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SOLAR ACTIVITY: The magnetic canopy of big sunspot 1166 erupted on March 7th around 1400 UT, producing an M2-class solar flare and a bright coronal mass ejection (CME). Check out the image of the movie which captures the expanding plasma cloud. The CME was not squarely directed at Earth. Nevertheless, the cloud will probably deliver a glancing blow to our planet’s magnetic field on March 9th or 10th, possibly sparking polar geomagnetic storms. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Sunspots have also increased on the solar surface. –Space Weather
FAST CORONAL MASS EJECTION: A coronal mass ejection (CME) exploded from the vicinity of sunspot 1164 during the late hours of March 7th. It leapt away from the sun traveling ~2200 km/s, making it the fastest CME since Sept. 2005. A movie of the cloud prepared by Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab shows a possibly substantial Earth-directed component. This CME and at least one other could brush against Earth's magnetic field on March 10th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.