Major Solar Flare and CME
Geoeffective Sunspot 2158 produced a strong solar flare Wednesday afternoon measuring X1.6 at 17:45 UTC. The event was associated with a Type II Radio emission with an estimated velocity of 3750 km/s.
This is indicative of a strong coronal mass ejection. Updated coronagraph imagery shows a full halo coronal mass ejection (CME) heading into space and directed towards Earth. This is the third CME producing event in the last 24 hours and there is the possibility these events can combine before reaching earth. Proton levels streaming past Earth are on the rise and a Minor Radiation Storm is now in progress.
Low and high energy proton levels streaming past our planet are currently on the rise. Watches are now out for a solar radiation storm to take place and this could affect things such as high altitude travel and Earth orbiting satellites. Once the plasma cloud reaches Earth, possibly by as early as Friday, minor to major geomagnetic storming will be possible. This event could interact with an earlier slower moving CME following the M4.5 event from Sept. 9. Sky watchers should remain alert this weekend for visual aurora displays. More updates to follow.
G2 (Moderate) Storm watch issued by NOAA/SWPC beginning early on Sept. 12. Geomagnetic conditions will of course depend on the strength of the actual incoming shock impact, followed by solar wind characteristics (Bz/IMF) in the hours following any such impact. The coronal mass ejection (CME) was the result of an M4.5 solar flare around region 2158 early Wednesday (UTC).
There is also a 40% chance of additional X Class flares within the next 48 hours. This is an unusual event in that this level of flaring and CME production is coming from a large sunspot that is pointed directly at earth.
Expect satellite communications to be disturbed. Power plant owners should expect power surges. Skywatchers should expect potentially large auroras, possibly visible as far south as Nebraska.