UN-DEAD SUNSPOT EXPLODES AGAIN: Sunspot AR2473, the source of the New Year's geomagnetic storm, appears to be in a state of advanced decay. It's not dead yet, though. During the early hours of Jan. 2nd it unleashed a strong M2-class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the explosion:
Now play the movie again and note the tornado of plasma that briefly rises up and falls back to the sun's surface. The twister was wider than our entire planet.
This explosion hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space: movie. Almost all of the storm cloud is heading away from Earth--almost all. NOAA analysts say the CME could deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 3rd with a chance of G2-class geomagnetic storms, post-impact. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras.