Earth-Directed CME Expected to Arrive 19 May 2013

Hermanus, South Africa, 18-05-2013

Regional Space Weather Warning Centre at the Space Science Directorate of the South African National Space Agency.

A minor (G1) geomagnetic storm is in progress following a coronal mass ejection (CME) detected during the early hours of 18 May. Active region 1748 erupted with a M-class solar flare accompanied by another Earth-directed CME. The CME is expected to impact the Earth’s magnetic field around 1400 UTC on 19 May. This may cause disturbed geomagnetic conditions and will be monitored by the South African National Space Agency.

A CME is a massive cloud of hydrogen ions ejected from the surface of the Sun when stored energy is suddenly released.  The CME produces a cloud of high energy particles traveling at supersonic speeds (500-2000 km per second).

The effects of a CME will not harm humans and other life forms on Earth as we are protected by the Earth’s magnetic field, but it can cause disturbances to our satellite communication systems like GPS, radio communications, cell phones and DStv.  Only minor disturbances are expected at this stage.

Today’s image of the Sun shows sunspot AR1748 has a delta-class magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

For more information contact SANSA Space Science at spacesci-info@sansa.org.za or call us on +27 28 312 1196

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