Sun activity: Another CME coming, 2 more flares, a radio blackout
Another CME is coming
As reported by SpaceWeather.com:
On March 13 , an unstable filament of magnetism in the sun’s far-southern hemisphere exploded. The resulting CME could deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field on March 17. Minor G1-class geomagnetic storms are possible if/when the CME arrives.
Two moderate flares and a radio blackout on March 15
The sunspot region that has been giving us a taste of the coming solar maximum is labeled AR2965. It also released a CME (coronal mass ejection) last week, which reached Earth on March 13 and set off a flurry of amazing auroras.
And AR2965 has not stayed quiet. It produced two more moderate flares (M1.4 and M1.6) on March 15 with shortwave radio blackouts over the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Oceans, respectively.
AR2965 is at it again. Another M flare, M1.6 peaking at 22:46 then a C6.7 at 23:26 UT. Perhaps there was a coronal mass ejection. We will have to wait and see. The events both created shortwave radio blackouts over the Pacific, the M flare trigger a NOAA R1 alert. Keep um coming pic.twitter.com/q7KghShK6C
— Dr. C. Alex Young (@TheSunToday) March 16, 2022
Thanks, Sun! We asked you gave – M1.4 flare from AR12965 peaked at 12:39 UT, 3/15 with a shortwave radio blackout over the Atlantic Ocean. Check out the flash in SDO 131 angstrom wavelength. A lot of hot plasma! The region has got “potential” for more C, M, and maybe an Xflare.? pic.twitter.com/5C2BRn9eRI
— Dr. C. Alex Young (@TheSunToday) March 15, 2022
the AR2965 has generated a flare of class M2.0, in turn generated a blackout of Radio R1 pic.twitter.com/QJHHynI421
— Industrial Engineer Irene Quiroz (@nenecallas) March 14, 2022
HUGE SUNSPOT REGION: AR2965 has grown to a size of 600 millionths (of the surface of the Sun). It includes several spots as big as, if not larger than the Earth. It contains about 70 individual spots spread over a distance of about 140,000 km. We can expect to see larger regions. pic.twitter.com/Ld3wJ5YMp6
— Keith Strong (@drkstrong) March 14, 2022
2 cool videos of AR2965, from SDO
The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is in a circular geosynchronous orbit around Earth. It gives us multiple ways to view AR2965 as it rotates into view from the left side of the sun (as viewed from Earth), and as other regions rotate out of view on the right of the sun. The first video shows the change in the sun’s magnetic field from March 8 to March 14. The clumps of black and white are the concentrations of magnetic fields from the sunspots. The black color means the field is going into the sun and white means coming out. This is a 2-D view and a 3-D structure. The first region in view is AR2962. It rotates out of view and we can see AR2965 come into view. This is the region that gave us an Earth-directed CME (and glorious auroras) last week, along with 2 moderate, M-class flares.
The next video shows the same region but now in 193 angstrom light. This shows us the sun’s super-hot atmosphere in temperatures upwards of 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit (1 million degrees Celsius). The loop-like structures are the magnetic fields (normally invisible in light) lit up by the hot atmosphere.
Some cool gifs from SOHO
The SOHO (the Solar Heliospheric Observatory), with its LASCO instruments – orbiting at the L-1 point in the Earth-sun system – also gives us unique views of the sun. It uses a disk (called an occulter) to block out the super bright sun. And so faint CMEs are visible as puffs of smoke moving away from the sun.
The white circles in the two gifs below – from March 14-15 – show where the sun is behind the occulter. The red images are from the inner coronagraph, C2. And the blue ones are from the outer coronagraph, C3.
Auroras all over!
Following last weekend’s direct hit of Earth by a CME, the auroral show has gone on and on. In several places at north latitudes as we write this, auroras are still happening. The northern lights appeared from the Yukon and Alaska to Iceland, Norway, Kiruna in Sweden, and more! Auroras were seen as far south as 52 degrees north latitude. There are so many beautiful photos and videos that it is hard to select just one. Here are a few more.
Aurora seen as far south as 52 degrees N last night! https://t.co/uAyjl8KpZ9
— Night Lights (@NightLights_AM) March 14, 2022
— Andy Witteman (@CNLastro) March 14, 2022
Bottom line: A look at sun activity for the week of March 14, 2022. Another CME coming. There have also been two more solar flares, and a radio blackout. Stay tuned!