Sunspot 1121 Unleashes X-ray Flare
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Active Region 1121 unleashes M5.4 class eruption at 15:36 UT on Nov. 6, 2010. This video shows the intricate detail of this event. Credit: NASA/SDO/AIA
Active sunspot 1121 has unleashed one of the brightest x-ray solar flares in years, an M5.4-class eruption at 15:36 UT on Nov. 6th.
Radiation from the flare created a wave of ionization in Earth's upper atmosphere that altered the propagation of low-frequency radio waves. There was, however, no bright CME (plasma cloud) hurled in our direction, so the event is unlikely to produce auroras in the nights ahead.
This is the third M-flare in as many days from this increasingly active sunspot. So far none of the eruptions has been squarely Earth-directed, but this could change in the days ahead as the sun's rotation turns the active region toward our planet.
Holly Zell / Dr. Tony Phillips
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center