Massive X class flare erupts from the sunspot 2192

As we previously mentioned on WUWT, the Sunspot 2192 which is as large as Jupiter had the potential of hurling large solar flares toward Earth. According to NASA’s “Giant sunspot AR2192 has a ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field that harbors energy for strong explosions. NOAA forecasters estimate an 85% chance of M-class flares and a 45% chance of X-flares on Oct. 24th. If an explosion does occur, it will be geoeffective because the sunspot is directly facing Earth.”

It has just released what appears to be an x-class flare, possibly an X3.


From the WUWT Solar Reference Page, the X-Ray plot:


95 thoughts on “Massive X class flare erupts from the sunspot 2192

    • Well having made such a substantial investment I trust you have taken sufficient precautions in order to protect your panels from the sun’s harmful rays?

    • No – only those solar panels slapped on AGW believer’s roofs. In a cunningly maverick way, our sun will appease the panels belonging to the meek (the ones who have known all along that our sun is the true boss and that CO2 has bugger all to do with any ‘warming’).

    • From SpaceWeather: “Coronagraph data from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) suggest that the explosion did not hurl a significant CME toward our planet. (Interestinngly, none of the X-flares from this active region has so far produced a major CME.) As a result, Earth-effects may be limited to the radio blackout. “

  1. At what point in the cycle did the Carrington Event occur, and what were the characteristics of that particular cycle?

    • Yes, could someone in the know tell us what we can expect given the strength and direction of this flare?

    • Northern lights extending further south. I doubt it will be overly disruptive otherwise. Just my opinion though.

    • NOAA Alert:
      Space Weather Message Code: SUMX01
      Serial Number: 106
      Issue Time: 2014 Oct 24 2236 UTC
      SUMMARY: X-ray Event exceeded X1
      Begin Time: 2014 Oct 24 2107 UTC
      Maximum Time: 2014 Oct 24 2141 UTC
      End Time: 2014 Oct 24 2213 UTC
      X-ray Class: X3.1
      Optical Class: 3b
      Location: S12W22
      NOAA Scale: R3 – Strong
      Potential Impacts: Area of impact consists of large portions of the sunlit side of Earth, strongest at the sub-solar point.
      Radio – Wide area blackout of HF (high frequency) radio communication for about an hour.

      • NOAA is showing another event >M5
        Current D Region Absorption Predictions:
        “Conditions in the D region of the ionosphere have a dramatic effect on high frequency (HF) communications and low frequency (LF) navigation systems.”

  2. “Massive” – sunspots this size, with this complexity, at this point in the solar cycle should be hitting X10+ (as they have done in previous cycles), accompanied by major CME. That these flares are so (relatively) small and have such little ejecta is further proof of the weak solar maximum and impending solar shutdown.

    • “Massive” proof of the weak solar maximum and impending solar shutdown of thought everywhere! You meant to say… With some complexity.. and a sunspot.

  3. The Carrington Event was supposedly of the order of an X40 flare, so this tiddler isn’t going to wipe out civilization.

    • From what I’ve studied about the Sun, a CME must be ‘launched’ from near the centre of the Sun onto a trajectory that will cause it to impact the mag field of Earth. The CME must also be fast and massive with a strong mag field of its own. Its orientation must also be opposite that of Earth’s. So don’t worry! 🙂

  4. Re: the Carrington event from Wikipedia…
    17.6 hours, because a previous event cleared the way for it. One would then presume this one will be a bit slower. Off to get that burger.

  5. From the NOAA SWPC:
    Top News of the Day:
    2014-10-24 21:41 UTC R3 (Strong) Radio Blackout in progress
    We said it remained a threat and here it is, producing another R3 (Strong) Radio Blackout that at the time of this posting, is still on the climb. The event began at 5:07pm EDT (2107 UTC) and is still going strong over 30 minutes later. The main communications impacts from this event are over the Pacific Ocean. In the meantime, forecasters remain vigilant to see if there is an associated coronal mass ejection. As we learn more about this event we will update this space.

