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.
Astronomers from all over the world witnessed the huge flare above a giant sunspot the size of the Earth, which they linked to an even larger eruption across the surface of Sun.
The explosion, called a coronal mass ejection, was aimed directly towards Earth, which then sent a “solar tsunami” racing 93 million miles across space
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.
“This was a very rare event – not one, but two almost simultaneous eruptions from different locations on the sun were launched toward the Earth.
"These eruptions occur when immense magnetic structures in the solar atmosphere lose their stability and can no longer be held down by the Sun's huge gravitational pull. Just like a coiled spring suddenly being released, they erupt into space.”
She added: "It looks like the first eruption was so large that it changed the magnetic fields throughout half the Sun's visible atmosphere and provided the right conditions for the second eruption.
Source - telegraph
And the News from NASA - Coronal Mass Ejection Headed for Earth:
On August 1st around 0855 UT, Earth orbiting satellites detected a C3-class solar flare. The origin of the blast was Earth-facing sunspot 1092. C-class solar flares are small (when compared to X and M-class flares) and usually have few noticeable consequences here on Earth besides aurorae. This one has spawned a coronal mass ejection heading in Earth's direction.
Coronal mass ejections (or CMEs) are large clouds of charged particles that are ejected from the Sun over the course of several hours and can carry up to ten billion tons (1016 grams) of plasma. They expand away from the Sun at speeds as high as a million miles an hour. A CME can make the 93-million-mile journey to Earth in just three to four days.
When a coronal mass ejection reaches Earth, it interacts with our planet’s magnetic field, potentially creating a geomagnetic storm. ..
The Sun goes through a regular activity cycle about 11 years long. The last solar maximum occurred in 2001 and its recent extreme solar minimum was particularly weak and long lasting. These kinds of eruptions are one of the first signs that the Sun is waking up and heading toward another solar maximum expected in the 2013 time frame. NASA source
August 2 2010 - large explosions on our unstable sun:
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