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Published on Sep 24, 2011
STRONG SOLAR ACTIVITY: New sunspot 1302 is crackling with strong solar flares. This morning it unleashed an X2-class flare--its second X-flare in two days--quickly followed by an M7-class eruption. So far the blasts have not been Earth-directed, but this could change in the days ahead as the sunspot turns toward our planet. The sunspot is growing and there is no sign that it will quiet down soon. An M7.1 flare peaking at 13:17 UT was observed in Catania 82 (NOAA AR 1302), the same region that produced the X flare this morning. A fast and wide-angle CME was associated with this M-class event. We estimate its speed to be around 1000km/s in the STEREO-B plane of the sky. This CME is faster than the one associated with the X flare this morning, so it will catch up with the slower one (which had a speed around 400 km/s, again based on STEREO-B). As a result of these CME's, active geomagnetic conditions are possible from tomorrow evening onwards.