Last Thursday the sun produced an X1.9 rated solar flare that narrowly missed Earth. Although it wasn't aimed directly at us, about 45 minutes after leaving the sun it was still powerful enough to disrupt radio communications.
Now, that same area responsible for producing the X-class flare may pose a direct threat to Earth.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center says that the region on the sun known as AR11339 and affectionately called the "Benevolent Monster" will set its sights on Earth. It will move into a position that poses the largest risk to our planet around November 9th, 2011 and remain on a direct line of sight with earth for the following two (2) weeks as it rotates:
Scientists at the federal Space Weather Prediction Center say that area is the most active part of the sun since 2005. It has dozens of sunspots, including one that is the size of 17 Earths.
"It's still growing. The size is what blows me away."
Thursday's flare wasn't aimed at Earth. However, this active region is now slowly turning toward Earth, and scientists say it will be directly facing Earth in about five days.
That storm region will only affect Earth if it shoots off flares and they hit our planet, which doesn't always happen with stormy areas, said prediction center space scientist Joe Kunches.
The region will be facing Earth for about two weeks as it rotates, he said.
Solar flares send out bursts of electromagnetic energy that can occasionally disrupt communications and electrical systems.
Sourced Via The Intel Hub
We'll be facing the monster starting sometime this evening into tomorrow. Considering that it has just recently ejected an X-class flare towards Earth and another towards Venus, we should consider the region to be active and fully capable of affecting our planet.
While NOAA's warnings fall short of any imminent 'end of the world as we know it' event, the risk over the next two weeks of a Carrington-like event are higher now than at anytime in the last decade. The 1859 Carrington Event, caused by a solar flare, reportedly knocked out telegraph operations around the world. It is believed that such an event, were it to occur today, could potentially take down the U.S. power grid for months or years and paralyze the entire globe:
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