CHANCE OF FLARES: NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of an X-class solar flare today from big sunspot AR1429. The sunspot is almost directly facing Earth, so any such eruptions should be geoeffective. Solar flare alerts: text, phone.
GEOMAGNETIC STORM UNDERWAY: At first, yesterday's widely-reported CME impact produced little in the way of Earth effects. Since then things have changed. The wake of the CME was actually more effective than the CME itself in stirring up geomagnetic activity, and now a moderate geomagnetic storm is underway. Jónína Óskarsdóttir sends this picture from Faskrudsfjordur, Iceland:
UPDATE: It appears that Sunspot AR1429 has unleashed another strong solar flare, an M6-class eruption. While not as strong as yesterdays, this one will piggyback in on it, adding to the current magnetic storm. I don't think that this particular Sunspot likes us very much. It seems we are staring down the barrel of a gun with this one.
ANOTHER CME TARGETS EARTH: Sunspot AR1429 has unleashed another strong flare, an M6-class eruption on March 9th at 0358 UT. The blast hurled a coronal mass ejection almost directly toward Earth. According to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the CME will arrive on March 11th at 0649 UT (+/- 7 hr). NOAA forecasters say the odds of a strong geomagnetic storm at that time is 50%. Aurora alerts: text, phone.
The same eruption that hurled the CME toward Earth also produced a monsterous tsunami of plasma on the sun. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the shadowy but powerful wave rippling away from the blast site.
The tsumani was about 100,000 km high and raced outward at 250 km/s with a total energy of about 2 million megatons of TNT. Such waves often underlie CMEs like the one en route to Earth now.
Animated forecast tracks show that the CME will also hit the Mars Science Lab (MSL) spacecraft on March 12th followed by Mars itself on March 13th. Mars rover Curiosity onboard MSL might get some interesting readings as the cloud passes by.
It looks like we are in for some interesting times.