X-flare yesterday, aurora alert this weekend

Aurora alert: A red-colored sun with a few short, wiggly white lines in a bunch on it.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Brian Ottum (astrotopicsdaily on Instagram) told EarthSky: “I’ve been looking at the sun for 46 years and have never seen anything like these brilliant white snakes on the surface of the sun! It’s an X-class solar flare, a major event that could possibly cause planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. To my eye, it looked like the surface cracked open to reveal the blindingly white hot interior. We should expect some northern lights, so pay attention.” Thank you, Brian! What an awesome catch. An aurora alert has been issued for this weekend.

Aurora alert!

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a 48-hour magnetic storm watch. By U.S. clocks, the watch began late in the day on October 28, 2021, following an X-flare from a solar active region (AR2887) that took place at 15:35 UTC. The blast created a massive wave of plasma that rippled across the sun’s disk. said a strong G3-class geomagnetic storm is possible on October 30 (that might be Saturday morning, October 30). That’s when the coronal mass ejection (CME) from yesterday’s X1 flare should begin striking Earth’s magnetic field. SpaceWeather said:

Such storms can spark auroras visible to the unaided eye as far south as Illinois and Oregon (typically 50 degrees geomagnetic latitude) and photographic auroras at even lower latitudes. Lesser G1 and G2-class storms could persist through Halloween as Earth passes through the CME’s wake.

 The 2022 lunar calendars are here. Order yours before they’re gone!

Sun is obscured by a disk. White clouds and tiny streaks billow outward from the hidden sun.
A coronal mass ejection (CME) launched into space on October 28, 2021, by exploding sunspot AR2887 is heading almost directly for Earth. SOHO coronagraphs recorded the CME racing away from the sun faster than 1260 km/s (2.8 million mph). Image and caption via

So start watching at nightfall Friday evening, October 29, and watch throughout the night and through the weekend!

Solar Cycle 25 is heating up!

Check for the latest on the incoming CME and auroras

Speckly yellow ground with dark spots ringed with orange.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Michael Teoh at Heng Ee Observatory in Penang, Malaysia, caught AR2887 on October 28, 2021, shortly before it produced its X-flare. Michael wrote: “Transparency was not great with a thin layer of high clouds, but given that the sunspot AR2887 is transiting today, I decided to give it a try, and the seeing was surprisingly good.” Nice catch, Michael! Thanks for posting.

Bottom line: Aurora alert. Possible good displays of the aurora borealis beginning the evening of October 29, 2021, and lasting through the weekend.

October 29, 2021

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Deborah Byrd

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