  6. A high energy event like the X45 Carrington got here in ~18 hours, the much smaller X1 type events I believe can take around 40 hours. The CME that causes the aurora that is. It’s separate from what is causing the radio black outs. We see the aurora result about 2 days later. I’m hoping for some good auroras that can be seen in the mid-latitudes. It would take an X25+ to do any electrical damage. Like grid damage. This is just pretty lights. 🙂

  7. Seriously, this is a perfect opportunity to learn much about large ‘sunspots’, large solar flares, and interactions with earthly electromagnetic fields, with the full panoply of modern space and ground based instruments recording all. We can count our blessings that a large CME was not associated with this event!
    Now, If the damn skies would clear enough to get a look at any aurora visible from the south Seattle WA area, I’d stay up to the wee hours for a glimpse!!! As a lad and then young man, I saw some phenomenal aurora when I lived in Wisconsin years ago. I’d like to revisit that particular delight…

  8. What effect to these things have on earth’s temperature? And how long before such effects become apparent?

  9. More to the point, power transformers must be taken off line so they do not get fried with back EMF. High tension powerlines should, if possible be disconnected to avoid melting, but this is even less practical. The sudden outage of power if prolonged will cause chaos and rioting/mayhem. The economy will grind to a rapid halt.Luckily we should get warning, but call me a pessimist, I could see bureaucrats not wanting to switch off the power grid for 20 minutes.

    • Well I’m sorry to deflate your balloon, but high tension power lines are tightly twisted three or six phase “cables” and something as remote as the sun, doesn’t have a prayer in terms of inducing enough “emf” in them to even make a note of. Free space has a characteristic impedance of 377 ohms (actually 120.PI), so good luck at squeezing any signal out of that, that would melt even 36 gauge wire.
      Have you ever noticed how many barbed wire fences, and tennis court wire mesh antennas, get blown to smithereens, every time the sun burps ??
      It’s time that myth busters focused their attention on “solar flareups.”

  10. The fact that there was no CME with an X3.1 flare should be a subtle hint as to where the solar magnetism is headed.

      • Sunspot 2192 unleashed the sixth strongest solar flare of the current solar cycle, a major X3.1 solar flare peaking at 21:40 UTC on Friday evening. To our surprise, just like all previous events around 2192, little to no CME appears to be associated. More updates to follow if necessary.
        Where is solar magnetism headed: Maybe (admittedly a BIG maybe) a prolonged period of no reported auroras for several cycles. Like the Maunder.

      • re: Joel O’Bryan
        “Updated video of the X1.3 solar flare is now available. This may be hard to believe, but it appears that little to no coronal mass ejection (CME) was associated with the event. ”
        As Leif indicated it wasn’t likely a couple of days ago on another thread:
        lsvalgaard October 22, 2014 at 7:44 pm
        “If the group produces a CME [I don’t think it will – the corona doesn’t look right for that]…”

  11. I was out for a walk in the woods when it happened. I missed it. All seemed as per usual when I came back.
    Any calculate the # Joules dumped into the atmosphere from the flare?

  12. So,,, can anyone tell us the level of the biggest X class events ?
    X 41 rings a bell at the top end, no?

  13. Appreciate the heads up. Another reason why I frequent this website. Something taken for granted stops…good to know why.
    Now expecting WUWT to get me at least 24hr head start to do ALL my doomsday prepping for the apocalyptic solar flare.
    With 24hrs notice I will have time to get into my neighbors fully stocked subterranean capsule…and lock the door.

    • Sparks has made me laugh a couple times in his current threadbombing but…
      That was f’ing funny right there Ra Ra Ra!

