Sunspot group 1158 produces an X class solar flare

Solar expert Dr. Leif Svalgaard says the last X class flare was Dec 13th, 2006. The flare today is the first Solar Cycle 24 flare reaching X class level.

See the Xray plot below:

Now THAT’S a flare:

Lookout for auroras in the next couple of days.

Flare classifications: Each category for x-ray flares has nine subdivisions ranging from, e.g., C1 to C9, M1 to M9, and X1 to X9.

Class
Peak (W/m2)between 1 and 8 Angstroms
B I < 10-6
C 10-6 < = I < 10-5
M 10-5 < = I < 10-4
X I > = 10-4

Live updates on the WUWT solar page

h/t to Leif Svalgaard

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

The first SC24 X-class flare. As far as I know, the last X-flare was on Dec. 13, 2006.

Lookout for auroras tonight.
Will not happen until the CME hits us in a couple of days.
REPLY: haste makes waste, trying to edit during dinner, fixed. – A

kramer

What does “X” class mean, the largest flare possible?

Anthony, that’s a fine graphic of the Sun and its spots. And kudos to Lief for predicting it would be an X-class flare before anyone else.

A little OT, sort of, but, Anthony, I am surprised that you haven’t posted anything about this (The Cloud Mystery – Documentary by Henrik Svensmark
I watched all 5 parts last night and was blown away. In my humble opinion, this is HUGE! .. It would really be swell to read comments on this blog about this documentary. I would love to read opinions about it from people that comment here, people that I respect.

John Day

Flares are huge explosions on the sun that emit a broad band of electromagnetic energy from RF through visible light up to x-rays.
They are classified by the amount of x-ray energy detected on the GOES X-RAY sensors.
But you can see the flare here in the microwave spectrum (17GHz), from the Japanese radioheliograph at Nobeyama. (The only one of its kind in the world).
http://solar.nro.nao.ac.jp/norh/html/10mins/2011/02/15/movie.html
The frames are 10 minutes apart. The flare starts around 0150 UTC.
The “X” pattern that shows up on the flare is overmodulation caused by the large radiation pulse received at the Nobeyama antenna farm (84 dishes, each 80cm in diameter).

Phil's Dad

It’s the first one in months?
Surely years.

Tom Rowan

In an April 2, 2009 article, retired U.S. Navy physicist and engineer Jame A. Marusek writes: “The sun has gone very quiet as it transitions to Solar Cycle 24.
“Since the current transition now exceeds 568 spotless days, it is becoming clear that sun has undergone a state change. It is now evident that the Grand Maxima state that has persisted during most of the 20th century has come to an abrupt end.
“(The sun) might (1) revert to the old solar cycles or (2) the sun might go even quieter into a “Dalton Minimum” or a Grand Minima such as the “Maunder Minimum”. It is still a little early to predict which way it will swing. Each of these two possibilities holds a great threat to our nation.
“We are now at a crossroad. Two paths lie before us. Both are marked with a signpost that reads “Danger”! Down one path lies monstrous solar storms. Down the other path lies several decades of crushing cold temperatures and global famine.”
“If the sun becomes quieter than the old solar cycles, producing more than 1028 spotless days, then we might slip into a Dalton Minimum or maybe even a Grand Minima such as the Maunder Minimum. This solar state will last for decades. Several solar scientist have predicted this will begin in Solar Cycle 25, about a decade from now. But a few have predicted this will occur now in Solar Cycle 24.
“A quiet sun will cause temperatures globally to take a nose-dive. We will experience temperatures that we have not seen in over 200 years, during the time of the early pioneers.
The other possibility Marusek sees is a quiet sun marked with explosive flares capable of returning our electronic society off for years.
Scary stuff.

