Friday, 29 May 2020 - 12:01 UTC
925 days. That is the amount of time we had to wait since we last saw a M-class solar flare on the Sun. But today the wait is over. An impulsive M1.19 solar flare (minor R1 radio blackout) took place on our Sun this morning peaking at 07:24 UTC. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory seems to have taken a break from its sun-watching duty for some reason but STEREO Ahead captured the impulsive eruption confirming it comes from a sunspot region near the east limb from Earth's point of view. This sunspot region very likely belongs to Solar Cycle 25 due to its high latitude and it could even be the first M-class solar flare of Solar Cycle 25 depending on if we have passed solar minimum or not.
The M1.1 solar flare (R1) that peaked today at 07:24 UTC is the first M-class flare of a sunspot region that belongs to Solar Cycle 25 and the first M-class flare in 925 days! The flare took place at the east limb from Earth's point of view and produced a nice coronal wave. pic.twitter.com/gOcBpgDQRY— SpaceWeatherLive (@_SpaceWeather_) May 29, 2020
The solar flare was of a very short duration (which we call an impulsive event) but did produce a nice little coronal wave as you can see on the images made by STEREO Ahead featured in the tweet above. A small coronal mass ejection became visible on the SOHO/LASCO coronagraph following the M-class event but due to the location of the eruption, it is of course not aimed at Earth.
This M-class solar flares was followed by a near M-class event at 10:46 UTC peaking at C9.3. Interesting times and possibly a historic moment if this indeed is the first M-class event of the new Solar Cycle.
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