NASA Update: Solar Storm reaches EarthPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- The sun erupted with a large solar flare at 7 p.m. EST Tuesday evening. About an hour later, at 8:14 p.m. EST, another smaller, but still sizable flare was released in the same region of the sun. This solar activity has piqued the interest of scientests and astronomers around the world this week.
NASA officials monitor solar activity closely, watching for the posibility of geomagnetic storms that can damage satellites and interfere with communication systems on Earth.
Solar flares produce a type of solar wind called a coronal mass ejection (CME). The two CME's from Tuesday's eruption reached a NASA satellite at 5:42 AM EST Thursday morning. The NASA satellite sits just outside of Earth's magnetosphere.
As magnetic fields from the CMEs connected up to the magnetosphere, instruments on Earth began to measure changes in our planet's magnetic fields, which signaled the onset of a geomagnetic storm. NASA has classified it as a minor storm, rating it G1 on a scale of G1 to G5.