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An X1.8 flare from Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011, captured here with by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) on the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). Credit: NASA/SDO/LMSAL/GOES

We’re headed for a bit of a storm this weekend. The sun has been pretty active the past couple of days and one region in particular has been releasing Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), violent and sudden releases of gas and magnetic fields.

Take a look at this video.
It shows past solar flare and CME eruptions on the sun’s surface:

That energy storm is expected to reach Earth tomorrow, Sept. 11, and/or Monday, Sept. 12, scientists say.

NASA computer models suggest that the latest CME may give a glancing blow to Earth on the morning of September 11, and might create some aurora.

So “glancing blow” equals auroras. Let’s hope it’s just auroras. NASA says that the most recent flare – the fourth in the past week – was considered “moderate.” Additional information is not available.

Pretty sure NASA is utilizing its ability to predict where these solar storms are headed. Read more about that in an earlier Space Oddities post.

However, if a fairly large CME was headed toward Earth, would NASA let us know the full extent of the situation? A large CME could affect our satellites and power grids. Some believe a massive one could send us back into the Stone Age. Scary.

Browsing some solar flare video, I stumbled upon a Youtube video that suggests a correlation between CMEs and earthquakes on Earth. I ignored it, but then I realized that there had been a 6.7-magnitude earthquake yesterday in Vancover Island, Canada. It is a northern region.

This weekend should be the perfect time to test out that CME theory. We’ll see what happens.

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