There's a storm brewing on the Sun's surface and it could unleash its magnetic fury on Earth within the next five days.
That ominous warning comes from solar scientists at the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center who are tracking a huge group of sunspots that are slowly rotating to face our planet. As imaged by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in Friday, this is the largest group of sunspots seen on the sun since 2005. The largest sunspot (pictured right) is 17-times the width of the Earth. Active region 1339 has been crackling with flare activity -- for now blasting the majority of its energy away from us -- but on Thursday, it showed solar astronomers what it's capable of; erupting with the most powerful type of flare.WATCH: Solar Watch Alert.
The effects of the X-rays generated by the Nov. 3 X-class flare were detected in our upper atmosphere as waves of ionization altered the propagation of radio waves over Europe and the Americas, according to SpaceWeather.com. Sunspots are the result of intense magnetic stress inside the sun. As we approach solar maximum (expected around 2013), we can expect to see more sunspots as intense magnetic fields break through the surface, exposing the cooler solar interior -- dark spots are the result. Sunspots are found in regions of intense magnetic activity on the sun -- unsurprisingly known as "active regions." And it is active region 1339 that could put on an impressive fireworks display as it rotates across the disk of the sun, pointing directly at us at the halfway point. But will it erupt? For now, we have no idea -- it remains a risky game of (solar) Russian Roulette. - Discovery News.
Here is the volcano and earthquake watch alert for the next couple of days:
Targeting the remnants of a filament eruption in the Southern Hemisphere. After analysis I have isolated 30° (+- 2°) N Latitude with solar symmetry to earth. Best fit regions for a possible 7+ Magnitude Earthquake are: Kermadec Islands-New Zealand Region, Easter Islands Region, Santiago del Estero-Argentina, San Juan-Argentina or the Coquimbo-Chile Region. Time frame for this event suggests Nov 13-14. Second region for the Southern Hemisphere is mapped at 9° (+- 2°) Latitude. Best mapped regions with solar symmetry to earth are: Solomon Islands or the Santa Cruz Islands Region with a time frame Nov 12-13.WATCH: Volcano / Earthquake Watch Nov 12-15.
A strong magnetic filament in the Northern Hemisphere extending well over the north eastern limb of the solar corona indicates the likelihood of a strong earthquake. Targeting a coronal depression adjacent to active regions located 28-34° N Latitude. Best fit regions with solar symmetry to earth are: The South Japan Islands (Bonin Islands-Izu Islands-Ruyukyu Islands or Kyushu), Gulf Of California-Mexico, Baha California-Mexico or the Southern California Region. Possible magnitude 6.8.Time frame suggest towards the end of the watch (Nov 15). OLR anomalies are this week located : Luzon Philippines, Carlsberg Ridge, Gulf Of Aden, China, Atlantic Ocean, Azores Islands, France and Spain. Ionospheric anomalies continue to show the South America region and the South Pacific Islands regions with large concentrations. - Solar Watch Channel.
The following constitutes the latest update from Space Weather.com:
INCOMING CME: A CME is heading for Earth. It left the sun on Nov. 9th when a magnetic filament in the vicinity of sunspot complex 1342-1343 erupted. The M1-class explosion hurled a bright cloud of plasma into space, shown here in a movie from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). Although the eruption was not squarely aimed at Earth, the CME is likely to deliver a glancing blow to our planet's magnetic field on Nov. 11th or 12th. NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of high-latitude geomagnetic storms. The decay of sunspot 1339 is accelerating, but it still poses a threat for M-class solar flares.