Three M-class solar flares, CH effects, CME watch

Tuesday, 21 April 2015 14:11 UTC

Three M-class solar flares, CH effects, CME watch

Three low-level (R1) M-class solar flares took place today, all of them located at or near the east or west limb of our star.

The first of these solar flares was an M1.0 solar flare at 07:21 UTC from departing sunspot region 2322. Sunspot region 2322 has been growing rapidly during the past 24 hours but as this sunspot region is now turning away from Earth, we have to conclude that any future eruptions from this sunspot region will not be directed towards our planet.

The second M-class solar flare was an M2.2 event at 10:40 UTC but it did not come from sunspot region 2322. A new sunspot region behind the east-limb was the source of this event. SDO imagery shows that is was a pretty violent event and it likely released a coronal mass ejection that is directed away from Earth.

The third and final M-class event of today (thus far... the day isn't over yet!) was also an M2.2 event. This solar flare peaked at 11:57 UTC and came from departing sunspot region 2322. It did not look eruptive but because this was also a limb event, any resulting coronal mass ejection will not be directed at Earth. Below you can watch a video by SDO showing the three M-class solar flares. The three flashes on the limbs are the M-class solar flares.

Coronal hole effects and CME watch

Earth is currently under the influence of a coronal hole solar wind stream. The solar wind speed is increasing to 600km/s but the strength of the IMF is at background levels (6nT) with a variable direction. Unsettled to active conditions (Kp3 to Kp4) is possible in the hours ahead.

Do note that we are also awaiting a minor coronal mass ejection associated with a C5 solar flare/filament eruption. More info about that event can be found here.

Any mentioned solar flare in this article has a scaling factor applied by the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), the reported solar flares are 42% smaller than for the science quality data. The scaling factor has been removed from our archived solar flare data to reflect the true physical units.

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