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Earth-directed solar X-flare March 11

The sun has been relatively quiet, and this is the first X-flare of 2015. It caused a brief radio blackout at some frequencies. Possible aurora alert ahead.

The first X-flare of 2015 from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory

The first X-flare of 2015 from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory

A strong Earth-directed X-flare erupted from a large active region on the sun – AR2297 – earlier today. The flare happened on March 11, 2015 at 16:22 UTC (11:22 a.m. CDT). It measured X2 on the Richter Scale of Flares. Spaceweather.com said:

Extreme ultraviolet radiation from the explosion ionized the upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere, causing HF radio fade-outs and other propagation effects on the dayside of our planet. In the red zone of this map, ham radio operators and mariners may have noticed brief but complete blackout conditions at frequencies below 10 MHz.

The disturbance has since subsided.

Spaceweather.com also said that natural radio emissions from the sun indicate a possible coronal mass ejection – CME – emerging from the blast site at speeds exceeding 1,400 km/s (3.1 million mph). If so, the coming days might be good for aurora-watching.

This region on the sun – sunspot AR2297 – has released 7 moderate M-class flares in the last 5 days.

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Bottom line: A strong Earth-directed X-flare erupted from a large active region on the sun – AR2297 – earlier today. The flare happened on March 11, 2015 at 16:22 UTC (11:22 a.m. CDT).

Deborah Byrd

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