A strong solar flare measuring M9.6 at its peak erupted from Active Region 2993 at 01:59 UTC on April 21, 2022. The event started at 01:47 UTC and ended at 02:05. A coronal mass ejection (CME) was produced and there is a possibility there is an Earth-directed component.
Region 2993 is one of two moderately complex sunspot groups currently present on the northeast quadrant of the Sun – the other being Region 2994, SWPC forecasters said.1
A Type II Radio Emission with an estimated velocity of 1 132 km/s was registered at 01:57 UTC, suggesting a CME was associated with a flare event.
A Type IV Radio Emission and a 10 cm Radio Burst (duration 3 minutes; peak flux 370 sfu) were also associated with the event.
Type IV emissions occur in association with major eruptions on the Sun and are typically associated with strong CMEs and solar radiation storms.
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.
The most recent imagery from the NASA/SOHO LASCO instrument confirms a CME took place, SWPC said, adding that they are currently analyzing the CME to determine the likelihood of any Earth-directed component.
In 24 hours to 00:30 UTC on April 21, solar activity reached high levels due to an X2 flare (R3-Strong radio blackout) at 03:57 UTC on April 20 and an M7 flare (R2-Moderate) at 01:36 UTC.2
Both flares were from beyond the southwest limb, likely former Region 2992 (S28, Lo=245).
There was an additional M1 flare at 12:53 UTC from Region 2993 (N20E24, Ehi/beta-gamma).
The X2 flare was associated with an impulsive radio burst on 2 695 Mhz (tenflare) of 509 sfu at 03:55 UTC and a Type II radio sweep with an estimated velocity of 1 630 km/s.
An associated CME was also observed in coronagraph imagery, however, based on the source’s location beyond the southwest limb, an Earth-directed component is not likely.
Solar activity is expected to be moderate through April 23 as M-flares are expected with a chance for X-flares.
1 SWPC activity update published Thursday, April 21, 2022, at 04:17 UTC
2 Forecast Discussion issued: 2022 Apr 21 0030 UTC – Prepared by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center
Featured image credit: NASA SDO/AIA 304, TW
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