Plasma from the outer atmosphere of the Sun is forecasted to strike a glancing blow to the Earth on 3 July.


The filament eruption observed on 29 June. (Image Credit: NASA/SOHO/LASCO).

New Delhi: A large filament has lifted off from the corona or outer atmosphere of the Sun on 29 June, with the associated coronal mass ejection (CME) likely to strike a glancing blow to the Earth on 03 July, causing geomagnetic storming. The bright spot towards the top left of the image above is the planet Venus, which is presently close to the Sun. This event is distinct from a fragment of the Sun clipping the Earth over the weekend, and causing a G3 or strong geomagnetic storm on 28 June, when a minor geomagnetic storm was forecasted base don initial analysis of a filament eruption on 24 June.

During CMEs, hot gas or plasma from the outer atmosphere of the Sun is violently dumped outward into the Solar System. This material travels at different speeds depending on the intensity of the outburst, and strikes the Earth days later. The material carries with it the magnetic field of the Sun, and cause geomagnetic disturbances on encountering planetary magnetic fields, such as those of the Earth. The geomagnetic disturbances can last for days, even weeks. In May, a number of CMEs merged together to cause the most intense geomagnetic storm in 20 years.

The undying monster cluster is quiescent

On 29 June, the Sun also erupted in another CME that will be missing the Earth. Both the CMEs were associated with a active region (AR) or sunspot cluster designated as AR 3719, which is in the process of rotating out of view of the Earth, and will not pose any danger to Earth in the future. The violent and long-lasting cluster AR 3723 is aimed straight at the Earth, and remains magnetically complex, but has not fired off any major flares since a near X-class flare announcing is return for the third time. The Sun has fired only C-class flares over the last two days.

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