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Sun sends blast of particles due to arrive tonight

August 3, 2010

The above image was taken just as our Sun belched a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) in our direction on sunday night. This blob of charged particles are already beginning to interact with the earth’s magentosphere, and will likely result in some spectacular aurorae for the northern latitudes as the brunt of it arrives tonight and tomorrow morning. This is the first large scale activity the Sun has seen in several years, as it has been at the low-point of its 11-year cycle of sunspot activity. Events like this will slowly become more common over the next 3 or 4 years as the sun reaches its next peak in activity around 2012-2013. This is NOT any kind of major disaster, though it may cause a few glitches with satellites, as any CME event is prone to do. Unfortunately TN is way too far south to see any of the auroral activity, but if you’re in the northern US you might be able to see it. It is possible for aurorae to be seen this far south, but it’s very rare and requires a very powerful solar storm, such as the one from April 2001 (the last solar maximum) which made aurorae visible as far south as Texas. Such an event is possible as we head toward this next solar maximum, but I wouldn’t count on it. This upcoming maximum is expected to be about half as intense as the last one. (Via Space.com and Universe Today.

Here’s a video of the current CME when it first erupted sunday night.

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One Response to “Sun sends blast of particles due to arrive tonight”

  1. Matt S. Says:

    My desk is near the reporter’s who was researching this for the Anchorage Daily News. All the phone conversations I heard seem to imply that this isn’t as big a deal as what’s been reported in the lower 48: http://www.adn.com/2010/08/03/1394032/solar-tsunami-expected-to-fizzle.html

    It’ll probably be visible in Alaska, but most parts of the state probably won’t get dark enough to see it all that well. There’s maybe a 5 or 6 hour window in Anchorage if you’re outside the city lights.


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