Jan 18, 2019 | Updated: 08:24 AM EST

What Is It? Solar Storm Clouds Brewing

Sep 17, 2014 03:04 AM EDT


In a full-disk view of our very own sun, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory discovered that this morning, Sept. 10, a giant solar storm erupted in the center of the star. Typically non-disruptive, in spite of the high-energy emissions from the fusion/fission reactions that take place on the sun's outer surface, today's storm is causing some concern over what affect it might have on us, three planets away from the star.

The image you see is an X-Class Solar Flare captured this morning at 1:45pm EDT, found in the Earth-facing sunspot known simply as "Active Region 2158". Of the most powerful type of solar flare, the flash seen may not pose any danger to us here on Earth, but researchers at NASA and the NOAA are fearing what else the storm may have brewing.

In a rare double burst of coronal mass ejections (CME), the charged solar storm that has hit the sun this week is one to raise alarm. Typically on their own, a solar flare or CME wouldn't warrant a special warning or alert, however, as the two erupted so close together, and towards the face of the Earth, officials fear that the Earth may experience some backlash from the energy emissions.

After analyzing and projecting the potential disturbances, which could potentially disrupt GPS signals, radio communication and even power transmissions, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center issued an alert this morning.

Though the NOAA does not expect large disruptions, center director Thomas Berger has opted to err on the side of caution in light of the solar event. The first flare should reach Earth by this evening, Sept. 11 and the second should follow Friday Sept. 12.

"We don't expect any unmanageable impacts to national infrastructure from these solar events at this time, but we are watching these events closely" Berger says.

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