We first reported on this possibility a few days ago.

On Feb. 12th, the magnetic canopy of sunspot AR2699 exploded–for more than 6 hours. The slow-motion blast produced a C1-class solar flare and hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) almost directly toward Earth. This movie from the Solar and Heliospheric Observtory (SOHO) shows the CME leaving the sun:

The CME could arrive as early as today, although Feb 15th is more likely. NOAA forecasters say there is a 60% chance of G1-class geomagnetic storms with isolated periods of stronger G2 storming.

The effectiveness of the CME could be enhanced by a stream of solar wind that was already en route to Earth when the sunspot exploded. The solar wind is flowing from a large wedge-shaped hole in the sun’s atmosphere. If the approaching CME sweeps up material from that stream, snowplow-style, it could strike Earth’s magnetic field with extra mass and potency.

Arctic sky watchers should be alert for auroras when the CME arrives. If the coming storm intensifies to category G2, observers in northern-tier US states from Maine to Washington could see auroras as well. Stay tuned for updates.

Story via NASA’s


      • “Walter Sobchak February 14, 2018 at 11:21 am

        Hey, Walter, any particular reason you want to know where Crispin lives?
        It might be best to Just accept that Crispin might get to see some auroras.
        PS Thanks a brief world tour of waterloos.
        Once when sent to Brussels on development for a standards document(s), several co-workers eagerly decided to visit Waterloo.
        No, they were not history enthusiasts.
        After they managed to convince a cabbie to take them and rode off; John Wells, a Belgian leading the group commented that he didn’t know why they insisted on going, “there’s virtually nothing there.”
        It’s not as though any significant battle was fought at Waterloo.
        They dragged themselves back several hours later, grumbling about the cost for the taxi’s ride to Waterloo.
        [Odd reaction. The mod spent a full day in the museum underground the battlefield of Waterloo, and hours the day before tracing the movements of the armies before and after the battle. Seems a Belgium who does think nothing interesting is there might live to be re-conquered several times in the future. .mod]

      • From Wiki:,_Belgium
        The placename is of Brabantian Dutch origin. The first element is most likely water, but it should be understood locally as “wet”. The second element is lo(o), an ancient word for “forest” or “clearing in a forest”, coming from the Latin words lucus (forest) or lucum (clearing in a forest), or Common Germanic lauh- (Frankish lēah), cognate with the English placename suffix -ley. The early settlement was located on a marshy clearing in the Sonian Forest.
        If someone in my country doesn’t know what has happened in Waterloo, he forgot that he once was in elementary school, as that is part of every history book and school excursion, at least in my youth… If Napoleon wasn’t defeated then, most of Europe would now be part of France…

    • Waterloo
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      Waterloo most commonly refers to:
      Battle of Waterloo, a battle on 18 June 1815 in which Napoleon met his final defeat
      Waterloo, Belgium, a municipality in Belgium from which the battle took its name
      Waterloo in popular culture, the notion of ultimate or final defeat
      Waterloo may also refer to:
      King George Island or Waterloo, one of the South Shetland Islands
      Waterloo, New South Wales
      Waterloo, Queensland, a locality in the Bundaberg Region
      Waterloo, South Australia
      Waterloo, Victoria
      Waterloo, Western Australia
      Waterloo, Nova Scotia
      Regional Municipality of Waterloo, a region in Ontario
      Waterloo, Ontario, a city
      Waterloo (electoral district)
      Waterloo, Quebec
      Hong Kong
      Waterloo Road, Kowloon
      New Zealand
      Waterloo, New Zealand
      Sierra Leone
      Waterloo, Sierra Leone
      United Kingdom
      Waterloo Memorial, another name for Wellington’s Column in Liverpool
      Waterloo Bridge, London
      Waterloo, Caerphilly
      Waterloo, Dorset
      Waterloo, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
      Waterloo, London, a district of London
      Waterloo, North Lanarkshire, a suburb of Wishaw
      Waterloo, Perth and Kinross
      Waterloo Road, London
      Waterloo, Merseyside
      Waterloo (UK Parliament constituency)
      Waterloo Monument, a 150-foot memorial to the battle in the Scottish Borders
      Waterlooville, Hampshire
      United States
      Waterloo, Alabama
      Waterloo, California
      Waterloo, Illinois
      Waterloo Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)
      Waterloo, Indiana, in DeKalb County
      Waterloo, Fayette County, Indiana
      Waterloo, Johnson County, Indiana
      Waterloo, Iowa
      Waterloo, Kansas
      Waterloo, Louisiana
      Waterloo (Princess Anne, Maryland), a 1750 historic home in Princess Anne, Somerset County, Maryland
      Waterloo State Recreation Area, a state park in Michigan
      Waterloo, Clark County, Missouri, an unincorporated community
      Waterloo, Lafayette County, Missouri, an unincorporated community
      Waterloo, Montana
      Waterloo, Nebraska
      Waterloo, New Hampshire
      Waterloo Historic District (Warner, New Hampshire)
      Waterloo, Monmouth County, New Jersey
      Waterloo Village, New Jersey
      Waterloo, Luna County, New Mexico, a ghost town
      Waterloo (town), New York
      Waterloo (village), New York
      Waterloo (Albertson, North Carolina), NRHP-listed in Duplin County
      Waterloo, Ohio
      Waterloo, Oregon
      Waterloo, South Carolina
      Waterloo, Texas (former name for Austin, Texas)
      Waterloo, Clarke County, Virginia
      Waterloo, Fauquier County, Virginia
      Waterloo, New Kent County, Virginia
      Waterloo, West Virginia
      Waterloo, Grant County, Wisconsin, a town
      Waterloo, Jefferson County, Wisconsin, a town
      Waterloo, Wisconsin, a city within the town of Waterloo in Jefferson County
      Waterloo Downtown Historic District, NRHP-listed in Jefferson County

  1. What metrics/measurements are used to categorize/predict the effect of this CME when it reaches the earth?

  2. Crispin: A C1 flare ( very small in relation to some others we saw in the last years, C means “common” and 1 is the lowest possible in this class) in this only very weak geoeffective position on the sun: Please don’t be too disappointed! An impressive Aurora in Waterloo is not very likely.

