Space & Earth today, March 9, 2012 - the story continues

The active region that caused all the hassle the past day, is still in an energetic mood. It fired of another M-class light flash - solar flare peaking just after midnight (March 09). The satellite SOHO has a front view of the Sun. It detected a plasma cloud ejected into space. The cloud is heading towards Earth - a halo CME - with a speed of 750 km/s. The Earth will encounter first a shock and secondly the cloud itself, probably on March 11, early on March 12. The massy cloud has a magnetic force field embedded. The magnetic field of the cloud is probably oriented in such a way that it will interact very easy with the magnetic shield of Earth. If the interaction is strong, we are heading for another strong geomagnetic storm on March 11, early March 12.

In the mean time, we are still experiencing a geomagnetic storm due to the arrival of ejected solar mass on March 08. The storm is however not strong enough to cause aurora at our latitude (Belgium).
The Earth is also under the influence of a high energy proton and electron stream. This stream of particles blinded the satellite ACE from March 07 until March 09, 18UT (the solar wind speed measurements were not reliable). The particles are visible on the SOHO/LASCO images (red image below) as spikes and dots. It gives a cloudy view.
The magnetometer located in Dourbes shows that there is a geomagnetic storm going on. Moreover, the geomagnetic storm is felt on a planetary level. The satellite GOES counts the number of protons that fly through a surface (a span of cm²) per second. The satellite orbits the Earth outside the magnetosphere of the Earth. This SOHO/LASCO picture shows the space around the Sun. The sun is behind the circular occulter. If the sun would not be occulted, the surrounding space would be overwhelmed by the sunlight and as such not visible. SOHO/LASCO creates an artificial eclipse.
The solar mass that is ejected this morning is visible as the white structure that comes from behind the occulter in the top right.
Click on the images to enlarge.



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