This week, since November 1, the Sun has produced three of the explosions scientists call coronal mass ejections (CMEs), Space.com reported.
CME can be defined as a massive eruption of solar particles resulting from intense eruptions from the Sun directed directly at Earth.
CMEs project balls of gas and magnetic fields into space, often from sunspots, which are nodes in the Sun’s magnetic field. On November 1 and 2, a sunspot designated AR2887 set off two of these explosions. Then, later that day on November 2, a second sunspot called AR2891 also produced a CME.
This third explosion, called a “cannibal,” travels faster than its two predecessors, so it swept through an entire previous CME and part of the other, according to SpaceWeather.com monitors.
All three CMEs have more or less headed for Earth, and scientists are predicting that the resulting large CME will arrive on Earth and produce geomagnetic storms from Thursday, according to the report.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), which tracks CMEs and similar events, declared a minor geomagnetic storm watch for Wednesday and a moderate watch for Thursday.
Following these storms, SWPC warned of potential fluctuations in the power grid and irregularities in the orientation of satellites. Storms can also trigger stunning Northern Lights as far south as New York City, Wisconsin and Washington, according to the prediction.
The activity of the sun is governed by a cycle of 11 years; currently the sun is in what scientists have called “solar cycle 25 ″. This cycle is expected to peak in 2025, and early forecasts suggested that it would be a fairly moderate cycle, just like its predecessor.
Last week, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured a “large solar flare” from the Sun, resulting in disruption of GPS signals on Earth as well as supercharged Northern Lights.
The Sun emitted an X1 class eruption, the most intense to date, NASA said in a statement Friday.
“POW! The sun has just produced a powerful eruption, ”the US space agency said in a tweet.
The X1-class eruption caused a temporary, but strong, radio outage on the sunny side of Earth, centered over South America, according to SWPC.