On Sunday, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory detected a complex magnetic eruption on the sun. The NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) also spotted a large coronal mass ejection (CME) The eruption happened around (3:50 am EST), the SDO detected a C3 class solar flare originating from a group of sunspots (called sunspot 1092). The flare itself was not that large, but the filament located about 70,000 miles away erupted at the same time.
A filament is a large, bright feature extending outward from the Sun's surface, often in a loop shape. Filament is anchored to the Sun's surface in the photosphere, and extends outward into the Sun's corona. It is a long magnetic structure rising above the surface of the sun, filled with cool plasma. The flare and filament erupted at the same time, this suggests they are connected by long-range magnetic field lines. Some believe the flare may have accelerated the eruption of the filament. Eventually, a giant magnetic bubble of plasma broke and blasted out into space.
The problem is, the eruption occurred on the side of the sun facing earth which means, the Coronal Mass Ejection is on its way to the planet earth. It's expected arrival is Aug. 3. This is known as a geomagnetic storm, and they have been known to cause electrical power outages and damage communications satellites. They drive shock waves which produce energetic particles that can be damaging to both electronic equipment and astronauts that venture outside the protection of the Earth's magnetic field.
Expect the government and all observatories to be on high alert.They know a CME is coming, they can probably prepare for its arrival. The reason I find this particular story interesting is because the event being discussed continues to happen more frequently, and on a larger scale than prior events of such a magnitude. Is our solar system going through a time of great change? Should we spend more time laying under the stars? We will see how this particular CME effects earth on August 3rd. It will effect the area of earth facing the sun.