A Solar X-Ray Imager on NOAA's GOES satellite captured this image of the sun on Tuesday, January 7th. The picture shows the sun just after the maximum emission of a solar flare. This flare is the largest flare we have seen all year and is directed towards Earth.
Forecasters at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) are expecting G3 (strong) geomagnetic storm conditions to occur on Earth Jan. 9 and 10. The source of this pulse to the geomagnetic field is an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME), a burst of charged particles and magnetic field from the sun.
A sunspot produced the eruption at 1:32 p.m. EST, and remains active and is well positioned to deliver more storm activity in the next several days. NOAA’s SWPC will continue to monitor the region for activity because there are several ways that space weather affects us on a day to day basis. Even economies around the world have become increasingly vulnerable to the ever-changing nature of the sun.
A couple things that we might experience over the next few days thanks to the solar emission. Solar flares can disrupt power grids, interfere with high-frequency airline and military communications, disrupt Global Positioning System (GPS) signals, interrupt civilian communications, and blanket the Earth’s upper atmosphere with hazardous radiation.