CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- An enormous sun spot named AR 1476 is producing solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CME). The largest solar flare was a C3 class that erupted on May 17, 2012. This solar flare's associated coronal mass ejection is expected to hit earth today on May 19, 2012.
According to the joint U.S. Air Force / NOAA report of Solar and Geophysical Activity, Earth's geomagnetic field is expected to be at quiet to unsettled levels with isolated active periods on May 19, 2012 due to a possible shock arrival from the May 17 coronal mass ejection:
Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity SDF Number 139 Issued at 2200Z on 18 May 2012 IA. Analysis of Solar Active Regions and Activity from 17/2100Z to 18/2100Z: Solar activity was at low levels. The largest flare was a C3 at 18/0823Z from old Region 1476 (N10, L=180), which rotated off the disk. A filament eruption was observed in SDO/AIA 304 imagery beginning at 18/0510Z near Region 1482 (N15W17). An associated CME was observed in STEREO A COR 2 imagery beginning at 18/0709Z with an estimated plane-of-sky speed of approximately 482 km/s. The majority of the ejecta appeared to be slightly north of the ecliptic plane, however a glancing blow is likely. IB. Solar Activity Forecast: Solar activity is expected to be at low levels with a slight chance for an M-class flare all three days (19 - 21 May). IIA. Geophysical Activity Summary 17/2100Z to 18/2100Z: The geomagnetic field was at quiet to unsettled levels. The greater than 100 MeV proton event at geosynchronous orbit that began at 17/0200Z, reached a maximum of 20.4 pfu at 17/0230Z and ended at 17/1725Z. The greater than 10 MeV proton event is currently hovering close to the 10 pfu threshold (S1). IIB. Geophysical Activity Forecast: The geomagnetic field is expected to be at quiet to unsettled levels with isolated active periods on day 1 (19 May) due to a possible shock arrival from the 17 May CME. Quiet to unsettled conditions are expected on day 2 (20 May). Mostly quiet conditions are expected on day 3 (21 May). There is a slight chance for shock enhancement of the greater than 10 MeV protons above 10 pfu on day 1.
III. Event Probabilities 19 May-21 May Class M 10/10/10 Class X 01/01/01 Proton 20/05/01 PCAF green IV. Penticton 10.7 cm Flux Observed 18 May 132 Predicted 19 May-21 May 135/135/130 90 Day Mean 18 May 115 V. Geomagnetic A Indices Observed Afr/Ap 17 May 005/004 Estimated Afr/Ap 18 May 008/008 Predicted Afr/Ap 19 May-21 May 009/010-008/008-006/005 VI. Geomagnetic Activity Probabilities 19 May-21 May A. Middle Latitudes Active 25/10/05 Minor storm 15/05/01 Major-severe storm 05/01/01 B. High Latitudes Active 30/15/10 Minor storm 20/10/05 Major-severe storm 05/01/01
PHOTO AND VIDEO CREDIT: NASA