Massive Solar Storm Sweeps Over Earth_Featured_, Earth, Space Sunday, July 15th, 2012
(MSNBC) Space weather experts kept track of a solar storm that swept over our planet on Saturday, representing the fallout from a powerful solar flare earlier this week.
“The impact was not as strong as forecasters expected,” SpaceWeather.com’s Tony Phillips wrote. “Nevertheless, the blow compressed Earth’s magnetosphere and sparked a mild … geomagnetic storm.”
The solar storm originated from a massive solar flare on Thursday that included a powerful eruption on the sun, known as a coronal mass ejection, or CME. The eruption sent a wave of charged solar plasma toward Earth. The CME could amplify auroral displays, some space weather officials said.
Initial forecasts predicted the CME would arrive at Earth between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. ET, with an error margin of plus or minus seven hours. The actual timing was on the late side: SpaceWeather.com reported that the CME hit Earth’s magnetic field at about 2 p.m. ET.