The solar flare’s associated coronal mass ejection, or CME, does not appear to be headed straight for Earth, but it could brush our planet later this week. If it does, geomagnetic storm watches or warnings may be posted, and the aurora could be vivid.
The sun has been fairly inactive over the past couple of months, except for the persistent solar wind from an Earth-facing coronal hole. While sunspots periodically erupt in electromagnetic radiation that sometimes streams toward Earth, coronal holes are massive spouts of energy that spew magnetic flux in whatever direction its pointed.
A coronal hole’s solar wind has been sparking beautiful aurora across the high latitudes over the past week or so, stretching as far south as the Midwest.
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