Feeds

Potent proton pulse to BOMBARD EARTH Tuesday morn

Sunspots get angry, planes get rerouted

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Late Sunday, the sun aimed a huge coronal mass ejection (CME) at our planet, along with a "solar energetic particle" event – the largest since September 2005 – which is expected to cause a solar storm of highly energetic protons to hit us on Tuesday at 9am Eastern Time, plus or minus seven hours.

The solar storm, according to SpaceWeather.com, ranks S3 – "Strong" – on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Scale. NOAA identifies the storm as being the strongest since May 2005.

NASA's Goddard Space Weather Lab provides an animation of the CME which shows that the leading edge of the disturbance will not only strike Earth, but also Mars, arriving there late Wednesday, our time.

Space.com reports that the eruption of the prosaically named sunspot 1402 – which has become increasingly active recently – was spotted by a number of NASA spacecraft, including the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in a geosynchronous orbit around our planet, the Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) flying between Earth and the sun, and the twin Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft, which share our orbit, one in front of us and one behind.

Despite the comparatively large size, speed, and strength of the stream of particles shooting towards us at around 2,200 kilometers (1,370 miles) per second, the storm is expected to cause little if any harm. Perhaps a few satellites will need to reboot, but not much else – even ISS 'nauts are safe, though it's best if they stay inside.

Sunspot 1402 belches a big one

Those living in nothern climes may, however, enjoy spectacular aurora borealis displays as the particles pass through Earth's orbit, concentrating their energy on the northern parts of our planet. The power of the pulse is so great, in fact, that such displays may be visible in more-southerly locations than is the norm.

Don't expect to view those sky shows from a high-flying aircraft, however: a NOAA spokeswoman told the American Meteorological Society, now meeting in New Orleans, that polar flights will likely be rerouted. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.