Strongest X class solar flare since March 2012

From NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center and spaceweather.com: Strong Solar Flare Radio Blackout

Newly numbered Region 1990 (the return of old Region 1967), just now rotating into view, produced an R3 (Strong) Solar Flare Radio Blackout at 0049 UTC on February 25 (7:49 pm Eastern on February 24). It was an  X4.9-class solar flare. This is the most intense flare of 2014 so far, and one of the most intense of the current solar cycle. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash:

Xray[1]

Although impressive, the source of this event is well off the Sun-Earth line and the coronal mass ejection (CME) associated with this event is not headed directly at Earth.  Analysis continues to determine what, if any, geomagnetic impact this will have.  Additionally, a slow-rising S1 (Minor) Solar Radiation Storm is in progress as a result of this eruption.  This region will continue to rotate into a better position to affect Earth over the next week or so.  Stay tuned for updates.

Watch near real-time data at WUWT’s Solar Reference Page: http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/solar/

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25 thoughts on “Strongest X class solar flare since March 2012

  1. “This region will continue to rotate into a better position to affect Earth over the next week or so.”

    Does not sound very good to me.

  2. @WUWT
    > This is the most intense flare of 2014 so far,
    > and one of the most intense of the current solar cycle.

    It was the third most powerful flare of SC24, so far.

    CLASS DATE YEAR SUNSPOT REGION PEAK TIME
    —– ———— —- ——
    X6.9 – August 9 2011 (1263) @ 08:08 UTC
    X5.4 – March 7 2012 (1429) @ 00:24 UTC
    X4.9 – February 25 2014 (1990) @ 00:49 UTC
    X3.3 – November 5 2013 (1890) @ 22:12 UTC
    X3.2 – May 14 2013 (1748) @ 01:17 UTC
    X2.8 – May 13 2013 (1748) @ 16:09 UTC
    X2.3 – October 29 2013 (1875) @ 21:54 UTC
    X2.2 – February 15 2011 (1158) @ 01:56 UTC
    X2.1 – October 25 2013 (1882) @ 15:03 UTC
    X2.1 – September 6 2011 (1283) @ 01:50 UTC
    ———————————————

    :-|

  3. @me
    > … third most powerful …
    Oops, forgot to cite my source for the top-10 flares:

    http://www.solarham.net/top10.txt

    Also, since the flare took place around midnight UTC, it was visible to the radio heliograph imager located in Nobeyama, Japan. Check the movie made from 10 minute snapshots of the 10GHz RF radiation from the solar disk. (Frame #13 is the X-flare, causing severe overload of the imager)

    http://solar.nro.nao.ac.jp/norh/html/10mins/2014/02/25/movie.html

  4. @me
    > … snapshots of the 10GHz RF radiation …
    My brain said “17GHz” but my fingers wrote “10GHz”, probably from habit of writing out the neighboring solar flux frequency (10.7GHz).

  5. Questions for the audience.

    1. Are solar flare ejection points evenly distributed over the Sun’s surface or are they more prevelent around the Sun’s equator (maybe suggesting a centrifugal component to the process) ?
    2. Given that we have a spinning source, a orbiting target and a large area of ejected material, can we calculate the probability of any particular flare striking Earth?

    Thanks in advance

  6. ” jayhd says:
    February 25, 2014 at 1:26 pm
    “This region will continue to rotate into a better position to affect Earth over the next week or so.”
    Does not sound very good to me. ”
    ==================================================================
    Hey! Where’s your sense of adventure?
    Think about Northern Lights! Lot’s of ‘em!

    We’ve been having really clear nights this week and if there’s a good CME,
    with a good aim, I might get to see some Southern Lights (Aurora Australis)
    (yay!) which would be really something!

  7. @TruthSeeker
    > …Are solar flare ejection points evenly distributed over the Sun’s surface …?
    No. Flares erupt from sunspots, which have a non-uniform distribution over the 11 year solar cycle, starting at the high latitudes at the beginning of the cycle, and gradually drifting down towards the equator as the solar cycle progress. If you plot the density of sunspots by latitude over time, you get the so-called ‘butterfly diagrams’, representing the temporal-spatial distribution of spots (and also flares)

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/SolarMax/solarmax_3.php

    >…can we calculate the probability of any particular flare striking Earth?…
    Yes, but not that simply. Not all of the matter emitted by flares escapes the Sun’s gravity. Also you may be confusing flares with CME’s (coronal mass ejections), which mostly come from flares, but some also arise from non-active regions, especially during solar minima, from streamer belts around the equator.

  8. John Day says:
    February 25, 2014 at 1:56 pm
    @WUWT
    > This is the most intense flare of 2014 so far,
    > and one of the most intense of the current solar cycle.

    It was the third most powerful flare of SC24, so far.

