There was a powerful X-class flare on the Sun. The outburst is headed almost directly toward the Earth. Time of arrival October 30.

Yesterday, October 28, there was a powerful eruption on the Sun. It began at 15:35 UT when sunspot AR2887 caused an X1-class solar flare. The explosion created a massive plasma tsunami that swept across the entire solar disk.

The plasma wave was about 100,000 km high and traveled through the Sun’s atmosphere at over 700 km/s (1.6 million miles per hour). They are also called “Morton waves” after the American astronomer Gail Morton, who discovered them in 1959. Morton waves often herald a CME ejection.

Has sunspot AR2887 shot off? Probably not. NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of an M-class flare and a 25% chance of a new X-flare in the next 24 hours.

The coronal mass ejection (CME) launched into space on Oct. 28 by the AR2887 sunspot explosion is headed almost directly toward Earth. SOHO coronagraphs recorded the CME ejection from the Sun at more than 1,260 km/s (2.8 million miles per hour).

Everything in the satellite’s lens turned white with spots caused by solar protons hitting the coronagraph’s CCD camera. These particles were directed toward the spacecraft (and toward Earth) by shock waves on the CME’s leading edge.

Moving at relativistic speeds, the protons reached us in less than an hour. It would take more than two days for the CME itself to cross the boundary between the Sun and the Earth. Estimated time of arrival: October 30.

A strong geomagnetic storm is possible on October 30, when CME from yesterday’s X1 flare is expected to hit Earth’s magnetic field.

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