Feeds

'Extreme' solar storm speeding straight towards Earth

Things could get interesting on Saturday

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.