X-class solar flare (major) has occurred

Major Flare (X2.2) / Full Halo CME
02/15/2011 by Kevin VE3EN at 02:20

"UPDATE - This was rated an "X2.2 Major Solar Flare" - The sun showed some love on Valentines Day. Massive Sunspot 1158 has produced a major X2.2 Class Solar Flare at 01:56 UTC Tuesday. This is the largest Solar Flare of Cycle 24 and a CME could be associated with this event. A strong R3 Radio Blackout has taken place as well. More to follow."

X-class flares are described here:

"Scientists classify solar flares according to their x-ray brightness in the wavelength range 1 to 8 Angstroms. There are 3 categories: X-class flares are big; they are major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. M-class flares are medium-sized; they can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth's polar regions. Minor radiation storms sometimes follow an M-class flare. Compared to X- and M-class events, C-class flares are small with few noticeable consequences here on Earth."

Australia is already experiencing some effects. There are reports of down internet and the radio disruptions as mentioned above. It generally takes 48 hours for flares to hit us so we will see what happened, if anything, over the next few days. The X-flare was earth-directed, however, so there will be some effects.

From WOOD-TV, Grand Rapids MI:

Thanks to Jay for pointing out that we now have an X-class solar flare. Check out this picture of any aurora from up by the Arctic Circle in Norway tonight.  Here’s more and more here.  X-class flares are big and are major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms.  According to NASA, this is the biggest solar flare so far from this solar cycle.   We’ve had reports that the flare produced a blast of radio emissions heard in shortwave receivers around the dayside of Earth.


  1. directed WHERE? will it hit earth?

  2. yes, earth directed means the Coronal Mass Ejection will hit earth. Not sure where yet. Spaceweather.com has a note about it this morning:

    "FIRST X-FLARE OF THE NEW SOLAR CYCLE: Sunspot 1158 has unleashed the strongest solar flare in more than four years. The eruption, which peaked at 0156 UT on Feb. 15th, registered X2 on the Richter scale of solar flares. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded an intense flash of extreme ultraviolet radiation, circled below:" (at spaceweater.com, there is a movie showing the flare.) "X-flares are the strongest type of solar flare, and this is the first such eruption of new Solar Cycle 24. In addition to flashing Earth with UV radiation, the explosion also hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) in our direction. The expanding cloud may be seen in this movie from NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft. Geomagnetic storms are possible when the CME arrives 36 to 48 hours hence. Stay tuned for updates. "

  3. I found a more detailed report on the flare, I'll make a new post about it, see blog for 2-15-11


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