Monday, February 24, 2014

Breaking! X 4.9 Solar Flare From Returning Monster Sunspot 1967


Returning sunspot AR1967 unleashed a powerful X5-class solar flare on Feb. 25th at 00:57 UTC. A flare of this magnitude can cause radio blackouts on the dayside of Earth and radiation storms in the hours ahead as particles accelerated by the blast reach our planet. Stay tuned for updates abouut this possibility.

This is the most intense flare of 2014 so far, and one of the most intense of the current solar cycle. The flare's effects will be mitigated, however, by the location of the blast site, which is near the sun's southeastern limb, not facing Earth.

The source of the flare is long-lived sunspot AR1967, now beginning its third trip across the Earthside of the sun. This region was an active producer of flares during its previous transits, and it looks like the third time will be little different. By tradition, sunspots are renumbered each time they return, so AR1967 will soon have a new designation. (Update: The new name of this sunspot is AR1990.) Solar flare alerts: text, voice


Major X4.9 Solar Flare
A major solar flare measuring X4.9 was just observed around returning sunspot 1967 (newly numbered 1990) at 00:49 UTC. This just proves that you cannot judge a book by its cover. Despite appearing to be in a state of decay, the active region remains magnetically potent. A 10cm radio bust measuring 3700 sfu and lasting 85 minutes was associated with the event. The sunspot is not yet in a good geoeffective position for Earth directed eruptions. The flare is the 3rd largest X-Ray event of the current solar cycle. More updates to follow regarding a possible CME.
CME Update: As expected, a large coronal mass ejection (CME) is associated with the X4.9 Solar Flare. Click HERE for an image by LASCO C2. The plasma cloud is directed mostly to the east. Once more imagery is available, I will be able to put together an animation to determine if there is an Earth directed component.
ALERT: Type II Radio Emission
Begin Time: 2014 Feb 25 0045 UTC
Estimated Velocity: 1972 km/s
Description: Type II emissions occur in association with eruptions on the sun and typically indicate a coronal mass ejection is associated with a flare event.
SUMMARY: 10cm Radio Burst
Begin Time: 2014 Feb 25 0042 UTC
Maximum Time: 2014 Feb 25 0045 UTC
End Time: 2014 Feb 25 0107 UTC
Duration: 85 minutes
Peak Flux: 3700 sfu
Description: A 10cm radio burst indicates that the electromagnetic burst associated with a solar flare at the 10cm wavelength was double or greater than the initial 10cm radio background. This can be indicative of significant radio noise in association with a solar flare. This noise is generally short-lived but can cause interference for sensitive receivers including radar, GPS, and satellite communications.

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