A huge solar flare erupted from the surface of the sun on Wednesday. This powerful solar storm has prompted a geomagnetic storm watch along the eastern seaboard, suggesting that the moon may be cued for a partial lunar eclipse on Halloween.
“At this time, all indications are that the best opportunity for a partial lunar eclipse will occur after midnight on Monday, October 29, with the moon setting near midnight,” NASA said.
The huge flare is also expected to release some potent X-rays, which have properties of penetrating through Earth’s atmosphere.
So to get an idea of the kind of sky show to expect in the US in the days and weeks following the big solar storm, go to ScienceOnline.org and take a look at this simulation of a partial lunar eclipse. For more, go to NASA’s sun page, where you can see the yellow tinge that will fall across the partial lunar eclipse.
Data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory, during its observation on Wednesday, will also give us some indication of what happens to Earth’s radiation shield after a solar storm. This shield has to be updated each time we get a solar storm.
You can find the watch through NASA’s Space Weather page. Just click on the date it covers.
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A Solar Cycle 26 solar flare is a major event. The number corresponds to an orbital cycle in which our solar system operates. Solar cycles are produced by the sun’s 11-year activity cycle, with a Solar Cycle 26 predicted to last until at least 2024.
The last burst of activity from the sun caused an extremely bright bubble to shoot out of the sun in April of this year.