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Giant sunspot shoots out intense, X-class solar flare

Posted By admin On July 12, 2012 @ 3:22 pm In Featured Stories | Comments Disabled

Jason Samenow
Washington Post [1]
July 12, 2012

UPDATE, 3:30 p.m.: NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) just posted [2] the following:

The R3 (Strong) Radio Blackout today at 12:49 EDT (1649 UTC) was accompanied by an earth-directed CME. Hampered by limited observations of the event, SWPC forecasters are now anticipating the passage of the [coronal mass ejection] around 1:00 a.m. EDT, Saturday, July 14. G1 (minor) Geomagnetic Storm activity [3] is expected to then ensue through the rest of the day.

In short, NOAA is predicting minor effects from this space weather event – no major impacts on the power grid or satellites anticipated – although we remind you forecasting space weather is difficult [4] and surprises are possible. Sky watchers in northern U.S. (and high latitudes) may have an opportunity to see aurora late Friday night into early Saturday morning.

Original post, from 2:30 p.m.: A massive sunspot region facing Earth – known as 1520 – has unleashed a large solar flare. NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center says the flare is rated an X1.4. This type of flare is considered “strong” [5] and can cause a blackout of high frequency radio communication on the sunlit side of Earth for one to two hours.

It is not yet known whether the flare was accompanied by a coronal mass ejection (CME) – an outburst of particles that can trigger a geomagnetic storm on Earth and damage the electrical grid.

Joe Kunches of NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder said one of the NASA satellites tasked with watching for solar weather, SOHO, was “on maneuvers” when the flare launched.

That will make the task of predicting the course of any subsequent CME more difficult.

Full story here. [1]


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URLs in this post:

[1] Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/giant-sunspot-shoots-out-intense-x-class-solar-flare/2012/07/12/gJQAKpDtfW_blog.html

[2] posted: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/index.html

[3] G1 (minor) Geomagnetic Storm activity: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/NOAAscales/index.html#GeomagneticStorms

[4] forecasting space weather is difficult: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/solar-storm-peaks-at-strong-level-inside-space-weather-forecasting/2012/03/09/gIQAfQBQ1R_blog.html

[5] considered “strong”: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/NOAAscales/index.html#RadioBlackouts

[6] Amazing Video: Giant solar flare erupting from Sun surface: http://www.prisonplanet.com/amazing-video-giant-solar-flare-erupting-from-sun-surface.html

[7] Sun Unleashes Largest Solar Flare in Years: http://www.prisonplanet.com/sun-unleashes-largest-solar-flare-in-years.html

[8] Pictured: The glittering flare of a solar storm – seven times the size of Earth – which is raging across the sun’s surface: http://www.prisonplanet.com/pictured-the-glittering-flare-of-a-solar-storm-seven-times-the-size-of-earth-which-is-raging-across-the-suns-surface.html

[9] NASA: Huge solar flare may disrupt power and communications: http://www.prisonplanet.com/nasa-huge-solar-flare-may-disrupt-power-and-communications.html

[10] 2012 may bring the “perfect storm” – solar flares, systems collapse: http://www.prisonplanet.com/2012-may-bring-the-%e2%80%9cperfect-storm%e2%80%9d-%e2%80%93-solar-flares-systems-collapse.html

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