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Tags:
solar flares, space weather, sunspots
Image from NASA's SDO AIA 304 Instrument showing the explosion of Sunspot 1158.  The solar flare reach category X2.2 the highest seen in 7 years.
Image from NASA's SDO AIA 304 Instrument showing the explosion of Sunspot 1158. The solar flare reach category X2.2 the highest seen in 7 years.

Sunspot 1158 swelled up like a water balloon over a 4 hour period then popped, unleashing an M6.6 category blast DIRECTLY at the Earth. It is traveling at 1119 km/s, and should hit the Earth in 37 hours, or 5-6AM Mountain Standard Time. This is the largest solar flare we have seen in quite a while, and it should produce exciting results for us travelers on the spaceship Earth.

Update: 8:30am MST

    After Sunspot 1158 unleashed the reported M6.6 category solar flare it opened up with full-auto and has unleashed a series of 4 C class solar flares. See more below for additional information of affects here on Earth.

Update: 12:10pm MST

    Sunspot 1158 continues to be very active and has just unleashed a M2.2 category blast.

Update: 8:10pm MST

    Sunspot 1158 let out another huge blast, this time measured at X2.2, the largest we've seen in 7 years.

Update: 8:10AM MST Feb 15th

    Sunspot 1158 is expected to light off another big one M or X Class Flares, but it is starting to face away from the Earth so it may only send a glancing blow. The continuing solar storm has yet to hit the Earth but should at any time. Heating will be more focused on the North American continent and the Pacific Ocean.

The storm should hit the Earth about the time the sun it coming up on the East coast of the united states, so a majority of the energy should be directed at the Atlantic Ocean. Solar storms like this usually only last for a few hours, so most of the energy should be absorbed before the sun reaches it zenith on the East Coast. If for some reason the storm slows down, as they sometimes do, more of the energy will be directed towards the East Coast.

This storm was pretty well tracked and was actually predicted by several solar weather agencies around the world, so most satellite operators should have ample warning to get their systems in safe mode. It may cause temporary disruption of services, but it shouldn't permanently damage any satellites. Radio communications may be temporarily disrupted as well, though it may only reduce the range of radio transmissions rather than black them out.

During the initial blast wave that hits the Earth, it may cause some beautiful aurora in both the southern and northern hemispheres. North America, should have a beautiful view in the early morning hours as far south as Utah. During this early blast wave, our magnetosphere will quake and will also allow more radiation through than normal. It is possible that air traffic will be rerouted or even possibly canceled during the early part of the storm.

On February 13th, Sunspot 1158 started a barrage of solar flares all directed towards the Earth. Starting with a medium-to-large M6.6 Flare, it then set off several C class flares followed by a large X2.2 Flare on February 14th.

Video created from images taken from NASA's SDO AIA 304 Instrument
Sunspot 1158 has unleashed a large M6.6 category blast directly at the Earth.  It should impact our magnetosphere in the early morning hours in the East Coast of the U.S.
Sunspot 1158 has unleashed a large M6.6 category blast directly at the Earth. It should impact our magnetosphere in the early morning hours in the East Coast of the U.S.

If the estimated velocity does stay constant, then the bulk of the storm will be absorbed by the Atlantic Ocean in the Northern Hemisphere and the majority of the South American continent in the Southern Hemisphere. This increase in water temperature should cause evaporation leading to heavy precipitation in Western Europe and North Africa over the latter part of the week. South America may see record temperatures for this time of year as well.

If the storm slows down, then the bulk of the energy may be absorbed by the east coast of North America and by the Andes in South America. In both cases it may cause high elevation water trapped as snow to melt and cause flooding downstream a few days later.

Continued flares from sunspot 1158 may extend heating

    Though smaller flares, the series of 4 flares following the 'big one' may extend the heating affect to most of the North American continent, as well as a portion of the Pacific Ocean. The affects may be more global in nature. We expect heavy precipitation around the globe. Stay tuned for more updates.

We are predicting an initial solar storm of up to Kp7, though the majority of the storm should be at or below Kp6. According to the NOAA, a Kp7 storm may have the following affects:

    Power systems: voltage corrections may be required, false alarms triggered on some protection devices.

    Spacecraft operations: surface charging may occur on satellite components, drag may increase on low-Earth-orbit satellites, and corrections may be needed for orientation problems.

    Other systems: intermittent satellite navigation and low-frequency radio navigation problems may occur, HF radio may be intermittent, and aurora has been seen as low as Illinois and Oregon (typically 50 geomagnetic lat.)**.
On February 13th, Sunspot 1158 started a barrage of solar flares all directed towards the Earth. Starting with a medium-to-large M6.6 Flare, it then set off several C class flares followed by a large X2.2 Flare on February 14th.

Video created from images taken from NASA's SDO AIA 304 Instrument

Comments:

1. touaty

2/15/2011 8:28:22 AM MST

In fact, we've got rain since two days, here in the south of France,does iot come from it ?


2. monotemo

2/15/2011 9:36:23 AM MST

It looks like the images are broken in this article. Any admins want to fix them for us?


3. Chuck

2/15/2011 10:13:57 AM MST

Wow. I know that here in Texas, the flare about wiped us out. Thank God we lived through it.


4. Joe Apocolypse

2/15/2011 3:50:07 PM MST

We are communicating through our laptop from the depths of a cavern.Is everything ok in civilization.we got hit hard here in argentina.90% of our population has perished we need food and water


5. Oliver Klozoff

2/15/2011 6:30:30 PM MST

Citrus County, Florida, reports zombies have taken over the courthouse and...oh, never mind, those are just our politicians.


6. Fail

2/17/2011 4:36:27 PM MST

My god... My wife had a child when this hit... it came out black. Is that normal?


Leave a Reply:

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