Massive sunspot AR1944 has erupted. The X1 flare has sent a coronal mass ejection into space, and it’s heading towards Earth.
The flare occurred at 1832 UT, but NASA has only released the details in the last half an hour. Not all the information has been collated at this point so updates will follow as more details become available.
Update 1 2330 UT 1/7: NOAA has upped the risk from further X-class flares to 50% for the next 24 hours. Risk of M-class up to 80%
Update 2 0800 UT 1/8: The size of the flare has been confirmed by NASA as a X1.2. The scale is not logarithmic, an X2 is twice the size of a X1 and so on. The X1 follows an M-class that came from a different area of the same spot a short while before.
Sunspots AR1943 and AR1944 are very close together and the X flare came from a region closer to AR1943 meaning the active area could be bigger than previously thought.
It takes sunspots about 14 days to travel across the Earth side of the sun disc and this group is seven days into the journey so both NASA and NOAA will be watching it very closely in the coming days.
Data regarding Earth impacts is still being collated but so far a G2 (moderate) geomagnetic storm is expected on January 9th. There has been no further comment regarding the effect on electronic systems or the power grid, but it’s likely that current systems are robust enough to deal with a G2 storm.
Update 3 1145 UT 1/8: A radiation storm is ongoing. NOAA warns that:
“Passengers and crew in high flying aircraft in high latitudes may be exposed to an elevated radiation risk” (source)
More to follow as news is released.
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Contributed by Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple.
Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!