Increased solar activity continues with multiple M-class flares on September 29


Solar activity started increasing on September 27 with M1.9 flare from geoeffective Region 2422 and continued on September 28 with several impulsive flares from Region 2422 (M7.6) and 2423 (M3.6).

During the early morning hours of September 29th (by 06:43 UTC) those two regions managed to produce 6 M-class solar flares. However, no Earth-directed Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) have been observed so far. 

Sunspots on September 29, 2015. Image credit: ESA PROBA2/SWAP

Region 2422 has slowed its growth but it still has 'Beta-Gamma-Delta' magnetic configuration. It is capable of producing strong and major eruptions on the Sun and is still in geoeffective position. So far, it seems it failed to produce a CME. 

'Beta-Gamma' classified Region 2423 is now located on the west limb and is starting its farside rotation. This region did manage to produce a CME during the M3.6 flare at 03:55 UTC on September 28, but initial analysis of the available coronagraph imagery indicates a non-Earth directed component.

CME produced by the M3.6 solar flare from Region 2423 on September 28, 2015. Credit: NASA SDO/AIA 304

Additionally, a filament from near the southeast limb became active after 06:30 UTC on September 28 and erupted by 11:30 UTC. SWPC analysis done by 00:30 UTC on September 29 indicates any associated CME would be non-Earth directed. However, analysis continues as more coronagraph imagery becomes available.

Below is a list of manually verified M-class solar flares produced on September 29 (data source SWPC, all times UTC):

Class Start Peak End Region D-RAP
M1.2 03:11 03:16 03:31 2423 Link
M1.1 03:41 03:43 03:53 2422 Link
M2.9 05:05 05:16 05:23 2422 Link
M1.2 05:33 05:37 05:39 2423 Link
M1.0 05:33 05:56 06:04 2422 Link
M1.4 06:39 06:43 06:46 2427 Link
M1.3 08:46 08:51 08:55 2423
M1.6 11:09 11:15 11:20 2422 Link
M1.1 19:20 19:24 19:27 2422 Link

SWX overview September 27 – 29, 2015. Image credit: NOAA/SWPC.

Solar activity is likely to be moderate (R1-R2, Minor-Moderate), with a chance for X-class (R3, Strong or greater) flares through October 1 due to the enhanced flare potential from several of the active regions, in particular, Region 2423 and 2422. NOAA SWPC forecasters estimate 70% chance for M-class and 25% chance for X-class solar flares over the next three days.

Featured image: NOAA SWPC X-ray graph for September 27 – 29 with NASA SDO/AIA 304 image captured at 03:57 UTC on September 28. Edit: TW.

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