High-energy protons continue to bombard the Earth

For the second day in a row, high-energy protons from a solar flare are bombarding the Earth. This is called a radiation storm (class S1), and it was caused by a huge eruption on July 28.

The site of the explosion was hidden from view behind the northwestern edge of the sun. Satellites in Earth orbit recorded an M4-class solar flare, but the main explosion was stronger. It was probably an X-flare, partially obscured by the edge of the Sun.

How can a sunspot not facing Earth send so many protons in our direction? The answer is Parker’s spiral. When the sun rotates, its magnetic field spirals, like water flowing out of a rotating lawn sprinkler. The magnetic field force lines coming out from behind the northwestern edge of the Sun (where the explosion occurred) spiral and connect directly to the Earth. It’s a superhighway for protons.

It looks like the radiation storm will continue at the S1 level for at least one more day.

Geomagnetic storms are possible on August 1, when the CME is expected to hit Earth’s magnetic field. Weak G1 class storms are likely to develop into a G2 category. The CME was hurled almost directly at Earth by a magnetic filament eruption in the Sun’s northern hemisphere on July 28.

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