“Bad Boy” Sunspot Unleashes Powerful X-Class Flare

The active region on the Sun that created all the hubbub and aurorae earlier this week put out one last shot before that area of the Sun turns away from Earth’s view. And that shot was a biggie. At 18:37 UT (1:37 pm EST) today (January 27, 2012) sunspot 1402 unleashed an X-class flare, the largest and most powerful category of flares. This flare was measured as an X2, which is at the low end of the highest powered flares, but still, this is the most powerful flare so far this year. It was not directed at Earth, but scientists from the Solar Dynamics Observatory say the energetic protons accelerated by the blast are now surrounding our planet and a S1-class radiation storm is in progress. S1-class is the lowest of 5 (S1 to S5) and has no biological impact, no satellite operations are impacted but some minor impact on HF radio could be experienced.

With all the activity from the Sun, you might need a refresher course in solar flares. Here’s a guide from SDO, and what all the different classifications are:

6 Replies to ““Bad Boy” Sunspot Unleashes Powerful X-Class Flare”

  1. is the video speed real time? does a flare really occur that fast on such large scales?

  2. @ Omni. No that is not real time. Massive ones like that develope and build over days. The actual release of energy takes several hours. The rotaional period of the sun is quite slow and takes several days for a sun spot to travel limb to limb.

  3. @ Omni. No that is not in real time. It takes several days to build to that magnitude and several hours to release that much energy. The rotational period of the sun is quite slow and it takes a sun spot several days to travel limb to limb.

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