Thursday, May 17, 2012

Solar Activity Update: Sunspot 1476 RADIATION STORM UNDERWAY

AR1476 Paris VegaStar Carpentier: "Shooting from the Bridge of Concorde, I captured the sunspot setting behind the Eiffel Tower," says photographer VegaStar Carpentier. 12.5.2012

RADIATION STORM UNDERWAY: Energetic solar protons are swirling around Earth following an M5-class solar flare from departing sunspot 1476. The sunspot erupted on May 17th around 0130 UT. This radiation storm ranks S2 on NOAA storm scales, which means it is a moderate event capable of confusing spacecraft imaging systems and causing 'single event upsets' in orbiting electronics..

On Sunday, May 20th, the Moon will pass in front of the Sun, producing an annular solar eclipse visible across the Pacific side of Earth. The path of annularity, where the sun will appear to be a "ring of fire" stretches from China and Japan to the middle of North America:

INCOMING CME? A coronal mass ejection (CME) that flew off the sun's western limb on May 17th might hit Earth after all. NOAA forecasters say a shock wave from the blast could deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on May 18th or 19th. The CME, pictured below, was propelled by an M5-class solar flare from departing sunspot AR1476