Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Space Weather Alert: Sunspot AR1944 Produces Major X-Class Flare and Earth Facing CME |

Major X1.2 Solar Flare and Earth Facing CME Detected from Sunspot region AR9144

A major solar flare measuring X1.2 was detected on Tuesday afternoon peaking at 18:30 UTC . The source of the eruption was region 1943, with interaction between sunspot 1944. Because the flare appears to be long in duration, a coronal mass ejection is possible. The blast site is in a great geoeffective position for Earth directed eruptions. Attached image by the Solar Dyanamics Observatory (SDO) via

X-FLARE: Giant sunspot AR1944 erupted on Jan 7th at approximately 1832 UT, producing a powerful X1-class solar flare. First-look coronagraph images from the STEREO-Ahead spacecraft appear to show a coronal mass ejection (CME) emerging from the blast site. If so, the CME is almost certainly heading for Earth. Stay tuned for updates as more data arrive from the NASA-ESA Heliophysics Fleet.
HUGE SUNSPOT TARGETS EARTH: One of the biggest sunspots in years is crossing the center of the solar disk, putting Earth in the
way of potential eruptions. Rocky Raybell photographed the active region named "AR1944" yesterday from his backyard in Keller, Washington:
The sprawling sunspot contains dozens of dark cores, the largest big enough to swallow Earth three times over. This makes it an easy target for amateur solar telescopes -- or even regular cameras. Raybell used an SX40 digital camera on a tripod whole holding a Baader solar filer over the lens to capture his image. Photo details may be found here.
Although AR1944 has been mostly quiet for days, flares are in the offing. The sunspot has an unstable 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that could erupt at any time. NOAA forecasters estimate a 75% chance of M-class flares and a 30% chance of X-flares on Jan. 7th.

Above: A 4-day movie of AR1944 from the Solar Dynamics Observtory
CME IMPACT: A coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 7th at approximately 1500 UT. The glancing impact did not immediately spark a geomagnetic storm. However, storm conditions could develop as Earth travels through the CME's wake. High latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, voice
Shown above is the latest forecast of conditions in the solar wind, as predicted by the WSA-Enlil model. The solar wind is a fast-moving stream of charged particles emanating from the Sun and moving outwards towards the Earth and planets. During “fair-weather” conditions the solar wind still contains significant variations in density and speed which originate at the solar surface and are imparted with a spiral appearance due to the Sun's roughly 27 day rotation.
At irregular intervals the “fair-weather” is interrupted by major solar eruptions known as Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) which are propelled outwards into the background wind. Variations in the plasma density and speed within these solar storms can be much more dramatic than during quiet conditions. For both “fair-weather” and “storm” conditions, predicting the arrival at Earth of variations in the solar wind is important because these can lead to geomagnetic storms.

All Sky Fireball Network

Every night, a network of NASA all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software maintained by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth in Earth's atmosphere and many other characteristics. Daily results are presented here on

On Jan. 7, 2014, the network reported 30 fireballs.
(29 sporadics, 1 Quadrantid)
In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]
On Jan. 6, 2014, the network reported 7 fireballs.

(6 sporadics, 1 alpha Hydrid)
In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]

Near Earth Asteroids

Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.

On January 8, 2014 there were 1449 potentially hazardous asteroids.

Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2013 YL2
Jan 3
3.6 LD
101 m
2014 AF16
Jan 5
6.2 LD
41 m
2013 YM48
Jan 6
8.8 LD
31 m
2013 YV102
Jan 7
6.7 LD
34 m
2014 AD16
Jan 8
1.5 LD
15 m
2014 AE29
Jan 9
4.1 LD
16 m
2007 SJ
Jan 21
18.9 LD
1.9 km
2012 BX34
Jan 28
9.6 LD
13 m
2006 DP14
Feb 10
6.2 LD
730 m
2000 EM26
Feb 18
8.8 LD
195 m
2000 EE14
Mar 6
64.6 LD
1.8 km
Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach. -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids

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