A CME propelled toward Earth by yesterday’s X5-class solar flare is expected to reach our planet on March 8th at 0625 UT (+/- 7 hr). Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, who prepared the CME’s forecast track, say the impact could spark a strong-to-severe geomagnetic storm. Sky watchers at all latitudes should be alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, phone.
Mild geomagnetic activity is already underway, following a lesser CME impact on March 7th around 0400 UT. Big sunspot AR1429 has unleashed another major flare. This one is the strongest yet, an X5-class eruption on March 7th at 00:28 UT.
This eruption hurled a bright CME into space, shown here in a movie from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab estimate that the CME will reach Earth on March 8th at 0625 UT (+/- 7 hr), possibly triggering a strong-to-severe geomagnetic storm. An animated forecast track shows the progression of the fast-moving cloud.
The flare also accelerated energetic protons toward Earth, triggering an S3-class solar radiation storm, in progress. Such a storm is mainly a nuisance to satellites, causing occasional reboots of onboard computers and adding noise to imaging systems.