The Sun blurped again.
First came a minor but long-lasting C-class solar flare on Tuesday, and now a punch of magnetically charged solar particles is flying toward earth. Unlike the impressive “dirt clod” coronal mass ejection of June 7, this Summer Solstice eruption could actually cause auroras to whorl in the high latitudes. Said NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center yesterday afternoon:
NOAA forecasts, supported by guidance from the WSA-Enlil solar wind model [seen in the above image], are projecting CME arrival mid to late day UTC on June 23. The CME does appear to be clearly Earth-directed, so some effect is almost certain. The bulk of the disturbance is still expected on June 24, with G1 (Minor) and isolated G2 (Moderate) levels of Geomagnetic Storming expected for the duration of the event. High latitude aurora watchers should be on alert Thursday and Friday night.
There could be minor glitchiness to electronics today and tomorrow as a result of the magnetic storm. The magnitude of G1 and G2 storms can damage transformers in the upper latitudes and cause weak power grid fluctuations. They can also dazzle and confuse migratory animals, in case you're a turtle.
But it’s not much to worry about. The more interesting thing about this flare was the “halo” shape of the mass ejection, a classic feature of earth-aimed solar disturbances. Viddy this: