Thursday, March 22, 2012

Report for 3/22/12

There was a powerful coronal mass ejection (CME) released from the Sun on Sunday, the source being sunspot AR1429. The sunspot, which has been active for several weeks, has been turning to the backside of the Sun and so the CME was not Earth-directed.

Midweek there was an electron storm; there was an increased number of excited electrons in the Earth's outer radiation belt. The NASA Goddard Space Weather Lab determined that this was caused by a combination of a solar wind stream and geomagnetic storm activity that Earth experienced recently. Satellites that travel near the radiation belts during these storms could be adversely affected.

Today there is a 15% chance of geomagnetic storms in the higher latitudes according to NOAA. Do you think there will be any major solar events through the weekend? Submit your forecast and let us know! Results will be posted on the home page next week!

SOHO captured footage of a coronal mass ejection on March 18th.
The disc in the middle is covering the Sun.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Report for 3/16/12

Sunspot AR1429, which caused a flurry of solar events last week, unleashed a massive M8-class solar flare on March 10th and M7-class flare on March 13th. The latter blast was followed by a coronal mass ejection (CME) that caused yesterday's geomagnetic storm (Kp=6). AR1429 has been so active that sky watchers in the Arctic Circle have witnessed auroras for almost two weeks straight.

Comet SWAN, a Kreutz sungrazer comet, rocketed toward the Sun on March 14th, but did not survive. This comet was much smaller than Comet Lovejoy
, a sungrazer comet that got a great deal of attention last December for making it around the Sun and surviving its journey.

Do you think there will be any major solar events this weekend? Submit your forecast and let us know what you think!

Comet SWAN (bottom left) races to the Sun (blocked out by center disc).
SOHO captured this footage on March 14th.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Report for 3/9/12

Massive sunspot AR1429 has been very active this week, unleashing several intense solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The sunspot released an X1-class solar flare and CME on Monday. It followed that up with an X5-class solar flare and CME on Wednesday, which was Earth-directed; the blast is the cause for today's geomagnetic storm activity.

AR1429 is currently more than seven times the width of Earth and is still growing! (As of Sunday, it was approximately four times Earth's width.) NOAA forecasters predict an 80% chance of M-class flares and 40% chance of X-class flares in the next 24 hours.
What do you predict?
Submit your forecast today!

The Sun unleashed an X-class flare on Wednesday.