It’s official! The CME heading for Earth is a CANNIBAL!
Cannibal CMEs are fast coronal mass ejections that sweep up slower CMEs in front of them. Piled together, the mish-mash of CMEs contain strong magnetic fields and compressed plasmas that can do a good job sparking geomagnetic storms.
The slower CMEs, in this case, were hurled into space on Nov. 1st and 2nd by departing sunspot AR2887.
NOAA analysts plugged all the plasma clouds into a computer model, and this is what they found:
The animation shows the cannibal cloud sweeping up one whole CME and a portion of another. If NOAA’s model is correct, the combined CME will make first contact with our planet around 2300 UT on Nov. 3rd, with geomagnetic storms commencing on Nov. 4th.
A geomagnetic storm watch has been added beginning late on November 3rd when an earlier CME produced by AR2887 in combination with this full halo CME produced by an M1.7 flare around AR2891 is predicted to deliver a blow to Earths geomagnetic field. Aurora sky watchers should be alert within the next 48-72 hours. Hopefully no near misses this time around!
The model also predicts a +300 km/s increase in solar wind speed and a 5-fold jump in solar wind density in the CME’s wake. These conditions, if they materialize, would set the stage for geomagnetic storms as strong as category G2.
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