Monday, March 5, 2012
SOLAR ACTIVITY UPDATE: X-M-And a Rash of C-Class Flares (March 6th, 2012)
STRONG SOLAR ACTIVITY: Solar activity is now high. Big sunspot AR1429, which emerged on March 2nd, is crackling with strong flares. This morning brought the strongest so far--an X1-class eruption on March 5th at 0413 UT. The explosion also hurled a bright CME into space. According to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the CME will probably miss Earth, although it will hit Mercury and Venus. Even if this CME misses, high-latitude sky watchers should still be alert for auroras in the nights ahead. An M2-class eruption from the same sunspot on March 4th produced another, wider CME that might yet intersect Earth. The cloud is expected to deliver a glancing blow to our planet's magnetic field on March 6th at 04:30 UT (+/- 7 hr).