The sun has fired another blast directly at Earth. A class M8.4 solar X-ray flare just was just sent hurling in our direction at 12:44 PM (EST) today from sunspot (AR1429) again . This is a major flare that is just a couple of points short of an X-Class flare and it is directly facing Earth so we will feel it with full force. Our magnetosphere is already stressed from the recent barrage and this can’t make things any better. The chance of a strong geomagnetic storm is probable. This post will be updated as more details are determined. Sometime during the morning of March 12, a strong (K7 or higher) geomagnetic storm will arrive in the form of a magnetic cloud resulting from the full halo CME generated on March 9.
March 7th we predicted that a major solar flare would happen within 12-24 hours. It took 36 hours instead but an M6.3-Class flare has occurred from AR 1429 this morning. The resulting CME is directly facing Earth and will arrive March 11th or early March 12th. A major geomagnetic storm of Kp7 or greater will hit us potentially affecting radio, airline and GPS systems.
- Solar flares could cause “as much devastation as a tsunami” (telegraph.co.uk)
- Strong solar flares still shooting out from active spot on sun (foxnews.com)
Sunspot AR1429 has already sent two CMEs into space since it began turning earthward over the weekend. Neither CME is heading directly at Earth, but both are expected to hit our planet’s magnetosphere. NOAA forecasters predict the CME’s will create a 30% to 40% chance of geomagnetic storms during the next 24-48 hours.
- Powerful Solar Flare May Be Signal of More to Come (livescience.com)
The last few days has brought the busiest solar activity in months. Several Class M flares (one as high as 9.0 on a 10 point scale) were Earth directed over the last 72 hours and are now arriving together. In the past few hours, a strong disturbance in the solar wind was measured by the ACE spacecraft. Local geomagnetic measurements indicate a K=5 storm will be arriving over the next several hours. Be prepared for greater aurora displays at lower Northern latitudes, potential communication interruptions and possible earthquake disturbances.
In a spectacular solar display, the sun released one of the biggest solar explosions ever seen by human eyes today. A Class M CME was launched at Earth at approximately 2:41 A.M. EDT. The Royal Observatory of Belgium and other space monitoring agencies put out alerts that a major geomagnetic disrupting disturbance was headed towards Earth. Latest updates from NOAA indicate that it will not be a direct hit but will most likely affect the Earth to a slight degree. The arrival of the coronal mass ejection (CME) is projected for sometime tomorrow or on Jun 9th. This explosion comes just 2 days after another significant CME was launched from the Sun’s surface.
UPDATE 6-9-2011 (8:45 P.M. EDT): A geomagnetic storm is hitting the Earth right now – k=>5 which is moderate. The exact strength is not known at this time but power grids could be affected.
UPDATE 6-8-2011: Several countries in Europe are reporting that disruptions to power and communications grids could occur between 6 PM and over the next 24 hours. There are some discussions that flights could be diverted in certain areas. Please see newspaper report below:
- Solar flare threatens to disrupt Earth’s communications and power (telegraph.co.uk)