SUNSPOT RETURNS, EXPLODES: Old sunspot AR2644 has returned following a
2-week trip around the backside of the sun--and it is still active.
During the late hours of April 18th, the sunspot's magnetic canopy
exploded, producing a C5-class solar flare and hurling a spectacularly
bright coronal mass ejection (CME) into space. The massive cloud of hot
plasma will almost certainly miss Earth, but future explosions could be
geoeffective as the sunspot turns toward our planet. Visit
Spaceweather.com for more information and updates.
MAGNETIC STORMS: NOAA forecasters estimate a 50% chance of polar
geomagnetic storms on April 19th and 20th when a high-speed stream of
solar wind is due to reach our planet. This could spark bright Northern
Lights in the waxing spring twilight around the Arctic Circle. Monitor
the aurora gallery for sightings.