A powerful solar flare exploded on the Sun’s surface late Thursday from the Sun’s complex, which, quite naturally, flared up again quickly.
A blast of charged particles was noted to ignite in the X1.2-class. X flares are the most powerful type of flares, and can cause geomagnetic storms to affect the Earth’s magnetic field with the potential to damage satellites, communications equipment and even power grids.
The X1 shines like that, even though it’s at the low end of the X-scale. So far, no immediate damage has been reported from the blast itself, except for a short-wave radio blackout over parts of Australia and the South Pacific. This black blast is the result of a solar blast traveling at the speed of light to our planet, reaching Earth in just eight minutes. However, it was short.
But scientists think there’s more to this sunspot arsenal.
“Given the size and apparent complexity of this large active region, there will likely be good explosions in the days ahead,” writes former NASA astronomer Tony Phillips at Spaceweather.com.
Powerful bursts often associated with coronal plasma ejections (CMEs) can be shot directly at Earth, but at much slower speeds, taking a day or more to travel.
When strong CMEs make a direct impact on Earth, the result can be very bright auroral displays at higher latitudes, but also damage to the predicted infrastructure. So far there is no report of a CME accompanying Jupiter’s flare.
This is a welcome surprise, since the huge and complex energy in the sun that produced the previous part of this week has consumed the most powerful flares and CMEs on the far side of the sun. And that sun, which is set for AR3182, is rolling into our direct line of sight from Earth, meaning that future CMEs could be on our way for the next few days.
NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center predicts a 10 percent chance of more than 10 flares over the weekend.
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