JamesD

Not on spaceweather.com yet. Also, I like that site a lot, but they really blew it. They reported on an M-6 flare popping, but their risk for an X-class was only at 0.05 or 5% when this X class flare went off, which is their default low-risk rating. They need to do a better job at assigning risk if they want to benefit space businesses. I think when you have a growing sunspot and an M-6 flare, the X-flare risk should be a lot higher.

Tom Rowan says:
February 14, 2011 at 7:21 pm
The other possibility Marusek sees is a quiet sun marked with explosive flares
In our sunspot prediction paper
http://www.leif.org/research/Cycle%2024%20Smallest%20100%20years.pdf
we wrote:
“Average space weather might be ‘‘milder’’ with decreased solar activity, but the extreme events that dominate technological effects are not expected to disappear. In fact, they may become more common. Two of the eight strongest storms in the last 150 years occurred during solar cycle 14 (Rmax = 64) [Cliver and Svalgaard, 2004], while three of the five largest 30 MeV solar energetic proton events since 1859 [McCracken et al., 2001] occurred during cycle 13 (Rmax = 88).”

PJB

Certainly, the current fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetosphere are also problematic. The ongoing “reversal” of the magnetic field makes for an interesting mosaic of potential sites for aurorae as well as other field effects. The coupling effect of incoming particles with a S orientation is what makes the difference normally. As field strengths fluctuate locally and new poles form and dissipate (with concurrent variations in field strength and orientation) highly variable effects will occur.
We live in interesting times.

PJB says:
February 14, 2011 at 7:54 pm
Certainly, the current fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetosphere are also problematic. The ongoing “reversal” of the magnetic field
Not to worry. The reversal of the Earth’s field takes thousands of years to play out, so are not interesting for the current situation.

Douglas DC

I for one, will await the Auroras. I spent too many years south of 40N and missing
a chance for Auroras. Finally north of 45, an X-class…

Paul Vaughan

“38 months”
50.

Would Leif kindly compare this flare’s magnitude to the magnitude of the flares which cause a Forebush decrease (in cosmic rays?)
Max

Paul Vaughan says:
February 14, 2011 at 8:30 pm
“38 months” 50
50 it is
Max Hugoson says:
February 14, 2011 at 8:41 pm
Would Leif kindly compare this flare’s magnitude to the magnitude of the flares which cause a Forebush decrease (in cosmic rays?)
This flare is capable of a Forbush decrease.

Dave Dodd

Happy Valentine’s Day from our Sun! Looks like we just got our picture taken! Maybe some 6M/10M activity?

Does anyone know if the sun produced a gigantic sunspot group when Tambora erupted in April, 1815? Just something I’ve seen tossed around, don’t know if it actually happened and not suggesting any correlations.

A slightly off-topic question for Dr. Svalgaard:
We know that when the sun is active, both its magnetosphere and the relative proportion of UV in its total irradience are higher. While the magnetosphere effect — particularly with respect to Dr. Svensmark’s theory — is under investigation, is anyone looking at actual UV effects reaching the planet’s surface?
We know that UV penetrates somewhat deeper into the oceans than visible, so if both increased UV and Svensmark-style reduction in cloud formation were results of increased solar activity, there would be two (physically unrelated) phenomena with mutually reinforcing climatic effects.

A couple of points, Andrew. First there’s no limit to X flare magnitude, for instance the largest flare during cycle 23 reached a revised magnitude of X45. Secondly region 1158 is really region 11158. Historically region 1158 was observed over 30 years ago (if my memory serves me right). The reason NOAA/SWPC is using only a 4 digit number is that it was too much trouble changing their data formats to accept 5 digit numbers. So 1158 is basically an internal SWPC number, others should use 11158.
Smokey says:
February 14, 2011 at 6:56 pm:
“Anthony, that’s a fine graphic of the Sun and its spots. And kudos to Lief for predicting it would be an X-class flare before anyone else.”
I don’t know who predicted a flare of this magnitude first. My prediction of a major flare was publicized 6 hours before the M6 flare on Feb.13. I would assume several other predictions were available as well.

rbateman

Leif Svalgaard says:
February 14, 2011 at 7:39 pm
Would that mean that the Sun emits so much flare energy per cycle, but since it’s been rather quiet it has to pop off that energy in larger bursts?

citizenschallenge

So what is the relevance of all this?
Are you disputing basic CO2 physics?
What does any of the this have to do with the observed changes within our atmosphere and biosphere these past decades and the clear explanation that the consensus climatology community has set forward, along with the cornucopia of incoming evidence?

