Aug 4, 2010
Earth is bracing for a cosmic tsunami Tuesday night as tons of plasma from a massive solar flare head directly toward the planet.
The Sun’s surface erupted early Sunday morning, shooting a wall of ionized atoms directly at Earth, scientists say. It is expected to create a geomagnetic storm and a spectacular light show — and it could pose a threat to satellites in orbit, as well.
“This eruption is directed right at us and is expected to get here early in the day on Aug. 4,” said Leon Golub of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “It’s the first major Earth-directed eruption in quite some time.”
The solar eruption, called a coronal mass ejection, was spotted by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which captures high-definition views of the sun at a variety of wavelengths. SDO was launched in February and peers deep into the layers of the sun, investigating the mysteries of its inner workings.
This article was posted: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 3:22 am