CME TARGETS EARTH: New sunspot 1387 erupted during the late hours of Christmas Day, producing an M4-class flare and hurling a CME toward Earth.
The CME is expected to deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field on Dec. 28/29 and a direct hit to the planet Mars on Dec. 30th at 1800 UT.
Using onboard radiation sensors, NASA’s Curiosity rover might be able to sense the CME when it passes the rover’s spacecraft en route to Mars. Here on Earth, NOAA forecasters estimate a 30-to-40% chance of geomagnetic stormsare expecting on Dec. 28/29 when the CME and an incoming solar wind stream (unrelated to the CME) could arrive in quick succession. R1 (Minor) radio blackouts are expected until 31 December.
The flare is part of a larger increase in activity in the Sun, which runs in 11-year cycles. It is expected to peak around 2013.
Source and author: Skyywatcher88 (youtube)