A solar flare this past weekend was the largest on record since 2013 and caused a radio outage on Earth.
(updated at 11:31 p.m.)
Last weekend, a sun glow X-class, one of the strongest classes on the leaderboard and the strongest in the past 9 years. This event triggered a solar tsunami and caused radio outages on the planet. Yesterday (21) caused new explosions solar storm moderate, down to earth.
The sun continues to gradually increase its activity, towards the solar maximum expected to occur in the year 2025. In this process, sunspots cause huge volcanic eruptions that in turn reach the Earth in the form of geomagnetic storms.
Sunspot region AR3229 released an unexpected X2.2-class flare on February 17 and produced a coronal mass ejection. Class X is the most powerful type of explosion our star can produce and is divided into X1 through X9. Scientists haven’t seen such a powerful event since 2013.
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This explosion created a “solar tsunami”, causing a radiation storm that knocked out radio on Earth. The surprise is that space weather experts predicted an event of this magnitude from another, larger sunspot, AR3226.
As a result, there was a rare type of shock wave known as a solar tsunami, or magneto-dynamic wave (MHD) – a giant wave of plasma that can travel up to 901,000 km/h through the photosphere and reach 100,000 km above the sun’s surface.
Check out the explosion in different wavelengths below:
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The solar tsunami also emitted a solar radio explosion of the second type. This means the flux of ultraviolet rays, x-rays and, of course, radium. The rating ranges from Type I (the weakest) to Type V, which can cause widespread blackouts.
On the 19th, the coronal mass ejection caused by the same sunspot region was more intense:
Another massive jet: The AR3229 sunspot region has produced another spectacular coronal jet, this time much larger than the previous one. The region is located much farther out on the solar disk, so any regulated hike is much shorter. This aircraft is flying out of AIA’s field of view and gaining altitude. pic.twitter.com/aHyIuEU0rn
– Keith Strong (@drkstrong) February 19, 2023
Fortunately, none of these events caused serious damage to our planet, except for a power outage that lasted about an hour. Contrary to NASA’s predictions, the impact of the geomagnetic storm was small, passing by “grazing” the Earth.
Citizen scientist Thomas Ashcraft managed to record the sound of a radio explosion on Earth 17. Sound is produced by static electricity from radiation hitting the atmosphere; Fortunately, at that moment, Ashcraft’s telescope was pointed at the sun.
New solar flares at the carnival
On Tuesday (21), a new sunspot region called AR3234 formed eruptions, including several M4 and M5 (meaning medium strength) class events. They ionize the upper part of our atmosphere, causing radio outages at all meridians on Earth.
So far, spots AR3234 and AR3229 are on the visible side of the Sun, that is, facing the Earth. The first is still on the left side of the sun’s disk, while the second is moving more and more towards the center, directly towards us. However, there are no warnings of more severe geomagnetic storms than usual.
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