Major flare warning! Sunspot AR2860 is big, angry, and facing Earth… If current trends continue, a major X-flare could be in the offing


Sunspot AR2860 is big…

Sunspot AR2860 is big
Sunspot AR2860 is big. Picture by Eduardo Schaberger Poupeau

Sunspot AR2860 is angry…

Sunspot AR2860 is angry
Sunspot AR2860 is angry. Picture: NASA

And Sunspot AR2860 is directly facing Earth.

Sunspot AR2860 is facing earth
Sunspot AR2860 is facing Earth. Picture: NASA

The active region just unleashed a significant M4.7-class solar flare (Aug. 28 @ 0611 UT), probably hurling a CME toward Earth:

significant M4.7-class solar flare august 28 2021
Sunspot AR2860: Significant M4.7-class solar flare on August 28, 2021

If current trends continue, a major X-flare could be in the offing…

Solar tsunami and CME on August 26, 2021

Sunspot AR2859 erupted on Aug. 26th, producing a C3-class solar flare:

solar flare august 26 2021
Solar flare on August 26, 2021. Picture via NASA

The flare, however, was not the main attraction. The eruption also caused a massive “solar tsunami.” Watch the shadowy wave ripple across the sun in this false-color ultraviolet movie from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory:

The expanding circular shadow is a wave of hot plasma and magnetism. Based on the time it took to reach the next sunspot, halfway around the sun, the tsunami was traveling faster than 110,000 mph.

Solar tsumanis always herald a CME, and this one was no exception. Soon after the tsunami broke, SOHO coronagraphs detected a plasma cloud leaving the sun:

cme august 26 2021
cme on August 26, 2021. Picture via NASA

NOAA analysts have modeled the CME’s trajectory and predict an Earth impact during the late hours of Aug. 29th, possibly sparking G1-class geomagnetic storms through midday on Aug. 30th.

Solar radio burst

When sunspot AR2659 exploded on Aug. 26th, shortwave loudspeakers on the dayside of Earth erupted with static:

solar radio burst august 26 2021
Solar radio burst on August 26, 2021. Picture via Ashcraft

Take another look at the “solar tsunami,” above. Much of the static Ashcraft recorded is caused by that shock wave rippling through the sun’s atmosphere.

Plasma waves in the ionized corona naturally emit radio noise. Ham radio operators, military radar installations, and radio astronomers have been picking up these sounds since the 1940s.

Stay tuned for more… [SpaceWeather]

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