Due to a complex and unusual magnetic eruption on the sun, there is a large cloud of electrically charged particles zooming towards the Earth. When this cloud hits the atmosphere it may spark aurora near the poles and could pose a slight threat to satellites.
Sunspot 1092, monitored by NASA erupted into a small solar flare on August 1, 2010. This in itself is fairly normal, or to be expected and wouldn’t have caused any concern except that at the same time a large filament of cool gas which was spread across the northern hemisphere of the sun exploded into space.
Images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (a part of NASA) show the possibility of a shock wave traveling from the flare into the gas filament. Len Culhane, solar physicist at Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London says “These are two distinct phenomena but they are obviously related.” Despite the hundreds of thousands of kilometers between these two events, there is a good chance that they are linked.
This eruption is not very large, and is not expected to disrupt power grids, satellites of the activities on the International Space Station. However this eruption is directed right at the Earth and astronomer Leon Golub said that “It’s the first major Earth-directed eruption in quite some time.”
There is a possibility of brilliant auroral displays on Tuesday night, which is expected to be an amazing light show. If you plan to view this phenomenon you may want to get away from the city lights and keep your eyes on the northern sky. There is no possible way to predict exactly why the wave will hit, but when it does, you won’t want to miss it.
Sun experts say that the sun is rousing from an “unusually extended period of quiet”, if the activity continues to rise as expected, within three or four years these sorts of eruptions will be a normal occurrence. Many doomsayers claim that the sun is on schedule for an apocalypse in 2012 or 2013, but all signs point to this being a normal part of a normal sun cycle.