    CLASS DATE YEAR SUNSPOT REGION PEAK TIME
    —– ———— —- ——
    X6.9 – August 9 2011 (1263) @ 08:08 UTC
    X5.4 – March 7 2012 (1429) @ 00:24 UTC
    X4.9 – February 25 2014 (1990) @ 00:49 UTC
    X3.3 – November 5 2013 (1890) @ 22:12 UTC
    X3.2 – May 14 2013 (1748) @ 01:17 UTC
    X2.8 – May 13 2013 (1748) @ 16:09 UTC
    X2.3 – October 29 2013 (1875) @ 21:54 UTC
    X2.2 – February 15 2011 (1158) @ 01:56 UTC
    X2.1 – October 25 2013 (1882) @ 15:03 UTC
    X2.1 – September 6 2011 (1283) @ 01:50 UTC
    ———————————————

    :-|

    Please note that Anthony wrote “the most intense flare of 2014 so far” and “one of the most intense of the current solar cycle”—neither of which are contradicted by the list of Top 10 flares you posted.

  9. John Day says:
    February 25, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    @me
    —————————-
    Oh, talking to yourself again, I see. Well have a nice day and watch out for the flaries!

  10. @Katherine

    Please note that Anthony wrote “the most intense flare of 2014 so far” and “one of the most intense of the current solar cycle”—neither of which are contradicted by the list of Top 10 flares you posted.

    Yes, I agree that there was no contradiction. I was merely providing additional information that I thought would interest the readership. Sorry if it sounded like a correction.

  11. @WUWT
    > Analysis continues to determine what, if any,
    > geomagnetic impact this will have.

    An immediate magnetic impulse was recorded at the time of the flare (0049Z) on Japanese magnetometers measuring the Earth’s magnetic field. The magnetometer at Kakioka shows a strong deflection due enhanced EUV and X-ray ionization of the atmosphere. The increased ionization induced a magnetic field which decreased the overall field (F) but increased the magnetic declination (D). (I.e. making the compass needles in Japan wiggle a tiny bit)

    http://www.kakioka-jma.go.jp/cgi-bin/plot/plotSetNN.pl?lang=en

    To see a plot of this magnetic impulse, click on the link above and hit the “Plot” button (but make sure the Time Selection is set to Feb 25. It’s 26 Feb now in Japan.)

  12. The Northern or Southern lights have sometimes been seen in regions that do not normally see it as a normal happening. One was used as a bad omen for medieval people when they were spotted in Hungary. Sparked panic. Hope this doesn’t spark off the alarmists for some kind of prank.

  13. John Day,

    Thank you for your responses to my questions. You are probably correct about me confusing the different types of solar events. I was referring to anything that would be noticable if it hit us.

  14. It was said that melting ice at the poles is responsible for the bending of the polar vortex this winter causing cold air to move towards the equator. The northern lights have been spectacular lately which raises the question; are geomagnetic storms really the culprit for the cold air moving into the deep south this winter?

  15. @Lee — We haven’t had geomagnetic storms comparable in magnitude to some of the “doozies” we’ve had in previous years. (IMHO, this year’s crop isn’t something to write home about).

  16. Has anybody attempted to link the frequency of natural disasters to the solar cycle? We know that space weather exists so it makes sense that it would.

  17. A Phenomenological Study of the Cosmic Ray Variations over the Past 9400 Years, and Their Implications Regarding Solar Activity and the Solar Dynamo
    Authors:
    McCracken, K. G.; Beer, J.; Steinhilber, F.; Abreu, J.
    Two 9400-year long 10Be data records from the Arctic and Antarctic and a 14C record of equal length were used to investigate the periodicities in the cosmic radiation incident on Earth throughout the past 9400 years. Fifteen significant periodicities between 40 and 2320 years are observed in the 10Be and 14C records, there being close agreement between the periodicities in each record. We found that the periodic variations in the galactic cosmic radiation are the primary cause for periods 250 years. The spectral line for the Gleissberg (87-year) periodicity is narrow, indicating a stability of ≈ 0.5 %. The 9400-year record contains 26 Grand Minima (GM) similar to the Maunder Minimum, most of which occurred as sequences of 2 – 7 GM with intervals of 800 – 1200 years in between, in which there were no GM. The intervals between the GM sequences are characterised by high values of the modulation function. Periodicities < 150 years are observed in both the GM intervals and the intervals in between. The longer-period variations such as the de Vries (208-year) cycle have high amplitudes during the GM sequences and are undetectable in between. There are three harmonically related pairs of periodicities (65 and 130 years), (75 and 150 years), and (104 and 208 years). The long periodicities at 350, 510, and 708 years closely approximate 4, 6, and 8 times the Gleissberg period (87 years). The well-established properties of cosmic-ray modulation theory and the known dependence of the heliospheric magnetic field on the solar magnetic fields lead us to speculate that the periodicities evident in the paleo-cosmic-ray record are also present in the solar magnetic fields and in the solar dynamo. The stable, narrow natures of the Gleissberg and other periodicities suggest that there is a strong "frequency control" in the solar dynamo, in strong contrast to the variable nature (8 – 15 years) of the Schwabe (11-year) solar cycle.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2013SoPh..286..609M

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