New region of sun spitting out flares

June 15, 2012 at 4:10 PM
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GREENBELT, Md., June 15 (UPI) -- An active region on the sun that rotated into view of the Earth Sunday has fired off two flares and two coronal mass ejections, U.S. scientists say.

The first flare lasted for a relatively long 3 hours, peaking at 9:17 a.m. EDT Wednesday, the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center reported.

The associated CME left the sun at approximately 375 miles per second and is directed toward Earth, although because of its relatively slow speed the effect on Earth is expected to be minimal, the center said.

The second M-class flare was also a long-duration event and peaked at 10:08 a.m. EDT Thursday.

The CME associated with this flare is traveling much faster -- preliminary analysis at Goddard's Space Weather Center indicates speeds of approximately 800 miles per second -- and is heading toward Earth and could also affect Mars and the Spitzer spacecraft, the center said.

The Space Weather Center models estimate both CMEs will arrive at the Earth Saturday.

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