Science

Published on July 15th, 2012 | by James Ayre

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X-Class Solar Flare Released A CME Headed Towards Earth (VIDEO)

July 15th, 2012 by

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The strongest solar flare of the summer, an X1.4-class flare, just erupted on July 12th. It was the second X-class solar flare in just one week. It peaked at 12:52 p.m. EDT (1652 GMT) on the 12th.

The massive X-class flare included a powerful coronal mass ejection. The CME, a mass of charged solar plasma sent toward Earth, was expected to arrive sometime on the 14th, according to forecasts by NASA and the NOAA-run Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado. CME’s can greatly amplify Earth’s northern lights, the aurora borealis, making them visible very far south if the storm is big enough.

“As the forerunner solar wind protons continue a steady increase, indicators that the CME is on the way, the wait continues for it to impact the Earth’s magnetic field,” center officials wrote in an update. “Look for that in the next few hours.”

This solar storm originated from one of the strongest solar flares to occur this year. The flare occurred as an X1.4-class sun storm, one of the strongest flares the sun can unleash. It was the sixth X-class solar flare of 2012.

“The solar storm erupted from the giant sunspot AR1520, or Active Region 1520, which is actually a group of sunspots that at its peak may have stretched across 186,000 miles (300,000 kilometers) of the sun’s surface, NASA scientists have said.”

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“An earlier center update released late Friday stated that the solar storm could trigger a level G2 geomagnetic storm on Earth, a moderate-level event capable of sparking auroras at latitudes as low as New York or Idaho, sometime after 9 a.m. EDT. Most northern lights displays, which occur when charged solar particle interact with Earth’s upper atmosphere, are confined to high-latitude regions around the polar regions by the planet’s magnetic field.”

AR1520 is being tracked for more activity because of its potential for larger flares, as well as several other active spots on the sun.

“All eyes are on the solar wind data to note the expected passage on Saturday of a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from Thursday’s solar event,” center officials wrote in an update late Friday (July 13).

The storm is not expected to pose any significant risks to satellites and spacecrafts that are in orbit, or to power systems on Earth, officials have said.

We are currently in the midst of the active phase of the 11-year solar weather cycle. The current cycle is numbered Solar Cycle 24. The cycle is expected to peak in 2013.

Source: Space
Image Credits: NASA/SDO/AIA

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • Learning To Read

    As the article stated, no major effects were expected from this flare.

  • Hype

    Nothing major happened. Aurora borealis was visible further south than usual. Some magnetosphere disturbance. That’s about it. We have lived through much stronger flares including an x-class 28+ in 2003. Look here http://www.spaceweather.com/solarflares/topflares.html

  • http://planetsave.com Z

    This is pretty wicked. Thanks for the share!

  • sherrie

    From NASA site ( http://hesperia.gsfc.nasa.gov/sftheory/spaceweather.htm
    “When a CME reaches the Earth, its impact disturbs the Earth’s magnetosphere, setting off a geomagnetic storm…One serious problem that can occur during a geomagnetic storm is damage to Earth-orbiting satellites…
    [Also:} temporary loss of electrical power over a large region. The best known case of this occurred in 1989 in Quebec. High currents in the magnetosphere induce high currents in power lines, blowing out electric transformers and power stations. ”

    Also interesting: http://www.solarstorms.org/Sradiation.html

  • http://google anquinette perkins

    So, what does all of this solar flare business actually mean? Are the predictions for 12-21-12 true? Are we going to become extinct like the prehistoric civilization? I ask all of this because I am an Astronomy major and it seems like everyone is being hush hush about all of this, as well as how global warming is actually going to effect our world.

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