A major solar flare measuring X1.5 at its peak erupted on the Sun's NW limb -- most likely from the newly-formed Active Region 2838 -- on July 3, 2021, producing R3 - Strong radio blackout. The event started at 14:18, peaked at 14:29, and ended at 14:34 UTC. This is the first X-class solar flare of Solar Cycle 25 and the first since September 2017.
A Type II Radio emission with an estimated velocity of 375 km/s was registered at 14:37 UTC. Type II emissions occur in association with eruptions on the sun and typically indicate a coronal mass ejection is associated with a flare event.
While this region does not favor Earth-directed coronal mass ejections, the eruption produced R3 - Strong radio blackout -- wide area blackout of HF radio communication, loss of radio contact for about an hour on the sunlit side of Earth.
The same region produced a moderately strong M2.7 solar flare at 07:17 UTC today.
Solar activity was very low on July 2.
B-class flaring was observed from Regions 2836 (S26W36, Axx/alpha) and 2837 (N17E15, Dro/beta). Slight decay was observed in Region 2836 and the trailing spots of Region 2835 (S18W29, Dkc/beta-delta). Region 2835 developed a weak delta as the main penumbral area connected with some of the intermediate spots while Region 2837 grew slightly.
Other activity included an eruptive prominence observed off the NW limb in GOES SUVI 304 imagery beginning at 14:01 UTC. An associated CME was observed in SOHO LASCO C2 imagery beginning at 15:36 UTC.
"Modeling of this CME will commence as further imagery becomes available. However, due to its location beyond the NW limb, it will likely not have a geoeffective component," SWPC forecasters noted.
Solar wind parameters were slightly enhanced on July 2. Wind speed ranged from 414 - 499 km/s while the total field was between 3 - 7 nT. Phi showed a boundary crossing into a negative sector at 14:18 UTC.
Solar activity is likely to be low with a slight chance for M-class (R1-R2, Minor-Moderate) radio blackouts through July 5 due to the magnetic complexity of Region 2835.
While we still might see some action from Region 2838, it will soon start its farside rotation and return back to Earth-view in about 2 weeks.
Featured image: X1.5 solar flare on July 3, 2021. Credit: NASA SDO/AIA 304