On this Valentines day, our home star has blown us a kiss in the form of a Coronal Mass Ejection or CME for short.
This big mass of solar energy was emitted on Monday, during a 6 hour long explosion. The blast of energy was ejected after a sunspot exploded causing the CME. It has been hurling towards the earth and should impact us late tonight or early Thursday morning.
The video clip is from a satellite that constantly observes the sun to detect just such explosions. You are looking at the sun through a special filter blocking out much of the visible light. You can see the clip goes from no activity to a huge eruption of energy. That is your classic CME. That's not all....That energy could tag team with a stream of solar wind that was already making its way towards us. If they combine forces, the CME could hit the earth's magnetic field with an extra hard punch.
What does this mean for us?
Because we do have a protective shield that envelopes the planet, all the solar energy should be deflected and pushed towards the poles. As the energy dissipates, it forms the Northern Lights. They may be visible from the US-Canada border to points north.
That same CME blast could impact communication satellites, causing some interruptions in your cell phone services, Internet providers, and sat TV programming.
The data and video clip courtesy of Spaceweather.com