Thursday, July 12th 2012, 7:38 PM EDT
X-FLARE! - SpaceWeather.com: Big sunspot AR1520 unleashed an X1.4-class solar flare on July 12th at 1653 UT. Because this sunspot is directly facing Earth, everything about the blast was geoeffective. For one thing, it hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) directly toward our planet. 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. Sky watchers should be alert for auroras this weekend.
The UV pulse partially ionized Earth's upper atmosphere, disturbing the normal propagation of radio signals around the planet. Monitoring stations in Norway and Ireland recorded the sudden ionospheric disturbance.
Finally, solar protons accelerated by the blast are swarming around Earth. The radiation storm, in progress, ranks "S1" on NOAA space weather scales, which means it poses no serious threat to satellites or astronauts. This could change if the storm continues to intensify. Stay tuned
See Also: 'Extreme' solar storm speeding straight towards Earth
- by Rik Myslewski - theregister.co.uk