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A group of sunspots have formed themselves into a straight line (June 23, 2009), a kind of alignment rarely seen. We have not even seen many sunspots lately at all, let alone in a fairly straight line. Scientists with SOHO agree that it is unusual for sunspots to be grouped like this. Their magnetic orientation shows that they belong to spots of the new 24th solar cycle.
If a CME occurs near disk center [within some 30 degrees, it will hit the Earth]. And will have some effect, but for a really big effect, the magnetic field within the CME has to be directed to the South. That is much harder to gauge and I don't know of any reliable way of doing that. Energetic particles from flares are most likely to hit us if the flare happens on the Western hemisphere of the Sun, because they follow the magnetic field lines and those that connect with the Earth come from 45 degrees to the West of the disk center. - Show quoted text -