New Solar Flare

ERUPTING FILAMENT CREATES ‘CANYON OF FIRE’, CME: A magnetic filament snaking down the middle of the solar disk erupted during the late hours of Aug. 15th. The eruption split the sun’s atmosphere, hurling a CME toward Earth and creating a “canyon of fire,” shown here in a movie recorded by the Solar Dynamics Observatory:

The glowing walls of the canyon trace the original channel where the filament was suspended by magnetic forces above the stellar surface. From end to end, the structure stretches more than 250,000 km–a real Grand Canyon.

Of greater interest to us on Earth is the coronal mass ejection (CME) which billowed away from the blast site: movie. Coronagraph images from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory show that it is a ‘halo CME.’ In other words, it is heading straight for Earth. Minor geomagnetic storms are possible when the cloud arrives during the late hours of August 18th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.