Marc DeRosa

Short summary movies of this flare as observed by SDO can be found here.
Scrolling down this page, one finds auto-generated movies from many of the SDO/AIA channels.
At the top of the page is a “running difference” movie, where each frame in the movie is the difference between two successive images from (in this case) the SDO/AIA 211Å channel. In general, such movies are used to highlight changes from one image to the next. Here, the apparent outward-directed “blast wave” initiated by the flare, as well as the resulting oscillations of the coronal loops surrounding the flare, become more evident when viewed as running differences than when viewing the regular movie from the 211Å channel.

Tenuc

Looks like Earth is in for a real EM deluge…
February 13: A small partial halo CME was observed after the M6 flare in region 11158. The CME could reach Earth on February 15 or 16.
February 14: A CME was observed in association with an M2 event in region 11158 and could reach Earth on February 16 or 17.
February 15: Another and larger CME was observed following an X2 event in region 11158. The CME could reach Earth on February 17.
Interesting that solar flux has shot up to ~113, which is ~ 30 up on previous rotation.
Thanks go to Solen for the above information, more details available here…
http://www.solen.info/solar/index.html

joachim

How long does aurora last after a event this big? Will it last long enough for most of the northern hemisphere to be able to see it? ~24 hours?
What parameters decide how far south we can see aurora if not the size of the flare?
I remember seeing fantastic aurora around 60 degrees in the early 90’s. Hoping to show my kids this one.
-joachim

Jimmy Haigh

citizenschallenge says:
February 14, 2011 at 11:30 pm
Gordon Bennett…

James Mayo

citizenschallenge says:
February 14, 2011 at 11:30 pm
“So what is the relevance of this.”
I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt that you are new to WUWT as it is clearly stated that this blog is a “Commentary on puzzling things in life, nature, science, weather, climate change, technology, and recent news.”, but your blog would indicate otherwise.
By my count this story meets all those criteria. We are also very fortunate to have several exceptional posters who have credentials in solar physics beyond reproach as evidenced by many of the comments in this thread.
The vast majority here do not dispute basic CO2 physics but question the severity of impact attributed to it and understand that the scenarios presented for the next 5, 10, 50, 100 years rely on a tenuous assumption that CO2 is capable of amplifying the effects of other greenhouse gasses leading to runaway catastrophic thermageddon.
As many posters who have tirelessly contributed to the vast repository of knowledge that WUWT represents have shown the consensus is hardly that and the cornucopia of observations do not match the theory and are tainted by poor quality control.
What is relevant is the work of Dr. Henrik Svensmark who has been working on establishing the link between solar strength and galactic cosmic radiation that reaches the earth. I recommend you read his book, The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change and research his efforts to validate that theory at CERN with the CLOUD project.
I hope you really believe in “honest examination of today’s deeper challenges.” as should become apparent with even infrequent browsing of the daily topics presented here that only one side allows free and open discussion on topics, including the ones that challenge their worldviews. As many of us have come to understand true enlightenment requires admitting your mistakes and allowing all voices to be heard even the ones you disagree with. If you can’t admit that the gatekeepers of the consensus have done everything in their power to prevent an honest examination of the theory and observations then you may as well move on and keep lying to yourself.
JM

