An X-5 class solar flare just occurred from region 1429, the large active sunspot group seen below.
NOAA Bulletin from the Space Weather Prediction Center:
2012-03-07 01:03 Strong Solar Eruption; Earth-Directed CME Likely
An R3 (Strong) Radio Blackout is now in progress, beginning about 7:00 p.m. EST today. The site of the eruption, previously active Region 1429, is now near center disk, so there’s high-potential of an earth-directed CME (coronal mass ejection). In addition, expect the imminent beginning of a Solar Radiation Storm. Analysis now occurring on both fronts, watch here for updates.
2012-03-07 04:24 CMEs: One Arrives, Another Likely Tomorrow
The CME that erupted late on March 4 passed ACE around 0400 UTC March 7 (11:00 p.m. EST March 6). Look for G1 (minor) Geomagnetic Storm activity in the next few hours. Another CME, part of the recent R3 (strong) Radio Blackout event at 0024 UTC March 7 (7:24 p.m. EST March 6) is forecast to pass ACE about one day hence. Predictions are still being refined on this one. Finally a Solar Radiation Storm is now building as the higher energies are showing a response to the recent eruption. The S1 (minor) threshold should be surpassed in the next few hours. Updates here as conditions warrant.
Here’s the GOES x-ray flux plot capturing the event:
Here’s the event captured on SAM
Here’s the group 1429 close up from SDO HMI:
NASA’s Spaceweather.com reports that:
MAJOR SOLAR FLARE: Earth-orbiting satellites have just detected an X5-class solar flare from big sunspot AR1429. The blast peaked on March 7th at 00:28 UT. Radiation storms and radio blackouts are possible
High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on March 6th and 7th. Sunspot AR1429 has hurled two CMEs into space since it emerged over the weekend. Neither cloud is heading directly toward Earth, but both could deliver glancing blows to our planet’s magnetic field. NOAA forecasters say there is a 30% to 40% chance of polar geomagnetic storms during the next 24-48 hours.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme UV flash:
This eruption hurled a bright CME into space. First-look data from STEREO-B are not sufficient to determine if the cloud is heading for Earth. Our best guess is “probably, yes, but not directly toward Earth.” A glancing blow to our planet’s magnetosphere is possible on March 8th or 9th.
Looks like we dodged the bullet for the major bullseye from those, but some disruption is likely from this last X-5 event. We’ll monitor and report as needed.
WUWT’s Solar reference page has all the latest images and data here
h/t to Roger Sowell
UPDATE from spaceweather.com:
GEOMAGNETIC STORM UPDATE: A CME propelled toward Earth by this morning’s X5-class solar flare is expected to reach our planet on March 8th at 0625 UT/725EST/1025PST (+/- 7 hr). Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, who prepared the CME’s forecast track, say the impact could spark a strong-to-severe geomagnetic storm. Sky watchers at all latitudes should be alert for auroras.