A massive Class X eruption shook Earth as the solar storm continued

The Class X flare is responsible for the Earth’s explosion, which is causing a major radio outage today; more significant impacts are possible in the coming days, as could a geomagnetic storm from today’s event. Image: NOAA SWPC

A huge Class X eruption has struck Earth today as the storm in the Sun continues; with the simultaneous creation of radio outages, this solar disturbance could continue to have a significant impact on the Earth in the coming days. The X1 class eruption occurred today, March 30 at 1:37 PM ET. According to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), the source of the eruption was from a group of magnetically complex sunspots, region 2975. to confirm any CME and, if verified, further analyze to see if there may be any component directed at Earth, ”the SWPC statement said.

The same group of sunspots has been the source of several M-class eruptions (R1 – Minor) in recent days, with the strongest previous eruption being M4 at 28/1129 UTC. Yesterday’s sunspot sends a cannibalistic CME to Late tonight and tomorrow; this is a merger of two Earth-facing CMEs that hit Earth as one. Due to this event, Geomagnetic Storm Watch for Heavy Storm (G3) is available tonight / tomorrow.

The sun releases a constant stream of particles and magnetic fields called the solar wind.  This solar wind hits bodies throughout the solar system with particles and radiation - which can flow to planetary surfaces as long as the atmosphere, magnetic field or both do not interfere.  Image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith
The sun releases a constant stream of particles and magnetic fields called the solar wind. This solar wind hits bodies throughout the solar system with particles and radiation – which can flow to planetary surfaces as long as the atmosphere, magnetic field or both do not interfere. Image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith

More than 17 solar flares erupted from the sun yesterday; 11 were C-Class and 6 were M-Class. Solar flares are huge explosions in the sun that send energy, light and high-speed particles into space. These eruptions are often associated with solar magnetic storms known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Flares are included in the classification system, which divides solar flares according to their strength. The smallest are Class A (near background levels), followed by B, C, M and X. As in the Richter scale for earthquakes, each letter represents a 10-fold increase in energy expenditure. Thus, X is ten times M and 100 times C. Within each class of letters, there is a finer scale from 1 to 9. Class C and smaller flares are too weak to significantly affect the Earth. Class M flares can cause short outages of radio signals at the poles and minor radiation storms, which can endanger astronauts. According to NASA, although X is the last letter, there are eruptions with more than 10 times the strength of X1, so class X eruptions may be higher than 9. NASA claims that the strongest flare measured by modern methods was in 2003, during the last solar maximum and he was so powerful that he overloaded the sensors that measured him. Those sensors were cut to X28.

If the SWPC determines that another CME is heading for Earth, they will issue a Geomagnetic Storm Watch for it.

The sun is constantly swirling the material and magnetic fields that create an ever-changing landscape with properties that last from milliseconds to the day.  NASA has developed this infographic to illustrate some of the most common elements that can be seen in the Sun.  Image: NASA / Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith
The sun is constantly swirling the material and magnetic fields that create an ever-changing landscape with properties that last from milliseconds to the day. NASA has developed this infographic to illustrate some of the most common elements that can be seen in the Sun.
Image: NASA / Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith

Coronal holes can develop anytime and anywhere in the Sun, but they are more common and persist for years around the solar minimum. Coronal holes are the most widespread and stable at the North and South Poles of the Sun; but these polar holes can grow and expand to lower solar latitudes. It is also possible that coronal holes develop in isolation from polar holes; or for the polar hole widening to split and become an isolated structure. Persistent coronal holes are long-lasting sources for high-speed solar wind currents, also known as “CS HSS”. As the high velocity current interacts with the relatively slower ambient solar wind, a compression region known as the co-rotation region (CIR) is created. According to the SWPC, from the point of view of a permanent observer in the interplanetary space, the CIR will be perceived as the leader of the CH HSS.

Strong CIR and faster CH HSS can affect the Earth’s magnetosphere to the point that they cause geomagnetic storm periods at the G1-G2 level (small to medium); although less frequent cases of a severe storm may occur.

Although the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its National Meteorological Service (NWS) are usually known for their weather forecasts, they are also responsible for “space weather”. While there are private companies and other agencies that monitor and forecast space weather, the official source of space alerts and warnings is the Space Weather Forecast Center (SWPC). SWPC is located in Boulder, Colorado and is a NWS service center that is part of NOAA. The Space Weather Forecast Center is also one of the nine National Environmental Forecast Centers (NCEPs) because they monitor current space weather activity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

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