X1.6 solar flare from sunspot region 2158

Wednesday, 10 September 2014 - 17:50 UTC

X1.6 solar flare from sunspot region 2158

We had to wait almost 3 months for another X-class solar flare but sunspot region 2158 did it! It was the source of a long duration X1.66 (R3-strong radio blackout) solar flare that peaked today at 17:45 UTC.

We knew this sunspot region was capable of producing a strong solar flare as it was this region which was the source of a major far side solar flare back on September 1. However, this solar flare still came a bit as a surprise as this region showed magnetic seperation and lost it's delta classification. Sunspot region 2158 is currenty directly facing Earth and this solar flare is likely to launch a Coronal Mass Ejection considering the long duration of the flare and the coronal dimming which can already be seen on imagery from NASA SDO. GOES-15 XRS graph.

Coronal dimming
Coronal dimming and a massive large scale coronal propagating front can currently be seen on SDO footage, all signs that a CME has been launched.

A Type II Radio Emmision was observed with a velocity of 3750km/s. This indicates that there was a shockwave racing trough the Sun's corona at a speed of 3750km/s. This is very fast and a major CME is very likely. We are waiting for coronagraph imagery to see how large this CME is but a major CME is very much on the cards.

Video credit: Nariako Nitta (LMSAL) and SDO.

Solar Radiation Storm
We also issue a warning for a possible Solar Radiation Storm. The ammount of high energy protons near Earth are already elevated and we could cross the S1 threshold with this latest eruption.

NOAA SWPC alerts

ALERT: Type II Radio Emission
Begin Time: 2014 Sep 10 1727 UTC
Estimated Velocity: 3750 km/s
ALERT: Type IV Radio Emission
Begin Time: 2014 Sep 10 1728 UTC
SUMMARY: X-ray Event exceeded X1
Begin Time: 2014 Sep 10 1721 UTC
Maximum Time: 2014 Sep 10 1745 UTC
End Time: 2014 Sep 10 1820 UTC
X-ray Class: X1.6
Optical Class: 2b
Location: N15E09
NOAA Scale: R3 - Strong
SUMMARY: 10cm Radio Burst
Begin Time: 2014 Sep 10 1723 UTC
Maximum Time: 2014 Sep 10 1732 UTC
End Time: 2014 Sep 10 1826 UTC
Duration: 57 minutes
Peak Flux: 1300 sfu
Latest Penticton Noon Flux: 159 sfu
WARNING: Proton 10MeV Integral Flux above 10pfu expected
Valid From: 2014 Sep 10 2115 UTC
Valid To: 2014 Sep 11 2100 UTC
Warning Condition: Onset
Predicted NOAA Scale: S1 - Minor

Coronal Mass Ejection *update 22:20 UTC*
Coronagraph imagery from SOHO/LASCO are now slowly coming in and they indeed show a halo CME that is coming towards Earth. The CME is an asymmetrical full halo CME with the bulk heading north but a very respectable portion of the magnetic cloud is coming towards Earth. There are not yet enough frames available to give an accurate speed estimate but the CME looked to have travelled an impressive distance already in just 5 hours which suggests this CME is indeed fast.

For a more detailed analysis we will however need more imagery. More information will be posted tomorrow regarding this CME and we will estimate when this CME could arrive at Earth. We will also put out a forecase as to what kind of geomagnetic activity we can exactly expect but it already looks possible that middle lattitude locations might have a chance for aurora when the CME arrives.

First LASCO C3 frame

Current data suggest that it is not possible to see aurora now at middle latitudes
G1 - Minor geomagnetic storm expected
The observed Kp index is 4- but the predicted K-indice of 5 indicates that stronger geomagnetic conditions might occur at this moment.
The solar wind speed is currently high (722.2 km/sec.)

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