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X6.9 X-ray Flare (2011 Aug 09 at 0805 UTC)

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Uploaded on Aug 9, 2011

Related: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIsJO... // The largest X-ray flare yet of Sunspot Cycle 24, this magnitude X6.9 X-ray flare peaked at 0805 UTC on August 9, 2011. This was a large flare--but not the largest on record which was an X28 on November 4, 2003. This flare caused an R3-level radio blackout (a sudden ionospheric disturbance, or SID), shutting off radio communications on shortwave frequencies on the sunlit side of the Earth at that time. Additionally, the event was associated with a Type II burst (1550km/s).

Some one asked: "The video says 'left-most', but it was the complex on the right - or am I not seeing this correctly? Is this in a mirror image?

Answer: See the three spots rotating from left to right? The left-most sunspot in the group of three... is the origin. The left-most sunspot, when it reaches the right side of the solar limb, was the location of the X7-class flare.

X-ray flares are huge explosive releases of energy, including X-ray and light energy. This light and X-ray energy reaches Earth at the speed of light--eight minutes later. When it reaches Earth, it causes the ionosphere to become highly energized, so much so that the D-region (the lowest region) absorbs shortwave, and medium wave, frequencies, blocking them from going any further (and being refracted or propagated long distances around the world).

There was coronal mass (plasma) ejected because of this flare. It takes days for this to reach the Earth. STEREO beacon data confirms the presence of a CME at a speed greater than 1000 km/s. Presumably this event will trigger geomagnetic activity early Aug 11. This will be confirmed as more data comes in. If it reaches Earth (instead of missing), it may cause a geomagnetic disturbance, and some aurora.

This was not a significantly spectacular event; the X20 flare of April 2, 2001, or the X28 flare of November 4, 2003 were spectacular! But, this flare was powerful.

Credit: NASA SDO / Goddard Space Flight Center
( Guide to X-ray Flare classifications; what is an X-class, M-class or other-class flare: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8h1_QI... )

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