We are in the middle of a proton storm as the result of a CME today.
Feel those protons baby!
Bright CME / S1 Minor Radiation Storm:
Early this morning on Saturday, a solar filament exploded in the northwest quadrant, causing a bright Coronal Mass Ejection. The image below is captured by Lasco C2 and in the new STEREO Ahead COR2 images, it does appear that most of the explosion was directed to the west and not towards Earth. The proton levels have reached the S1 Minor Radiation Storm threshold. More to follow.
WARNING: Proton 10MeV Integral Flux above 10pfu expected
Valid From: 2011 Nov 26 1120 UTC
Valid To: 2011 Nov 26 1800 UTC
Warning Condition: Onset
Predicted NOAA Scale: S1 - Minor CME (Saturday) - SDO
CME (Saturday) - SDO
The sun is a big mass of energy. The sun produces high energy protons, and the solar wind carries these protons towards our planet. However during solar flare activity, energetic protons are blown violently outwards.. sometimes towards earth. Energetic protons can reach Earth within 30 minutes of a major flare's peak. During such an event (big ones are also known as Solar Proton Events), Earth is showered with highly energetic solar particles (primarily protons) released from the flare site. When these protons arrive at Earth and enter the atmosphere over the polar regions, much enhanced ionization is produced at altitudes below 100 km. Ionization at these low altitudes is particularly effective in absorbing HF radio signals and can render HF communications impossible throughout the polar regions. This effect is called Radio Blackouts. This type of event is also known as a Polar Cap Absorption Event or PCA.