Sun unleashes three powerful X-class flares within 24 hour period

May 14, 2013 SOLAR WATCH - The sun erupted for the second time in less than 24 hours Monday morning, releasing the most powerful solar flare so far of 2013. Monday’s solar flare, which peaked at 9 a.m. Pacific time, came just 14 hours after the second largest solar flare of 2013, which occurred on Sunday evening. A solar flare is a huge explosion in the sun’s atmosphere that sends out a burst of radiation. The Earth’s atmosphere protects us from that radiation, but some satellites could be affected. Monday’s solar flare is classified as an X2.8, according to NASA. Sunday’s solar flare was an X1.7. In the language of solar flare watchers, an X class solar flare is the largest type of solar flare. An X2 is twice as powerful as an X1, and an X3 is three times as powerful, etc. The Sunday solar flare was the first X-class solar flare of 2013. Both solar flares originated from sunspots that are just hidden from view on the left-hand side of the sun. These spots will be visible from Earth in a few days however, thanks to the sun’s rotation. Both solar flares were also associated with coronal mass ejections, which can send billions of tons of solar material hurtling through space at speeds of hundreds of miles per second. The coronal mass ejections were not directed at Earth however, but the people who work on the solar imaging satellite STEREO-B and the Spitzer spacecraft have been put on notice that the side of the coronal mass ejections may brush past them, interfering with their operations. There’s no need to worry about the sun’s increase in eruptions. In a statement released Monday, NASA says that the increased number of solar flares is expected as the sun moves toward the peak of its 11-year solar cycle–solar maximum–in 2013. So far this solar cycle, there have been a total of 16 X-class flares including Sunday and Monday’s flares. The largest X-class flare of this cycle was a whopping X6.9, which took place on Aug. 9, 2011. Monday’s solar flare was the third strongest flare of this solar cycle. –LA Times
3rd x-Class flare: A sunspot on the sun’s eastern limb is crackling with powerful X-class solar flares. Just-numbered AR1748 announced itself during the early hours of May 13th with an X1.7-class eruption (0217 UT), quickly followed by an X2.8-class flare (1609 UT) and an X3.2-class flare (0117 UT on May 14). These are the strongest flares of the year so far, and they signal a significant increase in solar activity. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of more X-flares during the next 24 hours. –Space Weather
  
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16 Responses to Sun unleashes three powerful X-class flares within 24 hour period

  1. Crysus says:

    The biggest is not an X-2.8, nut an X-3.2. Link here: http://www.spaceweather.com/

  2. kennycjr says:

    bring on the solar flares, now maybe the weather won’t be as crazy. ;o)

  3. jennifer says:

    Did this affect the return of the astronauts from ISS at all?

  4. Kaos says:

    Thanks alvin,

    These are babys when compared to solar cycle 23.. There was a none earth directed X45 event (originally thought to be X23 or something to that effect – can’t remember exactly – that was around 2003 but was later revised to the mentioned X45)
    The proverbial bullet…
    It seems although cycle 24 is kicking into it’s double peak, will be nothing quite like previous maximum, however it only takes one good event to cause unprecedented damage to electronics.

    Kaos

  5. Jana says:

    I think I have read that the scale goes higher than X, to Z even…that would be my last post…forever.

    • Kaos says:

      X Class is the highest :)

      Anything above X20 would bring our modern society to its knees, but it would take something above X10 to cause damage/serious damage depending on its effective possitioning on the earth and also the direction of the CME.

      Its like a giant game of complex russian roulette

      Kaos

  6. niebo says:

    So . . . is this the beginning of the dreaded “double-peak”?

    • Kaos says:

      As i understand it, this is the first peak, the next is expected in 2015.

      A small quote from Nasa…

      - Incidentally, Pesnell notes a similarity between Solar Cycle 24, underway now, and Solar Cycle 14, which had a double-peak during the first decade of the 20th century. If the two cycles are in fact twins, “it would mean one peak in late 2013 and another in 2015.”

      No one knows for sure what the sun will do next. It seems likely, though, that the end of 2013 could be a lot livelier than the beginning.

      More = http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/01mar_twinpeaks/

      Kaos

  7. Kaos says:

    Updated 05/15/2013 @ 01:40 UTC
    1748 Flares Again (X1.2)
    Sunspot 1748 does it again. For the fourth time, the active region has produced a major X-Class solar flare. The latest event measured X1.2 and peaked at 01:47 UTC. The eruption was associated with Type II and IV Sweep Frequency Events and a 10cm Radio Burst (Ten Flare) measuring 490 sfu. I will provide further updates regarding a possible Coronal Mass Ejection. Stay Tuned to SolarHam.com for the latest updates.

    CME Update: The latest X-Flare event did generate a Coronal Mass Ejection. Because the blast location is still not in prime position, a majority of the plasma was directed away from Earth. There does appear to be a very minor Earth directed component, however it should have only a minor effect on our geomagnetic field at best.

    Kaos

  8. Kaos says:

    Update…

    A good Geo-Effective possition is expected by saturday, AR1748 is still a beta-gamma-delta active region.

    With regards to todays X1.2, A glancing blow on earth with a peak solar wind velocity of 500km/s is expected around 22:00 this saturday which may produce auroras at high levels and a G1-G2 Storm.
    The X-Ray flux is currently hovering in the upper B range and the proton flux is elevated indicating ongoing activity..

    NOAA forcast for this region..
    C Class = 99%
    M Class = 80%
    X Class = 40%

    Kaos

  9. Kaos says:

    Solar Update / Radiation Storm Continues
    All Quiet For Now. Below is an updated image of the visible solar disk on Thursday morning. Solar activity is currently at very low levels. After producing four major solar flares, Sunspot 1748 is now stable and appears be in a slight decay phase. Despite this, there will remain a chance for at least moderate solar flares. All other regions, including new sunspots 1749, 1750 and 1751, remain stable.

    Proton levels streaming past Earth remain elevated above the minor radiation storm threshold. This could persist over the next 24-48 hours, up until a glancing blow CME impact from the X1.2 solar flare on May 15 possibly sweeps past Earth on Friday May 17. There will be a slight chance for minor geomagnetic storming at very high latitudes.
    -solarham

    Kaos

  10. mtnwolf63 says:

    SUNSPOT NUMBER EXCEEDS 200! – 17 May 2013

  11. Kazi Abul Firoz says:

    There were cyclones in the Costal areas of Bangladesh (since 12-15 May 2013) which were also predicted by CNN, BBC weather reports.
    The CME was not earth-directed, but I think it had impacts somehow on the Earth’s magnetosphere.

    Comments on this matter are requested, if possible, elaborately.

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