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The Sun strikes again
Posted: 10 August 2010

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The Earth's magnetosphere could receive a glancing blow from an M-Class flare that erupted from the Sun on 7 August, possibly lighting up the skies with aurora again tonight or tomorrow.

The Sun today. A new sunspot is emerging on the left limb in this image. Sunspot 1093 is now in the centre of the disc. Image: SOHO (ESA & NASA).

M-class flares rate as 'medium-sized' and have the potential to cause brief radio blackouts in Earth's polar regions. This particular flare produced intense radio bursts strong enough to be picked up in receivers on Earth.

The flare erupted at 1825 UT on 7 August from sunspot 1093 and was observed by various spacecraft. The latest data from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) show that part of the coronal mass ejection (CME) is headed our way, and may interact with the Earth's magnetosphere more strongly than first imagined.

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