cal

Squidly says:
February 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm
A little OT, sort of, but, Anthony, I am surprised that you haven’t posted anything about this (The Cloud Mystery – Documentary by Henrik Svensmark
I watched all 5 parts last night and was blown away. In my humble opinion, this is HUGE! .. It would really be swell to read comments on this blog about this documentary. I would love to read opinions about it from people that comment on hear, people that I respect.
Thanks for the link. I have just watched it and found it extremely interesting from a number of perspectives:-
It is a good exposition of an interesting and plausible theory.
It is a good example of the abuse of the peer review system.
It demonstrates how the real scientific method is applied by genuine scientists.
It shows, first hand, the arogance, pomposity and intolerance of some in the scientific establishment.
It should be compulsary viewing for any schoolchild shown the “Inconvenient Truth”. They could then be left to draw their own conclusions.

Craig Goodrich says:
February 14, 2011 at 9:08 pm
anyone looking at actual UV effects reaching the planet’s surface?
The variation of that UV is so small that energetically is has no measurable effect.
Jan Alvestad says:
February 14, 2011 at 9:35 pm
I would assume several other predictions were available as well.
Whenever you have an active region of the complexity of 1158, strong flares are a given.
rbateman says:
February 14, 2011 at 10:14 pm
Would that mean that the Sun emits so much flare energy per cycle, but since it’s been rather quiet it has to pop off that energy in larger bursts?
I don’t think there is any such ‘rule’. On a quiet sun an active region perhaps has a better chance to grow [if it is so] undisturbed of other activity. But this is conjecture.
joachim says:
February 15, 2011 at 12:10 am
How long does aurora last after a event this big? Will it last long enough for most of the northern hemisphere to be able to see it? ~24 hours?
We haven’t seen the aurora from this flare yet. A good-sized magnetic storm takes about a day to play out.
————-
Phil Scherrer supplies this nice movie of the growth of 1158 seen by HMI
http://sun.stanford.edu/~phil/Ic_FLAT.mp4

Les Francis
steveta_uk

James Mayo (12:45 am) – well said.
When CO2 was mentioned by the challenged one, my first thought was that he’d posted on the wrong page, but with your excellent attempt at enlightenment, I suspect we’ll either get silence, or troll-type rubbish back.
Time will tell.

S. Australia’s and New Zeeland’s communications may be affected:
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/drap/index.html

Sam Bailey

Anthony has shown me a bit of grace a time or two.. as my posts are either inquisitive, or humorous jibes at those whom believe that the “science is settled”. So at the risk of being justly moderated. I will weigh in.
“citizenschallenge says:”
February 14, 2011 at 11:30 pm
“So what is the relevance of this.”
It is my .. ardent opinion.. that the demonstration of solar physics here, and the subsequent known and unknown effect it will have on the earth , and to find the need to ask if it is indeed “relevant” is the equal of asking a man whose head is stuck in a bucket of water.. if oxygen is indeed relevant.
Perhaps Mr Gore could assist you in this comparative.. if he is ever able to get own head out of the bucket.

DonS

Jimmy Haigh says:
February 15, 2011 at 12:12 am
Indeed. gorblimey as well.

Dave Springer

Squidly says:
February 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm

A little OT, sort of, but, Anthony, I am surprised that you haven’t posted anything about this (The Cloud Mystery – Documentary by Henrik Svensmark
http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/home/8608-documentary-the-cloud-mystery
I watched all 5 parts last night and was blown away. In my humble opinion, this is HUGE! .. It would really be swell to read comments on this blog about this documentary. I would love to read opinions about it from people that comment on hear, people that I respect.

I already knew about Svensmark’s GCR cloud regulation hypothesis but this film he made about it is wonderful and well worth watching. Hearing him describe the hostility he met from the CAGW community and how shocking it was to him is a great testimony to how climate scientists convinced of and/or perpetuating the CO2 myth are peddling ideological dogma not science. Those folks are so far off the path of science it’s doubtful they’ll ever find their way back.

