Major Series Of Solar Flares To Have Minimal Impact On Earth Early Tomorrow
The Sun has sent significant M-class solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections towards Earth each of the last three days and the most recent is bigger and faster than all of them. Today's flare is expected to catch up with the other two and the combined cloud is predicted to hit Earth tomorrow (August 5) at 13:55 UTC (8:55 AM EDT, 5:55 AM EDT) plus or minus seven hours according to the SpaceWeather.com website.
However, NASA Spokesperson, Susan Hendrix of the Heliophysics Science Division says that the latest computer models indicate that Earth will receive only a glancing blow during this solar storm. Hendrix said that these flares would have had a significant impact on Earth if they hit it directly, but the current models suggest that the only noticeable impact might be visible auroras as far south as the extreme northern portion of the United States.
Concerns about a threat to solar satellite observatory Stereo A located ahead of Earth in orbit around the Sun have also been reduced as the latest models indicate that the bulk of the 'horseshoe' shaped cloud of solar material will travel between the Earth and Stereo A.
All of the recent solar flares have erupted from the solar sunspot labeled '1261' and more could occur from this region; however, the Sun's rotation is taking the solar sunspot toward the eastern rim of the Sun and will not be facing Earth in a few days. The Sun is in a new Solar Maximum period that has only had one sunspot free day in 2011, compared to 51 sunspot free days in 2010 and 260 days in 2009.