Something just exploded on the far side of the sun – and it was an explosion of epic proportions. NASA’s STEREO-A spacecraft detected a grandiose coronal mass ejection (CME) that appeared late on February 15.
This coronal ejection will not hit the Earth directly – it is moving away from us, not towards our planet. However, if such a CME does hit, it could cause a very strong geomagnetic storm. We may have indeed dodged a bullet.
STEREO-A also observed the release of plasma from the site of the explosion. It stretched for more than 400,000 km.
What caused this explosion? Helioseismology offers a clue. By analyzing vibrations on the surface of the Sun, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory can produce rough maps of the far side of the Sun. There is a significant concentration of magnetism:
The yellow spot on the map above is almost certainly a large group of sunspots. This is the prime suspect in the February 15 blast.
However, the incredible power of the ejection and the volume of the ejected plasma can somehow affect our planet. The reaction will be a volcanic eruption or an earthquake in the very near future.
In about a week, the exploding group of sunspots will be visible to astronomers, and in another week, this space gun will be pointed directly at us, and if it shoots from there, it’s like it’s blasted from the Death Star. Such an explosion towards our planet will return us to the Middle Ages.
Will this “storm hotel” arrive on Earth? The Earth’s magnetic field is currently calm and should remain so for the next 48 hours.
“No CME or solar wind streams are directed towards our planet”. NOAA forecasters say that the probability of geomagnetic storms is less than 5% (this is the forecast) but whether this is true – time will tell.