Sunspot 1429 unleashed M8.4 solar flare on March 10 peaking at 17:44 UTC


Sunspot 1429 unleashed another strong M class solar flare today. Currently measured at M8.4 solar flare peaked at 17:44 UTC. A bright Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) was produced. Further analysis will be done as imagery becomes available, however initial analysis indicated the event produced a full-halo CME with an estimated plane-of-sky speed between 1200 – 1400 km/s. The event triggered R2 Level Radio Blackout and a Type IV Radio Emission.

The geomagnetic storm associated with the R3 (Strong) Radio Blackout event from 00:24 UTC March 7 (7:24 p.m. EST March 6) has come to a close.  Additionally, Solar Radiation Storm levels remain above the S2 (Moderate) threshold but continue their slow decay.  The coronal mass ejection associated with the R2 (Moderate) Radio Blackout occurring at 03:53 UTC March 9 (10:53 p.m. EST March 8th) is expected to cause more geomagnetic storming beginning early on March 11, with intensities likely to reach the G3 (Strong) level.  The new WSA-Enlil Solar Wind Prediction shows an impact Early Sunday morning at 07:00 UTC with a Solar Wind increase to over 600 km/s.

Region 1429 remains complex and subsequent activity is certainly possible.

Space Weather Message Code: ALTTP4
Serial Number: 362
Issue Time: 2012 Mar 10 18:18 UTC

ALERT: Type IV Radio Emission
Begin Time: 2012 Mar 10 17:29 UTC

Comment: Associated with M8 event from Rgn 1429 (N18W23)

Description: Type IV emissions occur in association with major eruptions on the sun and are typically associated with strong coronal mass ejections and solar radiation storms.


Space Weather Message Code: SUMXM5
Serial Number: 87
Issue Time: 2012 Mar 10 18:35 UTC

SUMMARY: X-ray Event exceeded M5
Begin Time: 2012 Mar 10 171:5 UTC
Maximum Time: 2012 Mar 10 17:44 UTC
End Time: 2012 Mar 10 18:30 UTC
X-ray Class: M8.4
Location: N18W23
NOAA Scale: R2 – Moderate

Comment: No optical reports from ground stations. Location verified through GOES-15 SXI imagery

Potential Impacts: Area of impact centered primarily on sub-solar point on the sunlit side of Earth.
Radio – Limited blackout of HF (high frequency) radio communication for tens of minutes.


10cm Radio Burst
Begin Time: 2012 Mar 10 17:22 UTC
Maximum Time: 2012 Mar 10 18:02 UTC
End Time: 2012 Mar 10 18:22 UTC
Duration: 60 minutes
Peak Flux: 459 sfu
A 10cm radio burst indicates that the electromagnetic burst associated with a solar flare at the 10cm wavelength was double or greater than the initial 10cm radio background. This can be indicative of significant radio noise in association with a solar flare. This noise is generally short-lived but can cause interference for sensitive receivers including radar, GPS, and satellite communications.


Space Weather Message Code: WARPC0
Serial Number: 60
Issue Time: 2012 Mar 10 20:25 UTC

EXTENDED WARNING: Proton 100MeV Integral Flux above 1pfu expected
Extension to Serial Number: 59
Valid From: 2012 Mar 07 03:00 UTC
Now Valid Until: 2012 Mar 11 13:00 UTC
Warning Condition: Persistence

Comment: Recent M8 x-ray event from proton producing Region 1429 is expected to increase proton flux levels to above alert threshold levels.

Potential Impacts: An enhancement in the energetic portion of the solar radiation spectrum may indicate increased biological risk to astronauts or passengers and crew in high latitude, high altitude flights. Additionally, energetic particles may represent an increased risk to all satellite systems susceptible to single event effects. This information should be used in conjunction with the current Solar Radiation Storm conditions when assessing overall impact.

Stay tuned for updates. Follow Sun’s activity in real time on our Space Weather Station.

Solar Geophysical Activity


Analysis of Solar Active Regions and Activity from 09/21:00 UTC to 10/21:00 UTC: Solar activity was high.

Region 1430 (N21W42) produced a C8 flare at 10/15:52 UTC and Region 1429 (N18W26) produced a long duration M8 flare at 10/17:44 UTC with an associated Tenflare (459 sfu) and a Type IV radio sweep. Both flares had associated CMEs. The first CME appeared in SOHO/LASCO C2 imagery at 10/16:24 UTC with the majority of the ejecta off the NW limb. The second CME, associated with the M8 flare, first appeared in C2 imagery at 10/18:00 UTC. Further analysis will be done as imagery becomes available, however initial analysis indicated the event produced a full-halo CME with an estimated plane-of-sky speed between 1200 – 1400 km/s.

Region 1429 remained a large Ekc spot class with a Beta-Gamma-Delta magnetic class.

A new region appeared on the ENE limb near Region 1432 (N16E52). Close proximity to the limb made a detailed analysis of this new region difficult.

Geophysical Activity Forecast: The geomagnetic field is expected to be quiet to unsettled early on day 1 (11 March) until the arrival of the 09 March CME followed by today’s CME associated with the M8 flare. Models show an arrival of the first CME early to midday on 11 March which is expected to cause minor to major storm conditions with isolated severe storm periods likely. Initial estimates on the second CME indicate an arrival late on day 1. Activity is expected to continue into day 2 (12 March) with minor to major storm conditions with isolated severe storm periods possible.

Global D – Absorption on March 10, 2012 at 18:49 UTC


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