  14. This is the first sunspot I have seen with the naked eye for a long time. Just a few moments ago, with my trusty Solashield Eye Protection (bought for the 1999 eclipse in England) I viewed it and could see two distinct patches.
    However, it’s more satisfying to view it without any filter, just looking at the Sun as an ancient would. But for safety that would require a cloudless sunset with plenty of haze. Here in Gloucestershire I think the sunshine is only temporary, and with the cold front that has gone through there won’t be much haze. So I doubt that I’ll achieve it this evening.

  15. Question– Aren’t solar flares emitted radially? While the sunspots on the solar “disk” appear to be pointed at us, they are about 30 degrees low on the sphere. Doesn’t that mean a clear miss?

  16. This thread is disappointing, some ignorant comments in it.
    I believe that EM coupling from solar emissions into long wires is a known phenomenon. (Yes, there is scare-mongering.)
    Fences are not electricity lines, including because they are usually grounded (attached to wood or metal posts), except for electric-shock fences which are insulated at each post – except for the electric potential generating box.
    Twisted cable bundles may well be a good idea for high voltage electricity transmission lines, but all the lines I’ve paid any attention to have discrete conductors- that’s why the tower tops are so wide.
    I’d be very careful extrapolating from one geometry and voltage to another. A rough parallel is lightning, and minor versions of it such as engine spark plugs – in that case conduction occurs across an air gap, as the air breaks down. That’s not geometry, except for proximity of things that could conduct the energy, such as a tree (often hit by lightning because that’s the shortest path for the charge).
    (Don’t you have to consider length of the conductor and its resistance, in predicting effect?)
    And don’t overlook the proven risk of solar e-m emissions damaging satelites. (Hopefully recent designs are better.)

    • Yes Keith, there certainly are some ignorant comments in this thread.
      The earth as seen from the sun, is so tiny, subtending about 17.75 arc seconds, that any EM field emitting from the sun, is essentially constant over the entire projected area of the earth. So any Voltage difference across even a 1,000 mile long wire, is going to be miniscule, and that Voltage difference coming from a source resistance of 377 ohms (free space), will result in a very tiny current.
      But high Voltage transmission lines, are in fact tightly twisted multiwire cables.
      At 60 Hz power grid frequency, the wavelength is 5,000 km, so a thousand mile path is a very good low frequency antenna, and would radiate oodles of 60 Hz energy, if the transmission lines were not twisted.
      So next time you look at a high Voltage transmission line, walk along it for a few miles, and you will see the three, or six wires regularly shifting in between towers, maybe one shift (1/3rd twist) per mile, or about one full twist in 3 miles. So that’s about 1,000 twists in a wavelength; more than tight enough to suppress any significant radiation. And the same twisting will result in mutually cancelling Voltages between the several wires, so virtually no current can flow from external EM radiation sources.
      If you lived in California, I could tell you exactly where to go on hiway five to observe the HV line twisting going on right along the freeway, and they do a third of a twist about every mile on that line which is probably a 12,000 Volt line.
      It is usually controller circuit failure that causes power outages. It certainly isn’t wire melting currents generated in the transmission lines, or lightning would make it impossible to send electric power anywhere.
      But don’t worry; ignorance is not a disease. We are all born with it.

      • So why was the grid in Quebec lost for 9 hours after an eruption in 1989?
        As for twisting, make sure you are distinguishing between different conductive paths (which are insulated conductors) and the makeup of a typical stranded cable, which looks like “wire rope” – several conductors in close contact, sometimes aluminum (for better conductivity) twisted around a steel core wire (for strength), functionally a single conductor.
        Why do typical HV utility lines have separate cables, well-spaced, of quantity that matches the phases? (Sometimes a grounded guard wire as well, that’s the one that Quebec’s utility used above the live, which was pulled down onto live cables by the ice storm before 1989.)
        FTR, I didn’t say a CME would melt power wires, I do say it can disrupt the electrical supply system – it took Quebec nine hours to restore power. (Yes, they and others learned how to design and operate better.)
        Oh, and you have not explained why CME events have damaged satellites (even geos are a very long way from the sun).

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