Reversed-Polarity Sunspot Hurls a CME Toward Earth

May 7, 2023: Reversed-polarity sunspot AR3296 just did it again. The backwards active region exploded on May 7th (2234 UT), producing a long-lasting M1.5-class solar flare. The blast was squarely Earth-directed:

Extreme ultraviolet radiation from the flare ionized the top of Earth’s atmosphere, producing a minor shortwave radio blackout over the western USA and the Pacific Ocean: map. Mariners and ham radio operators may have noticed loss of signal at frequencies below 20 MHz for hours after the flare.

This explosion also hurled a CME toward Earth. SOHO coronagraphs recorded a full halo:

A NASA model of the CME predicts that it will arrive during the early hours of May 10th. The impact could cause moderate (G2) to strong (G3) geomagnetic storms. Solar flare alerts: SMS Text.

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