This close-up image captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) shows the July 6, 2012 X-class flare captured in the 171 Angstrom wavelength. Credit: NASA/SDO/AIA
Sun Releases X1.1 Class Flare
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The sun (AR1515) released an X1.1 class flare on July 6, 2012, peaking at 7:08 PM
EDT. This flare caused a radio blackout, labeled as an R3 on the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations scale that goes from R1 to R5. Such
blackouts can cause disruption to both high and low level radio frequencies.
The flare also caused what is know as a solar energetic particle event
(SEP), caused by fast particles from the sun traveling behind the flare and
impacting Earth's magnetosphere. The magnetosphere also underwent a minor
geomagnetic storm on the evening of July 6 in response to relatively slow
coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that have erupted from other regions on the
sun since July 4.
Early reports of the flare originating from AR1515 were incorrect. The source of the flare was actually AR1514.
This animated gif taken by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) shows the coronal mass ejection (CME) released by the X.1.1 flare. Initial analysis of the CME cloud by the Goddard Space Weather Lab indicates it should pass south of Earth. Credit: NASA/SOHO
What is a solar flare? What is a coronal mass ejection?
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This movie shows the July 6, 2012 X-class flare in the 171 Angstrom wavelength as captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
For answers to these and other space weather questions, please visit the Spaceweather Frequently Asked Questions
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Karen C. Fox
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD