Solar Activity Jump

Posted March 10, 2012 by User 1


The Sun has entered into another active period with a spike in the number of strong solar flares and geomagnetic storms. In the past week, numerous M-class flares have taken place topped by an X5 flare in the middle of the week. There has not been any further X-class flaring but the M-class flares continue. In fact, an M8.4 flare is currently (18:25 UT, March 10, 2012) in progress.

Flares in the past 3 days: http://www.webcitation.org/6645aVEGP (originally http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/rt_plots/Xray.gif)
Flares in the past 6 hours: http://www.webcitation.org/6645dOwoz (originally http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/rt_plots/Xray_1m.gif)

Significant geomagnetic storming has occurred as a result of these flares and their associated Coronal Mass Ejections. Currently, quiet conditions persist but these are unlikely to last with the recent flaring. The last storm rose to G3 levels which are indicated by a Kp index of 7: http://www.webcitation.org/6646VJlqn (originally http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/rt_plots/Kp.gif). At such levels, auroras were visible well into the contiguous 48 states of the United States.

These flares have all originated from Active Region 1429 which will likely produce many more such flares before it either fades out or is rotated onto the far side of the Sun.


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