Solar watch – Huge prominence eruption May 1, 2013

A spectacular prominence eruption was observed on the Sun on May 1, 2013 at 02:30 UTC. The event was classified as a farside eruption from active region located beyond eastern limb. This was the largest such event in quite some time now.

Powerful blast was unleashed into space and resulting Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) is not Earth directed. This region should rotate onto Earth facing side of the Sun in 2-3 days.

Flare probability

At 01:26 UTC, an impulsive C9.6 solar flare was detected. The event was centered around Sunspot 1730 located in the southern hemisphere.

NOAA SWPC forecasters estimated 40% chance for M-class, and 5% chance for X-class event today.

Sunspots

There are currently 7 numbered sunspot regions on the disk. Beta-Gamma-Delta classified Region 1731 is the one to watch today as it is directly facing Earth. Region 1730, also Beta-Gamma-Delta, is slowly rotating out of Earth’s view. Other than that, Regions 1732 and 1734 have Beta magnetic field and will turn directly toward Earth in the coming days.

Old Region 1719 is coming back to Earth side of the Sun and should be visible in next 2-3 days.

Geomagnetic forecast

The Bz component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) is currently tipped sharply south. This combined with a gusty solar wind could stir up geomagnetic activity at very high latitudes (SolarHam).

At 07:50 UTC today, SWPC issued the following alert:

Space Weather Message Code: WARK05
Serial Number: 833
Issue Time: 2013 May 01 0750 UTC

WARNING: Geomagnetic K-index of 5 expected
Valid From: 2013 May 01 0748 UTC
Valid To: 2013 May 01 1200 UTC
Warning Condition: Onset
NOAA Scale: G1 – Minor

Potential Impacts: Area of impact primarily poleward of 60 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.
Induced Currents – Weak power grid fluctuations can occur.
Spacecraft – Minor impact on satellite operations possible.

Aurora – Aurora may be visible at high latitudes, i.e., northern tier of the U.S. such as northern Michigan and Maine.

Featured image courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams

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