Sunspot 2087 Produces X1.0 Flare; Faint CME Generated; “Cannibal CME” From Yesterday’s Double X-Flares Will Reach Earth On June 13 And Could Spark Polar Geomagnetic Storms!
The sun is hitting its stride. Earth’s closest star shot off yet another powerful solar flare today (June 11) after producing a pair of major solar storms Tuesday.
|An X1 solar flare bursts off the left limb of the sun in this image captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory
on June 11, 2014, at 9:05 a.m. EDT. Credit: NASA/SDO/Goddard
The X1-class flare reached its peak at 5:06 a.m. EDT (0906 GMT) and came from Region 2087 near the southeastern limb of the sun’s disk, the same region of the star that produced the two powerful solar flares yesterday. NASA captured an amazing video of the X1 solar flare using its space-based Solar Dynamics Observatory.
WATCH: Major X-Class Solar Flare – June 11, 2014.
Today’s solar tempest did cause a brief radio blackout on Earth, but officials with the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center based in Boulder, Colorado, don’t think that the flare has an associated coronal mass ejection — a burst of hot plasma sent out from the sun during some solar flares.
|Three X-class flares erupted from the left side of the sun June 10-11, 2014. These images are from NASA’s Solar
Dynamics Observatory and show light in a blend of two ultraviolet wavelengths: 171 and 131 angstroms.
While officials with the SWPC didn’t initially think that Tuesday’s flares produced a coronal mass ejection — a burst of plasma associated with some solar flares — later analysis shows that the flares did produced two CMEs. The first solar flare produced a relatively small CME, with the second merging with it shortly after, according to astronomer Tony Phillips at spaceweather.com.
The CME is expected to give Earth a glancing blow, when it reaches our part of the solar system Friday (June 13). It’s possible that the incoming CME could create polar geomagnetic storms, according to Phillips.
The sun is in the active phase of its 11-year solar cycle, called Solar Cycle 24.
|Impulsive X1.0 solar flare detected.|
|An impulsive solar flare measuring X1.0 was observed around region 2087 at 09:06 UTC.
At nearly the same time, a smaller flare took place around region 2080.
NASA officials now think the sun is in its maximum, which they have dubbed the “mini max.” Although the sun’s activity is on the upswing, this solar max is still quite weak by comparison to other solar maximums on record, NASA officials have said. Scientists expected that the solar maximum (the peak in the sun’s activity for the cycle) would occur in 2013.
WATCH: Sun releases massive solar flare on June 10, 2014.
“It’s back,” Dean Pesnell, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a NASA statement Tuesday (June 10) on the sun’s weather cycle. “Solar max has arrived.”
|Yesterday’s double X-flare may have produced a geoeffective CME after all. At first it appeared that Earth was
outside the line of fire, but a closer look at the CME reveals an Earth-directed component.
Wednesday’s solar flare is the eighth documented X-flare shot out from the sun in 2014. The most powerful flare of the year — a monster X4.9-class flare — occurred in February. X2 flares are two times as intense as X1 flares. If aimed toward Earth, X-flares can damage the planet’s power grids and put satellites and astronauts in space in danger.
The sun also shoots out other, less powerful classes of solar flares. M-class flares can produce incredible auroras, and our nearest star also emits weaker C-class flares.
NASA has a fleet of sun-monitoring satellites in orbit today. The Solar Dynamics Observatory, the space agency’s twin STEREO probes and the joint U.S.-European SOHO spacecraft all keep watch on the sun from space.
From: The Celestial Convergence