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Big sunspot starting to release X-class solar flares


NOAA forecasters have upgraded the chance of X-class solar flares today to 20%. The source would be AR1339, one of the biggest sunspots in many years. The active region rotated over the sun’s eastern limb two days ago and now it is turning toward Earth.

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 154 sfu

X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C3 0501 UT Nov04
24-hr: X2 2027 UT Nov03

The sunspot has already unleashed one X-flare on Nov. 3rd around 20:27 UT. The flare created waves of ionization in Earth’s upper atmosphere, altering the normal propagation of radio waves over Europe and the Americas. In Ireland, the flare’s effect was felt even after dark.

A cloud of plasma or “CME” raced away from the blast site at 1100 km/s. The CME is not heading for Earth. It is, however, heading for Mercury and Venus. Click on the arrow to view a movie of the CME’s forecast track:

Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab say the CME will hit Mercury on Nov. 4th around 16:14 UT. NASA’s MESSENGER probe in orbit around Mercury will be monitoring the effects of the impact. If the CME overwhelms Mercury’s relatively weak magnetic field, it could scour material off the planet’s surface creating a temporary atmosphere and adding material to Mercury’s comet-like tail. The CME should hit Venus on Nov. 5th; the gossamer cloud will probably break harmlessly against the top of planet’s ultra-dense atmosphere. (SpaceWeather)

Sunspot 1339 produced a major X1.9 Solar Flare at 20:46 UTC Thursday evening. An R3 Level Radio Blackout and a 10cm Radio Burst resulted. A faint, but full-halo CME is seen in the latest Lasco images and a small portion of the cloud appears to be Earth direted.

On this day back on Nov 4, 2003, the largest Solar Flare ever recorded took place around a Sunspot then numbered 486. The flare registered X28+, but was located on the southwest limb and out of direct Earth view. Some estimates are said that the flare was actually X40+. (SolarHam)


Latest GOES SXI  image, link to large image

NOAA Scales Activity

Range 1 (minor) to 5 (extreme)

NOAA Scale

Geomagnetic Storms *

Solar Radiation Storms

Radio Blackouts

NOAA 1339 produced an impulsive R3 (Strong) Radio Blackout at 2027 UTC (4:27 pm EDT) on November 3. If a CME occurred, chances are it is not earth-directed given the far eastern  eruption site on the solar disk. Stay tuned on that bit. The large, bright active region remains potent. Odds are good there’s more to come. (NOAA SWPC)

Alerts / Bulletins
Latest Alert: Nov 03 2058 UTC SUMMARY: X-ray Event exceeded X1
Last Advisory Bulletin: None in last 7 days.

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  1. I really like the Sunspot movie depicting the Solar Flare track complete with the Planets orbiting the Sun to visually show just where the CME is going and actually how far it does go. I have never understood why Peoples in desert climates don’t install a carport several feet over their Homes to provide shade and dramatically lower their airconditioning overhead at the same time the load on utility companies during hot seasons I’m sure such “carports” “overhangs” could be made stylish too.

  2. Will ya please give it to me like I was a 5 year old? Most of this is geared towards your professions in this field! What does all this mean really ? What should it be normally? If it’s so high,why isn’t anyone telling this news in general public language? Their are a lot of people that have been yelling doomsday forever.

    1. Well, yes you’re absolutely right. We prepare A guide for solar watchers where you will find all data concerning solar activity explained. But just in short – the solar flares are classified as B, C, M and X-flares. X-class flare is the strongest. Here you can find information about classification of X-ray solar flares. A solar flare is an explosion on the Sun that happens when energy stored in twisted magnetic fields (usually above sunspots) is suddenly released. Flares produce a burst of radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to x-rays and gamma-rays. Scientists classify solar flares according to their x-ray brightness in the wavelength range 1 to 8 Angstroms. There are 3 categories: X-class flares are big; they are major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. M-class flares are medium-sized; they can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth’s polar regions. Minor radiation storms sometimes follow an M-class flare. Compared to X- and M-class events, C-class flares are small with few noticeable consequences here on Earth.

      When sunspots, coronal holes which spewing plasma eject coronal mass ejection or CME it could be faced toward Earth or not. If it is faced toward Earth then solar wind blowing in Earth direction brushing our magnetosphere and ionosphere. That could make bad conditions for our radio signals, communications and other electrical power grids etc. What you can read here in the article is that one of the bigest sunspot numbered as 1339 harbors energy for making X-class solar flares. And it’s slowly facing Earth.

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