Earth orbiting satellites have just detected an X1-class solar flare from Earth-facing sunspot AR2887.
The blast at 1535 UT on Oct. 28th created a massive tsunami of plasma in the sun’s atmosphere:
Coronal mass ejection (CME) related signatures
The explosion also hurled a CME into space. Coronagraph images are not yet available, but evidence for a CME is already pursuasive.
The USAF reports strong Type II and Type IV radio emissions generated by a CME plowing through the sun’s atmosphere.
In addition, energetic particles accelerated at the leading edge of a CME have already reached Earth.
When will the CME itself arrive? Assuming that it is Earth directed, probably on Oct. 30th or 31st. Fresh data from SOHO coronagraphs will allow a more precise forecast, so stay tuned.
R3: Strong Radio Blackout
During the flare, a pulse of X-rays and extreme UV radiation ionized the top of Earth’s atmosphere, causing a strong shortwave radio blackout centered on South America:
Aviators, mariners, and ham radio operators on the daylit side of Earth may have noticed strange propagation effects at frequencies below 30 MHz.
X-class solar flares
The most powerful X-class flares can interfere with radio and satellite communications and supercharge the planet’s aurora displays when they are aimed directly at Earth and accompanied by a massive eruption of solar particles, called a coronal mass ejection.
Such eruptions send charged particles out from the sun at a whopping 1 million mph (1.6 million kph) or more, and typically take a few days to reach Earth.
Sunspot AR2887 is not finished yet
Thursday’s flare originated from a sunspot called AR2887 currently positioned in the center of the sun and facing the Earth.
It has already produced two M-class flares and an X-flare today. The active region is directly facing Earth, so any additional eruptions should be geoeffective.
The coronal mass ejection from a Tuesday flare up of AR2887 could deliver a “glancing blow” to Earth sometime on Friday (Oct. 30).
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