The sun had a very busy weekend. On Sunday, sunspot 1092 erupted into a solar flare triggering a host of exciting activity, all captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO.
According to Universe Today:
There was a C3-class solar flare, a solar tsunami, multiple filaments of magnetism lifting off the stellar surface, large-scale shaking of the solar corona, radio bursts, a coronal mass ejection (CME) and more.
(In a separate, very recent post, Universe Today reported that there are actually four CMEs.)
Solar scientists are thrilled! “This has been an unusually quiet solar cycle,”(Universe Today) and the sun is just now waking up, heading for its solar max in May 2013.
This “awesome solar phenomena”(Wired) is also good news for us non-scientists. Wired reports that:
The event also caused a coronal mass ejection to head directly toward earth, which may mean people in the northern latitudes will be treated to auroras around August 3.
Can’t solar flares also mean trouble? This one isn’t big enough. According to MSNBC:
The X-ray blast rated a C3 on the Space Weather Prediction Center's scale, which suggests there'll be no disruption for power grids, satellites, astronauts on the International Space Station or navigation services on airplanes.
So depending on your location (San Francisco seems too far south in the current NOAA POES satellite image), sit back, take a look at the skies tonight and tomorrow and enjoy the pretty picture show. (Universe Today has just posted possible times of the auroras.) And even if you can’t see the auroras, you can see SDO’s amazing video of the activity here or here.