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M CLASS Solar Flare Headed Toward Earth

February 14, 2011

Sunspot 1158 has just unleashed the strongest solar flare of the year, an M6.6-category blast @ 1738 UT on Feb. 13th and it is heading straight for Earth.

The eruption appears to have launched a coronal mass ejection (CME) toward Earth. It also produced a loud blast of radio emissions heard in shortwave receivers around the dayside of our planet. Amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft recorded these sounds. Stay tuned for updates!

Solar activity increased sharply over the weekend with the eruption of an M6.6-class solar flare from behemoth sunspot 1158.  The blast produced a strong burst of radio waves heard in the loudspeakers of shortwave receivers around the dayside of our planet, and it appears to have hurled a faint coronal mass ejection toward Earth.

Sunspot 1158 is growing rapidly (48 hour movie) and crackling with M-class solar flares. The active region is now more than 100,000 km wide with at least a dozen Earth-sized dark cores scattered beneath its unstable magnetic canopy. Earth-directed eruptions are likely in the hours ahead.

The remains of old sunspot complex 1147-1149 are rotating over the eastern limb today. Although the region is in an advanced state of decay, it’s not dead yet. During the late hours of Feb. 11th, a plasma bullet came rocketing out of the region’s unstable core. Watch the movie–but don’t blink, because it’s fast.


Movie formats: 21 MB Quicktime, 1.3 MB mpeg, 0.5 MB iPad. Credit: SDO


Huge coronal hole on Sun turning towards Earth

Blast from the Sun

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