Another solar storm should hit Earth Sunday

By Andy Smith
ZDnet

Trouble with your GPS? Your computer is mysteriously rebooting? Your cell phone isn’t working? It could be due to the effects of a solar storm. Two coronal mass ejections from the sun just hit Earth and another one is on the way.

On March 8 at at 10:53 p.m. ET the sun discharged an M6.3 class solar flare, and about an hour later released a coronal mass ejection. The CME is traveling toward Earth at 700 miles per second and is expected to ignite an S3 (severe) solar storm on the morning of March 11.

On Thursday NASA reported that two coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from the sun hit Earth at around 5:45 a.m. PT. Originally it was thought that the two CMEs would cause the worst solar storm in five years but fortunately that was not the case.

The National Weather Service’s Space Weather Prediction Center said the solar storm caused by the CMEs did reach a S3 (severe) level overnight and into the morning. But has leveled off.

A solar flare is “an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots. Flares are our solar system’s largest explosive events,” according to NASA

A coronal mass ejection happens when strong magnetic fields in the sun’s carona “are closed, the confined solar atmosphere can suddenly and violently release bubbles of gas and magnetic fields called coronal mass ejections,” according to NASA. CMEs can send billions of tons of matter at millions of miles per hour.

The images above show the formation of the CME on March 8. It is now heading toward Earth.

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