  3. Another Forebush decrease for Dr. Svensmark Results in cloud cover (lessening) in about 6 days, for a period of about a week.

  4. This morning I needed to scan for my favourite radio station 2GB when using my daughters car. Instead of the usual dozen stations there were hundreds of them, mostly crackly. Weird. Could this be caused by the storm?

    • It’s a little surprising. You would expect the ionosphere to be thickened and improve skip propagation for short wave and vhf. 2GB is AM broadcast band and skip isn’t as important.

      • My experience is AM broadcast radio is about 1 meg herz, and I got best skip in winter when ionosphere layer was high. So wavelength pretty long compared to most “ham” freqs and orders of magnitude compared with cell phones, sat tv, gps, radar.
        Built my first radio as a ten year old in 1953. Simple crystal doofer but then transistors came out next year and things got really neat, although most stuff still used tubes.
        Gums sends…

      • While groundwave is the most important propogation path for Medium wave, propogation by ionospheric pathway is still significant.

    • I’m just down the road from Crispin in Waterloo. The AM reception in my car (the only AM receiver I use any more) was unremarkable when I tried it a while ago.
      Some things occur to me:
      The radio in your daughter’s car may be unfamiliar to you and not behave the way you expect.
      Atmospheric conditions (independent of the ionosphere) can affect AM broadcast band propagation. link You could actually be receiving signals that you wouldn’t normally receive.
      We’re on opposite sides of the planet. Propagation conditions are probably different.
      Having said all the above, I still don’t think the reception you experienced was due to the CME.

    • In the film “White Hunter, Black Heart” (1990) Clint Eastwood plays director John Huston in Africa to shoot “The African Queen”. Huston and the crew’s bush pilot conspire to scare the bejeezus out of a young screenwriter. The pilot pretends to barely be able to control the airplane. Huston yawns, pulls his hat down over his eyes, and tells the screenwriter “I’m going to catch some shut-eye, kid. But be sure to wake me up if we’re about to crash. I sure wouldn’t want to miss that!”

  5. I like the site ““ for solar flair information. The lower right side is a day by day summery of solar activity.

    • Few years back local feminists tried to bring forth a tragedy that hit hardest young women in Finland in 1945. There was not enough men to marry, so some young women chose to marry older veterans of war that often had serious mental issues in addition to being violent.
      So to put it blunt, the news was basically ‘a lot of young men dead, women and children hardest hit’
      I don’t know if they ever realized the irony.

  6. I visit the Russian web site for my solar information as it is quite comprehensive and updated regularly.
    Albert Brand

  7. At home, there is a reliable way to tell when the CME hits your neighborhood.
    All the refrigerator magnets fall off.

  8. The article headline should be “Sunspot zit pops, nothing burger for Earth”. Journalists used to get paid for worthwhile nse, now they get paid by the click, so the more incredulous their story, the better. Facts, not so much.

  9. We need not worry about such sunbursts… it’s happened before & NASA put out this video a few years ago to explain how CO2 & NO in the upper atmosphere protect us, acting as a natural atmospheric thermostat. According to NASA, CO2 & NO are two natural efficient atmospheric coolants. Enjoy this video:

  10. Scientists directly observe electron dynamics of the Northern Lights
    Pulsating aurora, the origin of the blinking patches of light, is now directly observed by the ERG spacecraft. Electrons in the magnetosphere, which usually bounce along the geomagnetic field, are thought to be scattered by chorus waves, resulting in precipitation into the atmosphere. The intermittent bursts of chorus waves cause the pulsations of precipitation and associated auroral illumination. The ERG spacecraft showed that this electron scattering by chorus waves indeed takes place in the magnetosphere. Credit: 2018 ERG science team.

  11. Several technical questions:
    – The sun is gaseous, but rotates rapidly (compared to the speed of the earth’s rotation around it) .
    – The ejected gasses and particles are very fast, but slow compared to the 8 minutes that it takes light and radiation energy to reach earth’s orbit.
    – Compared to all of the above, (the sun, gasses, ejected particles, or the light and energy radiation), the earth will appear stationary in space.
    Assume you are looking “down” on to the solar system. Flare was filed at the edge of the sun’s image, so the actually trajectory of the ejected matter is near-perpendicular to the easrth’s current position on Feb 12. Those particles will miss the earth – this time.
    But there is a near-circular “blast” around the base of the flare. Less matter, but that blast wave IS spherical and WILL hit the earth’s position in orbit regardless of where in orbit the earth is. How many fewer particles/energy are in the blast, compared to the matter in the flare itself? With the inverse square attenuation, will this blast matter, since the flare’s matter cannot hit us. (This time.)
    If we can only “film” the flare because it was on the edge of the sun when the flare happened, can we sense a flare if it is directed at us when it would hit the earth?
    The ejected matter mas mass (obviously) and was ejected over a matter of several hours (?)
    or days. Because the sun is rotating so fast, the ejected matter will spread out and follow a “curved arc” as it travels out towards earth (like a garden spun slowly in a circle). How many days/hours will it take the majority of the flared mass to reach earth’s orbit?

  12. For me, spectacular sky events, be they auroras, meteors, comets, whatever, are 9 times out of 10 met with a cloudy sky. Won’t see any of this and probably not the next one either.

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