M9.6 solar flare erupts from Active Region 2975

A strong solar flare measuring M9.6 erupted from Active Region 2975 at 18:35 UTC on March 31, 2022. The event started at 18:17 UTC and ended at 18:45. 

A Type II Radio Emission with an estimated velocity of 1 627 km/s was registered at 18:34 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.

A Type IV Radio Emission, associated with major eruptions on the Sun was also reported, as well as a 10cm Radio Burst with a peak flux of 290 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.

A pair of anticipated CMEs produced by AR 2975 on March 281 was observed hitting DSCOVR real-time solar wind sensors at L1 at 01:56 UTC today.2

Solar wind speeds stair-stepped from ~410 km/s to 500 km/s and then later 600+ km/s. Density increased impulsively as well. Bt peaked at 20 nT briefly at 03:35 UTC and Bz briefly dropped to as low as -12 nT.

Significant enhancements in the solar wind environment are anticipated to continue due to the arrival of the March 28 CMEs. Continued enhancements are expected through April 1, eventually returning to a more ambient environment by April 2.

The CME associated with the X1.3 solar flare on March 30, also from AR 2975, was modeled and is unlikely to have any significant Earth impacts.3

References:

1 Two CMEs heading toward Earth, G3 – Strong geomagnetic storm watch in effect – The Watchers

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

3 Major X1.3 solar flare erupts from Active Region 2975 – The Watchers

Featured image: M9.6 solar flare on March 31, 2022. Credit: NASA SDO/AIA 131

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