March 13, 2023:
Something big just happened on the farside of the sun. During the early hours of March 13th, SOHO coronagraphs recorded a farside halo CME leaving the sun faster than 3000 km/s:
Because of its extreme speed, this CME is classified as „extremely rare,“ a fast-mover that occurs only once every decade or so. A NASA model of the event shows the CME heading almost directly away from Earth. Good thing!
Although the CME was not Earth-directed, it has nevertheless touched our planet. See all the snowy dots and streaks in the coronagraph movie above? Those are energetic particles accelerated by shock waves in the CME. They create short-lived luminous speckles when they hit SOHO’s digital camera.
NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite has detected the particles reaching Earth–all from the CME’s backside. Imagine what a frontside blast would have been like. Earth’s magnetic field is funneling the particles toward the poles where a type of radio blackout is underway–a polar cap absorption (PCA) event:
Note the broad red areas.
Airplanes flying over these regions may find that their shortwave radios won’t work due to the ionizing effect of infalling protons. This PCA could persist for a day or more. You can monitor its progress here.
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