It's hot as solar balls here in NYC, but this early June heat wave may soon be the least of our problems. Last night there was a solar flare on the sun, and it's a bigger, even hotter thing to worry about than mere 90-degree temps on Earth. I don't know what we all did to piss off the sun, but she's seriously mad. So mad, in fact, that her serious flare and radiation storm last night was the largest one of its kind since 2006. Time to get my anti-solar-flare suit out of the cellar!
The sun's projectile solar spit-up spewed out at 1:41 a.m. EST and it's heading our way at 3.1 million miles an hour. If Earth is 93 miles away from the sun ... carry the one ... we could be seeing some effects around 6 p.m. EST. (Somebody check my math, please.)
So what can we expect?
NASA isn't too too worried. The sun's coronal mass ejection (or CME) will come near Earth, but it won't be a direct hit. So it won't be raining fire anytime soon is what they're saying. The CME will likely cause auroras (nature's most awesome light show) and could possibly disrupt satellites and Earth's power grid, but nothing more serious than that is expected.
If you've got a flight planned for tonight that flies close to either pole, your plane will likely be re-routed. And if you rely 100% on GPS directions when driving, bring a map in case the satellites are down.
I have to be honest, I wanted more from this solar flare. A little more drama. Don't want anyone to get hurt, but would it have killed the Sun to spew a shower of flames over the ocean or something? I feel like I deserve a shirt that says "The Sun Omitted a CME and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt."
Since it's not likely I'll see anything remotely triggered by the sun's solar flare (boo), at least NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory got some truly fantastic photos, not to mention an amazing video, of the sun storm. If you can pause for 1:12 in the name of science and beauty, watch the video of the CME below. In the meantime, stay cool!
What do you think -- quite beautiful, no?
Photo via YouTube