An intense, X-class solar flare occurred on Wednesday afternoon, originating from Active Region 2158. This is the second solar flare in two days from AR2158, and the associated magnetic cloud could provide an intense aurora shows on Thursday and Friday. (NASA)
By Angela Fritz
A strong geomagnetic storm is on its way to Earth this week after two solar flares erupted from a sunspot region pointed almost directly at Earth. The second of the two was a low-end X-class flare — the most intense type of flare on the classification scale.
After Tuesday’s minor solar fare from sunspot region AR 2158, the same location emitted an X1.6-class flare on Wednesday, prompting the NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center to up their forecasts for the geomagnetic storm expected to arrive here on Earth on Friday. A G2 geomagnetic storm watch is in effect for Friday, and a more intense, G3 storm watch is in effect for Saturday, due to the combined effects of the two coronal mass ejections (CMEs).
Geomagnetic storms of this magnitude are not uncommon, but the current solar cycle, in which we are near the maximum, has been relatively quiet. Tom Berger, director of the Space Weather Prediction Center, estimates that a G3-level storm occurs about once a month in the more active, 11-year solar cycles.
More - Link >>> http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2014/09/11/back-to-back-solar-flares-prompt-strong-geomagnetic-storm-watch/
Source: The Washington Post.
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