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Published on Jan 23, 2012
The Chinese New Year certainly started with a bang this morning. At approx. 04:00 UT a strong and long duration M8.7-class solar flare exploded from Active Region 1402.
NASA SDO captured this event and thanks to ESA/NASA SOHO and NASA STEREO Behind spacecrafts, we have also learned of a very quick moving Coronal Mass Ejection. The CME is traveling at approx. 2,200 km per second and the Goddard Space Weather Lab predicts the arrival of this CME on earth to be January 24, 2012 at approx. 14:18 UT (+/- 7 hours).
It also shows that Mars will get hit too, several hours after Earth.
These kinds of events can cause problems for spacecrafts in geosynchronous, polar and other orbits passing could be affected by the cloud's arrival. In addition, strong geomagnetic storms are possible, so high-latitude sky watchers should be alert for Aurorae.