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Space Weather Gone Crazy -- Another Historic Flare
EIT full-disk view of sun

Just as solar scientists were ready to start breathing normally again, active region 10486 blasted off yet another mega-flare. This one saturated the X-ray detectors on the NOAA's GOES satellites; the jury is therefore out on the definitive classification of the flare, but from a subjective judgement of the data found on the NOAA SEC's space weather pages (and links therein, we estimate that it must have been well above 20.

This also happened once earlier in SOHO's history, on 4 April 2001. That flare was reclassified as an X20.

A very preliminary estimate based on just 3 images of the associated CME came out at about 2300 km/second. Although part of the CME is directed towards Earth, we will receive only a glancing blow, since the source region is right on the limb of the Sun as seen from Earth.

Related Links:

SOHO Hot Shots Page (with updated images/movies)

SOHO Real-Time Views of the Sun

NOAA Space Weather Today

NOAA Space Environment Center

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center