INCOMING CME? A magnetic filament in the sun’s northern hemisphere erupted on Jan. 5th and hurled a CME in the general direction of Earth. At first it appeared that the cloud would sail north of Earth and completely miss our planet. Subsequent work by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab suggests a different outcome: the CME might deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field on Jan. 7th. Click to view an animated forecast track:

NOAA forecasters were already calling for a 40% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Jan. 7-8 in response to a high-speed solar wind stream. The arrival of a CME would boost the chances even more.