NASA has revealed that a massive solar flare that erupted on the Sun over the weekend has hit the Earth’s magnetic field at approximately 8:15 a.m. EDT on Monday, following the impact of a coronal mass ejection (CME).
It started when an X1.9-category flare erupted from the Sunspot 1302 — a 60,000-mile-long region that NASA calls ‘behemoth’ — at 5:40 am EDT on September 24.
According to the space agency, the Goddard Space Weather Lab reported a strong compression of Earth’s magnetosphere. Simulations indicate that solar wind plasma has penetrated close to geosynchronous orbit starting at 9am.
The strong-to-severe (Kp=8) geomagnetic storm is likely to disrupt GPS signals, radio communications and power grids, although no interruptions had been reported.
It could also give sky gazers in select locations a treat, creating dazzling auroras.
The NASA video also shows a shadowy shock wave racing away from the blast site, meaning AR1302 is growing and shows no immediate signs of quieting down.