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Long-duration M1.1 solar flare erupts from AR 2936, impact expected on February 1 or 2

long-duration-m1-1-solar-flare-january-29-2022

Solar activity reached moderate levels in 24 hours to 00:30 UTC on January 30, 2022, due to a long-duration M1.1 solar flare at 23:32 UTC on January 29 from Region 2936 (N17E05, Dkc/beta).

The region produced numerous C-flares, the largest of which was a C6.7 at 12:14 UTC, and it continued to grow in size and spot count through the period.

An area of flux behind the SE limb produced a C7 flare at 16:55 UTC. The remaining regions were either stable or in decay.1

The M-class flare produced an asymmetric, full halo CME biased to the NE, first visible in LASCO C2 imagery at 23:36 UTC. The CME is expected to impact Earth late February 1 or early February 2.2

AR 2936 had rapidly grown into one of the largest active regions of young Solar Cycle 25, quadrupling in size in only 48 hours.3 As it turns toward Earth, the chance of an Earth-directed solar flare is increasing.

A 10cm Radio Burst was associated with the M1.1 flare, lasting 58 minutes and with a peak flux of 320 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.

Solar wind parameters in 24 hours to 00:30 UTC reflected the continued influence of a positive polarity CH HSS. Solar wind speeds ranged from initial values near 450 km/s to between 500 – 550 km/s after 08:30 UTC.

Total field strength decreased throughout the period from a peak of 9 nT to around 5 nT by the end of the day, and Bz was sustained southward for prolonged periods multiple times throughout the period.

Solar wind parameters are expected to be enhanced under positive polarity CH HSS influence on January 30 and February 1.

Geomagnetic field activity ranged from quiet to active levels this period in response to positive polarity CH HSS influence.

Quiet to active conditions are expected on January 30 due to continued positive polarity CH HSS influence. Quiet conditions are expected on January 31, followed by quiet to unsettled levels on February 1 in response to another positive polarity CH HSS.

Solar activity is expected to be low through February 1 with a chance for M-class flare activity.

A G2 – Moderate geomagnetic storm watch has been issued for February 2 at 20:54 UTC on January 30 in response to the anticipated arrival of the January 29 CME coupled with CH HSS influence.

Potential Impacts: Area of impact primarily poleward of 55 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.

  • Induced Currents – Power grid fluctuations can occur. High-latitude power systems may experience voltage alarms.
  • Spacecraft – Satellite orientation irregularities may occur; increased drag on low Earth-orbit satellites is possible.
  • Radio – HF (high frequency) radio propagation can fade at higher latitudes.
  • Aurora – Aurora may be seen as low as New York to Wisconsin to Washington state.

References:

1 Forecast Discussion Issued 2022 Jan 30 0030 UTC – Prepared by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center

2 Forecast Discussion Issued: 2022 Jan 31 1230 UTC – Prepared by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center

3 Big Sunspot Alert – SpaceWeather.com – January 29, 2022

Featured image credit: NASA SDO/AIA 304

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