Sunday, Jan. 22 at 10:59 p.m. EST), NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught an extreme ultraviolet flash from a huge eruption on the sun , according to the skywatching website Spaceweather.com.The solar flare spewed from sunspot 1402, a region of the sun that has become increasingly active lately. Several NASA satellites, including the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), and the Stereo spacecraft observed the massive sun storm.According to NOAA, this is the strongest solar radiation storm since May 2005, and as a precaution, polar flights on Earth are expected to be re-routed within the next few hours, Kathy Sullivan, deputy administrator of NOAA, said today at the 92nd annual American Meteorological Society meeting in New Orleans, La.
In addition to generating stronger than normal displays of Earth's auroras (also known as the northern and southern lights), geomagnetic storms aimed directly at our planet can also disrupt satellites in orbit, cause widespread communications interference and damage other electronic infrastructures.
"There is little doubt that the cloud is heading in the general direction of Earth," Spaceweather.com announced in an alert. "A preliminary inspection of SOHO/STEREO imagery suggests that the CME will deliver a strong glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 24-25 as it sails mostly north of our planet."
There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Chile Monday afternoon, authorities there said.The U.S. Geological Survey gave the quake a preliminary magnitude of 6.2.The earthquake was about 16.5 kilometers (10 miles) deep, Chilean emergency officials said, and its epicenter was about 62 kilometers (40 miles) northeast of Concepcion, Chile.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 5.1. The epicenter was in the coastal town of Rio San Juan, about 155 miles (250 kilometers) north of the capital and 22 miles (35 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco de Macoris.