looks like the first eruption was so large that it changed the magnetic fields throughout half the Sun’s visible atmosphere and provided the right conditions for the second eruption. Both eruptions could be Earth-directed but may be travelling at different speeds. This means we have a very good chance of seeing major and prolonged effects, such as the northern lights at low latitudes.”
. . .
Scientists have warned that a really big solar eruption, like the Carrington Event witnessed from Surrey in 1859, could destroy satellites and wreck power and around the globe if it happened today.
Such an event would be the biggest disaster ever to hit mankind, preventing the production of essential supplies including food, water and medicines. Other eruptions have been observed directed towards us but thankfully less severe.
Coronal Mass Ejection Headed for Earth
Here comes the sun storm
Large solar storm headed our way
Solar plasma aurora storm to hit Earth tomorrow!
Solar Tsunami to Strike Earth Tonight
Solar light show expected tonight
Northern lights may shine in local skies
Solar blast may fire up Northern Lights
Northern lights could be visible from UK as Sun’s ‘solar tsunami’ sweeps towards Earth
Sun storms may bring northern lights farther south
Coronal Mass Ejection on Sun, Effects Can Be Seen in New England
So, enjoy the light show if it’s visible where you’re at and let’s hope we don’t suffer any fried satellites.
/eventually, the sun will destroy life on Earth and the Earth itself, but apparently not today
Filed under: Blog Entry Tagged: | Astronomers, Auroras, Carrington Event, Communications Grids, Coronal Mass Ejection, Disaster, Earth, Eruption, Essential Supplies, Explosions, Filament, Flare, Flare-Ups, Food, Giant Sunspot, Gravitational Pull, Hinode Telescope, Huge Mass, Immense Magnetic Structures, Japan, Lucie Green, Magnetic Field, Magnetic Shield, Magnetically Charged Material, Mankind, Medicine, Mullard Space Science Laboratory, NASA, National Aeronautics And Space Administration, Northern Lights, Plasma, Power Grids, Satellites, Scientists, Shockwave, Solar Atmosphere, Solar Dynamics Observatory, Solar Expert, Solar Outbursts, Southern Lights, Space, Space Weather, Sun, Supercharged Gas, Surrey, United Kingdom, Water