Monday, August 02, 2010

Complex Eruption on the Sun

Space Weather News for August 1, 2010

GLOBAL ERUPTION: During the early hours of August 1st, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded a complex global disturbance on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Most of the sun's northern hemisphere was involved in the event, which included a long-duration C3-class solar flare, a "solar tsunami," and a massive filament eruption. As a result of these blasts, a coronal mass ejection (CME) is heading toward Earth. High-latitude geomagnetic storms and auroras are possible when the cloud arrives a few days hence.

On August 1st around 0855 UT, Earth orbiting satellites detected a C3-class solar flare. The origin of the blast was sunspot 1092. At about the same time, an enormous magnetic filament stretching across the sun's northern hemisphere erupted. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the action.

The timing of these events suggest they are connected, and a review of SDO movies strengthens that conclusion. Despite the ~400,000 km distance between them, the sunspot and filament seem to erupt together; they are probably connected by long-range magnetic fields.

In short, we have just witnessed a complex global eruption involving almost the entire Earth-facing side of the sun.

A coronal mass ejection (CME) produced by the event is heading directly for Earth. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras when it arrives on or about August 3rd. See forecast below.

3-day Solar-Geophysical Forecast issued Aug 01 22:00 UTC
Solar Activity Forecast: Solar activity is expected to be very low. However, there is a chance for an isolated C-class flare from Region 1092.

Geophysical Activity Forecast: Geomagnetic field activity is expected to be at quiet levels during most of day 1 (02 August). An increase to unsettled to active levels is expected late on day 1 due to the arrival of the full-halo CME observed on 01 August. Activity is expected to increase to unsettled to active levels with a chance for minor storm levels on day 2 (03 August) as CME effects persist. Activity is expected to decrease to quiet to unsettled levels with a chance for active levels on day 3 (04 August) as CME effects subside.