2nd Solar X-Flare In A Week Hurtling Towards Earth

July 12, 2012, by Ken Jorgustin

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Approximate Flare Start : 12-07-2012 1616 UT
Approximate Flare Maximum: 12-07-2012 1653 UT at Flux X 1.4
Approximate Flare End : 12-07-2012 2027 UT
LOCATION OF HF FADEOUT: South America/Central America/USA/Canada/North Atlantic/
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Australian Space Forecast Centre
IPS Radio and Space Services
Exactly 6 days after the sun unleashed the strongest solar flare in years, the most powerful kind… ‘X-class’ flare, today the sun fired off an even stronger X-class flare from sunspot 1520.

There are three sunspot regions (1519, 1520, 1521) all close together which currently appear as an enormous (180,000 miles) angry flaming twisted fiery plasma as seen in the next image from SDO ‘AIA 304′.

And here’s the thing… IT’S FACING DIRECTLY AT EARTH

x-flare-july-12-2012

Image of the flare as it occurred:
x1.4-flare-sunspot-1520

Any associated CME (coronal mass ejection) with this flare will take a day or two to reach earth. Since the flare was directly facing earth, it WILL BE a geomagnetic event, and may cause problems.

I feel compelled to post when this happens, as a reminder that our sun is quite capable of ending our easy way of life. A powerful enough X-class flare WOULD END IT. Any X-class flare, even on the lower side of the X-scale, makes me cringe. Most people have no clue what this ball of fire in the sky is capable of… and because their lives have not been disrupted by it in the past, they don’t give it a thought. It was ‘only’ 153 years ago when a monster X-class flare blasted the earth… an event if had it happened today would have put down most of the entire power grid – for a very long time… long enough for tens or hundreds of millions to die.

We are in an active period of time with the sun as we peak solar cycle 24 through this year and into next. Stay tuned. If the lights go out… maybe you’ll know why.

Update: According to a forecast track prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the CME will hit Earth on July 14th around 10:20 UT (+/- 7 hours) and could spark strong geomagnetic storms.

 

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