John Day

Video replay of the X2.2 flare in UV 1700A light”.
Note that there were several smaller flares, probably C-class, before and after the main event.

R I McMillan

Since X is the top class they can exceed X9. X12, X20 are possible . . . ouch.

Dave Springer says:
February 15, 2011 at 5:37 am
I already knew about Svensmark’s GCR cloud regulation hypothesis
How about sticking to the topic…

Pamela Gray

Douglas, I wonder if we will be able to see the aurora through the snow flakes? Lostine forecast is for mostly cloudy and snowy over the next 6 to 7 days.

MikeR

citizenschallenge says:
February 14, 2011 at 11:30 pm
“So what is the relevance of this.”
Who cares. Whether this has relevance to weather or climate is a non issue. This is real science. There is a very interesting natural phenomenon happening right now and with the links provided by the great people at this blog we can watch it happen almost right before our eyes. Not only that but we can learn something about it through the posts of some of the worlds most knowledgeable people on this topic.
Sometimes we need to stop arguing and just observe, watching these solar flare videos is pretty cool, and the possibility that we will have some auroras to watch is even better. I for one am very thankful that Anthony posts stuff like this and gives a forum for these discussions.

Ulric Lyons

@ Ed Mertin says:
February 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm
“Does anyone know if the sun produced a gigantic sunspot group when Tambora erupted in April, 1815?”
I have found eruptions occur at short term solar forced uplifts in temperature after colder periods, with bigger events typically at bigger temp` differentials. More often the uplift would be due an increase in the solar wind speed from coronal holes rather than sunspot flares. Watch from mid May this year.

Ir'Rational

@ Sam Bailey
It’s not that Al Gore has his head in a bucket, but up his own ………. (you get the message!)
BTW, (& this is general) don’t feed the trolls – ignore them, and they crawl back under the bridge.

JamesS

…and I just watched the Outer Limits presentation of Larry Niven’s Inconstant Moon last night…
Brrrrr.

Douglas DC

Pamela- I know -Im hoping for a Snow(rain) Shadow effect for at leat a couple of hours near dawn….
Full moon doesn’t help either….

Peter

JM: If you can’t admit that the gatekeepers of the consensus have done everything in their power to prevent an honest examination of the theory and observations then you may as well move on and keep lying to yourself.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Hmmm, and you believe WUWT has always been a straight shooter?
=========
SB: It is my .. ardent opinion.. that the demonstration of solar physics here, and the subsequent known and unknown effect it will have on the earth , and to find the need to ask if it is indeed “relevant” is the equal of asking a man whose head is stuck in a bucket of water.. if oxygen is indeed relevant.
~ ~ ~
MR: Who cares. Whether this has relevance to weather or climate is a non issue. This is real science. There is a very interesting natural phenomenon happening right now and with the links provided by the great people at this blog we can watch it happen almost right before our eyes.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
That’s fair enough, guess I was jumping to a conclusion that you’re trying to explain away our witnessed global warming by blaming it on a sun that have been at a minimum. Although I agree it will be interesting watching this year unfold and witness what the sun does.
Thanks for the welcome, I’ll be back. CC

GARY KRAUSE

I am not sure if these web cams will pick up the auroras, however beats sitting in the cold: http://akweathercams.faa.gov/sitelist.php
Maybe someone has a land-based web cam specific to aurora watching we can take advantage of.

Peter

sorry should have added quotation marks.

I know little about predicting auroras. Tonight (15th)? Tomorrow (16th)? I’d like to alert people to be looking but I don’t know when to tell them to look.
Mike

bubbagyro

Is this just a “dead cat bounce” off the minimum? It was, after all, just barely an X-flare at 2.2.
Didn’t 22 & 23 produce a fusillade of X10 flares in rapid succession?

john day

@bubbayro
> Isn’t this just a “dead cat bounce” off the minimum?
It may be just be a crumb. But when you’ve been starving for solar activity for over a year, it seems like a feast.
😐