SUNSPOT EXPLODES, HURLS GIANT SOLAR FLARE AT EARTH

Watts Up With That?

We first reported on this possibility a few days ago.

On Feb. 12th, the magnetic canopy of sunspot AR2699 exploded–for more than 6 hours. The slow-motion blast produced a C1-class solar flare and hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) almost directly toward Earth. This movie from the Solar and Heliospheric Observtory (SOHO) shows the CME leaving the sun:

The CME could arrive as early as today, although Feb 15th is more likely. NOAA forecasters say there is a 60% chance of G1-class geomagnetic storms with isolated periods of stronger G2 storming.

The effectiveness of the CME could be enhanced by a stream of solar wind that was already en route to Earth when the sunspot exploded. The solar wind is flowing from a large wedge-shaped hole in the sun’s atmosphere. If the approaching CME sweeps up material from that stream, snowplow-style, it could strike Earth’s magnetic field with…

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