On August 1st, the entire Earth-facing side of the sun erupted in a tumult of activity. 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 and more.
The movie recorded by extreme UV cameras onboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory shows an enormous magnetic filament breaking away from the sun. Some of the breakaway material is now en route to Earth in the form of a coronal mass ejection (CME, movie).
Seeing the sun erupt on such a global scale has galvanized the international community of solar physicists. Researchers are still sorting out the complex sequence of events and trying to understand why they all happened at once. Stay tuned for more movies and analyses in the days ahead.
The earth could be hit by a wave of violent space weather as early as Tuesday after a massive explosion on the sun, scientists have warned.
The explosion, called a coronal mass ejection, was aimed directly towards Earth, which then sent a “solar tsunami” racing 93 million miles across space. It is likely to spark spectacular displays of the aurora or northern and southern lights.
Scientists have warned that a really big solar eruption could destroy satellites and wreck power and communications grids around the globe if it happened today. Nasa recently warned that Britain could face widespread power blackouts and be left without critical communication signals for long periods of time, after the earth is hit by a once-in-a-generation “space storm”.
The Daily Telegraph disclosed in June that senior space agency scientists believed the Earth will be hit with unprecedented levels of magnetic energy from solar flares after the Sun wakes “from a deep slumber” sometime around 2013.
Via the telegraph…