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Space Science

Sun Produces First Cycle 24 X-Class Solar Flare 131

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-outside-and-look dept.
radioweather writes "For the first time since solar cycle 24 began, the sun produced a massive X-class solar flare, the strongest type of flare event. This comes from sunspot group 1158, which produced an M-class solar flare on Sunday. The EVE X-ray imager on the solar dynamics observatory shows a bright explosion on the sun, so bright it made a lens flare. The last X-class solar flare was on December 13th, 2006 and was part of solar cycle 23. Look for spectacular auroras in a couple days as the slower Coronal Mass Ejection hits earth. This will be a test of how well our newest technology handles stray energy from such solar disruptions."
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Sun Produces First Cycle 24 X-Class Solar Flare

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  • Re:start worrying? (Score:4, Informative)

    by dreamchaser (49529) on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @08:26AM (#35208264) Homepage Journal

    How is this informative if we do not know if we need to be worried or not?

    Please let us know if we need to start worrying or not, just like in this post earlier on slashdot [slashdot.org].

    If a news outlet tells you that there is a massive thunderstorm coming do they have to spell out whether to take precautions or not? If an X-Class flare is sighted and they tell you that a massive CME is going to head our way, do you really have to have it spelled out? Besides, unless you are planning on building a Faraday cage what exactly can you do about it if we have a severe solar weather event? Backup data? You don't do that already?

    By the way spaceweather.com [spaceweather.com] is your friend if you give a shit about such matters. You know, like how you might hear a blurb on the news about possible bit thunderstorms so you go to a weather site for more info?

    People are so lazy these days, wanting everything spoon fed to them.

  • Re:start worrying? (Score:5, Informative)

    by epiphani (254981) <epiphani@da[ ]et ['l.n' in gap]> on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @10:16AM (#35208974)

    Here's a bit more context.

    Sunspot 1158 is currently facing towards earth. This is not terribly uncommon - but X series flares are relatively rare. This is the strongest flare in the last four years. What is notable about this event is that it's an X series flare AND its pointed straight at us. It's not in the top ten (X9.0 is the bottom of the top ten, and its a logarithmic scale) of what we've observed, BUT it is the strongest flare in modern history that has been pointed straight at us.

    The CME will arrive in 24-48 hours. What the effects of the geomagnetic storm we're about to get will actually be, nobody's completely sure. The most likely case is a K7 or K8 geomagnetic storm. See this scale [noaa.gov] - and expect G3 or G4.

    Realistically, this will mean some power utilities are paying very close attention to their systems and having to tweak things. HAMs will definitely notice it, and cell phones may have some issues (not that you'd notice much).

    In summary, if you're anywhere north of 45 or 50 degrees lat and have some clear skies, get outside tonight and tomorrow night. Should be a good show.

  • by geekoid (135745) <[dadinportland] [at] [yahoo.com]> on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @12:26PM (#35210880) Homepage Journal

    but it's the largest one pointed directly at us in the modern era of electronics.

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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