Feeds

'Extreme' solar storm speeding straight towards Earth

Things could get interesting on Saturday

SANS - Survey on application security programs

On Thursday at 5:53pm in London – 12:53pm in New York – the sun let loose with a hefty solar flare, resulting in a coronal mass ejection (CME) headed straight towards Earth that will likely arrive on Saturday at 10:20 UT, give or take about seven hours.

The flare was big, though not ginormous. As reported by SpaceWeather.com, this particular popping of one of Helios' pimples made it into the X (extreme) class of solar flares, but barely: it ranked as an X1.4.

That's certainly higher than a ranking of C (common) or M (moderate), but it pales in comparison with the top 30 solar flares since 1976 that SpaceWeather.com lists, the most powerful being an X28+ beastie that ol' Sol fired off on April 11, 2003 – and we all lived through that one, eh?

So don't expect anything untoward to happen because of this solar flare and its CME. If you happen to live in the far northern climes – we're talking to you, Thule – lift your eyes to the skies on Saturday: the light show presented by the aurora borealis may be quite impressive.

Solar flare on July 12, 2012

Oh, that sunspot AR1520 – always the troublemaker

Thursday's CME would hardly be worth mentioning if it weren't for the fact that, as Spaceweather.com puts it, "everything about the blast was geoeffective" – meaning that it's coming right at us, as a Goddard Space Weather Lab animation illustrates quite vividly.

In addition to the CME scheduled to arrive on Saturday, Thursday's solar flare from sunspot AR1520 has already had two effects that have dropped in to visit.

The first was a pulse of extreme UV radiation, which disturbed radio signals around the planet. Monitoring stations in Norway and Ireland, SpaceWeather.com tells us, recorded ionospheric disturbances, but does not report whether those were disturbances in the Force "as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced."

Also, the Earth is currently experiencing a healthy dose of solar protons that were accelerated by Thursday's solar flare. While certainly measurable, this proton swarm isn't expected to cause much trouble – although, as SpaceWeather.com notes, "This could change if the storm continues to intensify. Stay tuned." ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.