Feeds

Potent proton pulse to BOMBARD EARTH Tuesday morn

Sunspots get angry, planes get rerouted

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.