After a few days of all show and no action, that big, scenic sunspot group let loose a powerful M-class flare early yesterday evening. The blast sent a giant cloud of solar plasma — electrons and protons bundled with magnetic energy — in Earth’s direction that’s expected to arrive Sunday (July 16) around lunch time and swell into a moderate (G2) geomagnetic storm toward nightfall. Strong and long, the Thursday night’s event lasted for several hours.
As with the last storm in May, there will be no moon to lighten the sky, so if your forecast is good, be on the alert that evening. Watch for a pale green bow and rays in the northern sky toward the end of dusk.
Back to Jupiter! Here are a couple extra photos from the recent flyover of the Great Red Spot.