Earlier this week, on Sept 4th, active sunspot AR2673 hurled a CME toward Earth. Now a second monster sized flare has been released from the same region.
On Sept. 6th at 1202 UT, sunspot AR2673 unleashed a major X9.3-class solar flare–the strongest solar flare in more than a decade. X-rays and UV radiation from the blast ionized the top of Earth’s atmosphere, causing a strong shortwave radio blackout over Europe, Africa and the Atlantic Ocean (blackout map). The explosion also produced a CME. However, available coronagraph images are not yet sufficient to determine whether or not the CME is Earth-directed.
A Radiation Storm Warning for 10 MeV protons greater or equal to 10 pfu (S1 or higher) is in effect until 0400 UTC on 7 Sept.
Added: NASA just released this short animation, it appears that the flare was directed away from Earth. Thank the heavens.
The sun today:
The sunspot responsible for this morning’s flares, active region 2673, is the smaller of two massive spots on the sun’s surface, at only seven Earths wide by nine Earths tall, according to astrophysicist Karl Battams as shown in the Tweet below.
h/t/ to Dr. Leif Svalgaard
From NASA’s spaceweather.com
This is a decade-class flare. A list of the most powerful solar flares recorded since 1976 ranks today’s flare at #14, tied with a similar explosion in 1990. Compared to the iconic Carrington Event of 1859, or even the more recent Halloween storms of 2003, this event is relatively mild. Modern power grids, telecommunications, and other sun sensitive technologies should weather the storm with little difficulty.