News: Solar Flare Gives Earth Biggest Radiation Storm in 7 Years; Auroras Likely

Solar Flare Gives Earth Biggest Radiation Storm in 7 Years; Auroras Likely

NASA reports that the sun erupted late last night with a large solar flare—an M8.7 class flare. The classification is calculated according to the peak flux of 100 to 800 picometer x-rays near Earth measured from the GEOS weather satellite. There are 5 letter classifications for solar flares, each with a linear 1-9 number scale of severity. M is the fourth most powerful class, with X leading the way. But last night's earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME), captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory in the video below, was just a few tenths off from hitting X.

The solar flare eruption came from the sunspot 1402, a region of increased activity lately, and the cause of the strongest radiation storm since 2005.

NASA's own Goddard Space Weather Center predicts that the barrage of charged particles (CME) triggered by the solar flare will reach Earth's magnetosphere as early as tomorrow, January 24th, at 9 a.m EST (6 a.m. PST), though it could happen seven hours earlier or later.


So, if you've got cameras, make sure to have them ready, because there might be some great auroral displays to snap, possibly even at lower latitudes than normal, claims NASA. If you happen to snag a great shot, post it the corkboard for all to see!

2 Comments

Great post! I've been hearing about it coming since 2010. I've ever understood what a Solar Storm was
up until a few years ago. Around the time it hit earth - I did notice some weird interferences though.
Lights blinking, radio fuzzed up and so did my laptop! Some have told me though that it won't affect
general appliances. So not sure whether it was the Solar Storm or the rain we were having that night.
But the rain has never made my laptop do that before - that's for sure.

That's very interesting. I've never noticed anything like that happen when a solar storm hit. I always thought we were pretty much shielded down here from the effects. Thought it only effected satellites and planes and such, and made some great auroras. But you never know!

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