Friday, March 9, 2012

Solar alert: Geomagnetic storm still underway - At first, yesterday's widely-reported CME impact produced little in the way of Earth effects. Since then things have changed. The wake of the CME was actually more effective than the CME itself in stirring up geomagnetic activity, and now a moderate geomagnetic storm is underway. Jónína Óskarsdóttir sends this picture from Faskrudsfjordur, Iceland:

Sunspot photo:

photo: HUGE SUNSPOT: Active sunspot AR1429 continues to grow. It is now more than seven times wider than Earth, which makes it an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. In fact, yesterday, David Tremblay of Alto, New Mexico, saw it using no telescope at all. All he needed was a dust storm:The dust blowing from Tularosa Basin was so dense, we could observe the sun with the naked eye--and there was sunspot AR1429. Wow!" says Tremblay.
The behemoth spot has unleashed four strong flares since it emerged on March 2nd, including the X5-class eruption of March 7th. More could be in the offing. The active region has a "beta-gamma-delta" class magnetic field that harbors energy for additional X-class eruptions.


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