Thursday’s solar flare rated as a powerful M2-class sun storm.
BREAKING!!! official video. NASA; major solar flare Jan 19. M-class flare expected Jan 21. Auroras expected.
Today’s M2.6-class Solar Flare produced a nice Coronal Mass Ejection, which appears to be Earth directed. Current forecasts have it to arrive on January 21, 2012 at approx. 22:30 UT (let’s give or take 7 hours… it’s over 90 million mile journey after all).
Our friends at the NASA Goddard Space Weather Lab are predicting possible strong geomagnetic storms. What will it mean for us? Possibly some Aurorea and perhaps some communications interruption. No major issues are expected.
A view of the Active Regions 1401 and 1402 over the past couple of days shows the development of those beautiful sunspots. Then two views of the solar flare through the SDO instrument before concluding with views from STEREO Ahead and Behind.
Credit: NASA SDO & NASA STEREO
The solar flare occurred at about 11:30 am EST (1600 GMT) and touched off a massive solar explosion — known as a coronal mass ejection — aimed at Earth, space weather experts and officials said. The charged particles from the sun explosion should reach Earth by Saturday night (Jan. 21), and could amp up northern lights displays when they hit the upper atmosphere.
Particles from the storm are heading toward earth at more than 600 miles per second.
M-class storms are powerful, falling between the weaker C-class flares and the most powerful X-class solar storms, which can pose a threat to satellites and astronauts in orbit, cause widespread communications interference and damage infrastructure on Earth when aimed directly at the planet.