Solar flare measured X9.3 on scale.A powerful solar flare erupted on the surface of the sun Wednesday, disrupting radio communications. A powerful solar flare erupted on the surface of the sun Wednesday, disrupting radio communications. (Helioviewer/NASA)
Two powerful solar flares erupted from the surface of the Sun on Wednesday, disrupting radio communications on Earth’s day side. And we might see some other effects in the coming days, mainly in the form of northern lights.
Sun Unleashes Monster Solar Flare, Strongest in a Decade disrupting radio communications.
Source Cosmos News
Strong M7.4 Flare & Earth Directed CME / Radio Blackout Over Europe, Africa and the Indian Ocean
On Sept. 7th at 1015 UT, sunspot AR2673 unleashed a strong M7.4 class solar flare. The large explosion produced an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME). X-rays and UV radiation from the blast ionized the top of Earth’s atmosphere, causing a strong shortwave radio blackout over Europe, Africa and the Indian Ocean.
Incoming! CME On Its Way Toward Earth – G3, S1 Storm Alert / Radio Blackout Impacts
WAITING FOR GEOMAGNETIC STORMS: A CME struck Earth’s magnetic field during the late hours of Sept. 6th. So far the impact has done little to stoke strong geomagnetic activity. Another CME is on the way, however, and it is more potent, having been accelerated in our direction by yesterday’s powerful X9-class solar flare. NOAA forecasters say strong G3-class geomagnetic storms are possible on Sept. 8th when the inbound CME arrives On Sept. 6th at 1202 UT, sunspot AR2673 unleashed a major X9.3-class solar flare–the strongest solar flare in more than a decade. X-rays and UV radiation from the blast ionized the top of Earth’s atmosphere, causing a strong shortwave radio blackout over Europe, Africa and the Atlantic Ocean. Coronagraph images from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory confirm that the explosion also produced a coronal mass ejection (CME) with an Earth-directed component. The CME will probably reach our planet on Sept. 8th, bringing with it a chance of G2- or G3-class geomagnetic storms.
Two powerful solar flares erupted from the surface of the sun on Wednesday, disrupting radio communications on Earth’s day side. And we might see some other effects in the coming days, mainly in the form of northern lights.
Solar flares occur in cooler regions of the sun, called sunspots. Like Earth, the sun has a magnetic field, sort of like a looped rubber band: at one end is the south pole, the other the north. And as the sun rotates, magnetic loops become wrapped, becoming tighter and tighter as they twist. If they become too entangled, the stored energy is released in the form of a solar flare.
These flares are measured on a scale from one to nine in C, M and X classes, with X being the most powerful.
On Wednesday, two solar flares erupted from sunspot region 2673: an X9.3 flare followed by a an X2.2 flare. The last such powerful X-class flare was 9.0 on Dec. 5, 2006.
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Heads up! Chance to see northern lights on Wednesday night
The flares were powerful enough to cause radio disruptions on the day side of Earth but will continue to disrupt HAM radio communications into the night, space meteorologist Tamitha Skov said in a Periscope Live video.
Solar flares most often produce a secondary effect called a coronal mass ejection, or CME. This is a huge cloud of magnetized particles that travels along the solar wind at incredible speeds, sometimes hundreds of kilometres a second or as fast as thousands of kilometres per second.
If Earth is in the CME’s path, the particles interact with our magnetic field. While we’re treated to a fantastic light show in the form of the northern lights (which are expected tonight, due to a CME that left the sun on Tuesday), powerful CMEs can cause power grid disruptions. In March 1989, such an event knocked out power to much of Quebec.
While a CME did erupt in the wake of these two solar flares, NASA is still trying to analyze whether or not Earth is in its path.
Today’s X9.33 event was the strongest flare of this solar cycle. STEREO A coronagraph imagery shows the CME.
“Radio emissions suggest a coronal mass ejection (CME) may be associated with the X9.3 flare,” they wrote as of Wednesday morning eastern time. “But we await SOHO/LASCO coronagraph imagery for confirmation.”
The most powerful event to effect Earth on record is the Carrington Event, named after Richard Carrington, an amateur astronomer who witnessed a solar flare (estimated to be an X10) while sketching sunspots in England in 1859. Less than 12 hours later, northern lights so bright that people were said to have heard birds chirping, were seen; telegraphs failed with some catching fire.
A 2014 study concluded that Earth narrowly missed a powerful CME in July 2012 that would have rivalled the Carrington Event, in terms of its effects felt, though the flare associated with it was not the strongest recorded.
The most most powerful X-class flare was an incredible X28 (which is the limit of the measuring devices) on Nov. 4, 2003. SOurce Cosmos News
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