Here’s a graph of 5-minute averaged gross X-ray flux for the past couple days from the GOES satellite. Basically, it’s a graph of energy in certain wavelength bands being emitted by the Sun :

It’s logarithmic, but don’t worry about that if you don’t understand it. The letters on the right are the weight classes for coronal mass ejections, or solar flares. As and Bs are your intercontinental phone line static and X is your transformers-exploding geomagnetic superstorm.

The other day, there was a C3 class flare from Earth-facing sunspot 1092. It’s a pretty moderate size as these things go, but probably just enough to touch off the Northern Lights. But here’s the cool part. The coronal mass ejection triggered a larger solar event, ripping a huge magnetic filament off with it. I think that’s the filament across the top in the image below from SOHO.

The filament is around half a million miles long— twice the distance between Earth and the Moon— and the whole damn thing took off with the flare and heaved straight for Earth.

Fingers crossed for dark clear skies— there oughta be one hell of an aurora at the least.

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