M1.7 solar flare with earth-directed CME

Tuesday, 2 November 2021 17:12 UTC

M1.7 solar flare with earth-directed CME

What a week we are having! Hello Solar Cycle 25! Sunspot region 2891 (which is directly facing Earth!) produced a very long duration M1.7 (R1-minor) solar flare this morning that peaked at 03:01 UTC.

This solar flare was eruptive and this sunspot region was in a perfect Earth-facing position to launch a coronal mass ejection towards Earth which it did. We get it, we are all still traumatized from the disappointing coronal mass ejection arrival from the X1.0 solar flare. But fear not, this coronal mass ejection is much better aimed towards Earth. Looking at SOHO LASCO (see the tweets below) we see a very nice asymmetrical full halo coronal mass ejection. The bulk of the ejecta might have been launched more towards the south and east but still we can not complain to much, this is not going to be a glancing blow. We will notice this impact when the cloud arrives.

The SIDC reports a preliminary speed of about 650km/s for this coronal mass ejection which is not very fast. We do have to keep in mind that the cloud will slow down on its way to Earth so the solar wind speed at Earth will not be that high but the cloud is well aimed at Earth, so a decent impact should still be expected. No worries about a glancing blow for this one!

The SIDC has a preliminary impact time late on Thursday, 4 November with no word yet from the NOAA SWPC on what they predict and what kind of storm conditions to expect. We think a moderate G2 geomagnetic storm watch will be issued for Friday, 5 November and maybe even for late on 4 November based on the trajectory and speed of the plasma cloud but maybe we are getting yet another G3 geomagnetic storm watch. We will see, keep an eye on our social media channel for updates!

What caused the active geomagnetic conditions last night?

We had some nice solar wind/IMF conditions last night and this prompted the question among some people if the activity last night might have been from the X1 solar flare. The answer to that is a clear no. The interplanetary shock at 9:15 UTC on Sunday morning was for sure the coronal mass ejection from the X1 solar flare. The increase in the solar wind conditions last night were due to the leading edge of a coronal hole solar wind stream which came from the northern hemisphere polar coronal hole. We see today the high speed solar wind stream following the initial CIR, confirming this is indeed a coronal hole stream. The X1 coronal mass ejection arrived on Sunday and was obviously not so well aimed at Earth as initially thought resulting in lackluster geomagnetic activity compared to what was expected.

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