Active sunspot fires solar flares, CME toward us

from Four powerful solar flares and CMEs have erupted from a sunspot over the past few days, and one could affect us on late Friday.

The sun is sending fireworks to perhaps celebrate the debut of the
latest Star Trek Into Darkness movie, which has been released this week.

Sunspot AR1748 has discharged four powerful solar flares in the past few days, is expected to be more active, and is rotating into more
direct view across the sun’s near side.
Flares are also connected with coronal mass ejections (CMEs).

Of the
four CMEs created this week, NOAA space weather forecasters say there’s a
40 percent chance that the most recent one could bounce off Earth on
May 17.

Solar flares are powerful bursts that send light and radiation into
space. CMEs, usually produced in conjunction with solar flares, erupt
from the sun and send billions of tonnes of solar material into space.
They are not directly dangerous to us, but can disrupt atmospheric
communications services such as GPS and cell phones. While personal
disruptions can be annoying, GPS airline navigation and extremely
accurate clocks that govern financial transactions could be affected.

The current quartet of solar flares has been categorized to reach the
highest measuring category, X-class, with the highest of the four given
an X-3.2 rating. It is the 18th X-class flare of the current solar

The good news is that NASA’s observation satellites and NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center
are constantly monitoring space activity, and can give warnings,
similar to hurricane warnings, when potentially dangerous solar activity
is approaching.

Another highlight is the appearance of auroras.

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