The world has a massive X Class solar flare on the way. We don’t want folks to panic, so let us put this flare into prospective. This solar flare is
an X Class which is the highest level of solar flare. It rates as an X-5. From the list of the most powerful flares ever recorded, this flare doesn’t even make the top 15. In fact we had an X-17 on July 5, 2005. That was the 4th most powerful recorded. Since 1989, we have had five solar flares up to an X28+ that occurred on April 11, 2003. Basically it is NOT the end of the world. It is a normal occurrence during an active solar cycle.
During an X-class flare one can expect some disruption in High Frequency communications like those who use Ham radio. Other concerns regarding X-Class Flares are provided by the Christian Science Monitor
When aimed directly at Earth, X-class solar flares can endanger astronauts and satellites in orbit, interfere with satellite communications and damage power grids on Earth. They can also amplify the Earth’s display of northern and southern lights, also known as auroras. Charged particles from the solar storms can interact with Earth’s upper atmosphere, resulting in a glow that is typically visible to observers at high northern or southern latitudes.
GEOMAGNETIC STORM UPDATE: A CME propelled toward Earth by yesterday’s X5-class solar flare is expected to reach our planet on March 8th at 0625 UT (+/- 7 hr). Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, who prepared the CME’s forecast track, say the impact could spark a strong-to-severe geomagnetic storm. Sky watchers at all latitudes should be alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, phone.
Mild geomagnetic activity is already underway, following a lesser CME impact on March 7th around 0400 UT. Shortly after the cloud arrived, a burst of Northern Lights appeared over the US-Canadian border. Shawn Malone photographed the display from the shores of Lake Superior:
“I was lucky to catch this brilliant outburst of aurora activity that was very active for close to an hour,” says Malone, who has also made a time-lapse video of the display. “The aurora had no problem shining through the moonlit skies.”
more images: from Eric Frigon of Banff National Park , Alberta, Canada; from John Welling of Ashland,Wisconsin; from Justin Phillips of New Auburn, Wisconsin; from Truls Tiller of Tromsø, Norway; from Stephen Voss of Sandy Point, New Zealand; from Olivier Du Tré of Cochrane, Alberta; from Manu Keggenhoff of Jake’s Corner, Yukon, Canada; from Ed Stockard of Sun Mt Lodge, Methow Valley, Washington
MAJOR SOLAR FLARE (UPDATED): Big sunspot AR1429 has unleashed another major flare. This one is the strongest yet, an X5-class eruption on March 7th at 00:28 UT. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme UV flash:
This eruption hurled a bright CME into space, shown here in a movie from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab estimate that the CME will reach Earth on March 8th at 0625 UT (+/- 7 hr), possibly triggering a strong-to-severe geomagnetic storm. An animated forecast track shows the progression of the fast-moving cloud.
The flare also accelerated energetic protons toward Earth, triggering an S3-class solar radiation storm, in progress. Such a storm is mainly a nuisance to satellites, causing occasional reboots of onboard computers and adding noise to imaging systems. Solar flare alerts: text, phone.