“The “almost X-class” solar flare (circled) erupted from the sun on Nov. 28″
ALMOST X CLASS
‘Almost X-class’ flare launches solar storm that could smash into Earth by tomorrow
by Harry Baker / 11/30/23
“A recent solar explosion that almost reached “X-class” status has hurled a massive coronal mass ejection toward Earth, which will likely hit our planet and trigger a geomagnetic storm on Nov. 30 or Dec. 1. The sun recently unleashed an “almost X-class” solar flare that was only fractionally less powerful than one of the sun’s most powerful explosions. This flare has already bombarded us with radiation and unleashed a coronal mass ejection (CME) that will likely slam into Earth today (Nov. 30) or tomorrow (Dec. 1).
A large gaping coronal hole is currently stretching across the SE quadrant. It will begin to face Earth this weekend a CH stream should reach our planet by December 4th. Another round of geomagnetic storming will be possible. pic.twitter.com/IVxmTs6abs
— SolarHam (@SolarHam) November 30, 2023
Solar flares are essentially large explosions that are triggered when magnetic fields around sunspots snap and fling plasma into space. On Nov. 28, a large flare erupted from a dark patch near the sun’s equator. Solar orbiters measured the flare as a 9.8 magnitude M-class, which is just below the threshold of X-class flares — the most powerful class of solar flare, Spaceweather.com reported. (Solar flare classes include A, B, C, M and X, with each class being at least 10 times more powerful than the previous one. X-class flares are the equivalent of a magnitude 10 M-class flare and above.)
Another look at the full hall coronal mass ejection launched by yesterday's M9.8 solar flare. As expected, the plasma cloud is earth-directed and expected to arrive late on Friday, 1 December. Expect geomagnetic storm conditions after the cloud arrives. pic.twitter.com/kRSrG8rmCq
— SpaceWeatherLive (@_SpaceWeather_) November 29, 2023
The supercharged flare spat out an initial wave of solar radiation that smashed into Earth on Nov. 29 and triggered minor radio blackouts as it rattled our planet’s magnetic shield, or magnetosphere, and further ionized the top part of our atmosphere, EarthSky reported. The flare also unleashed a CME, or fast-moving cloud of magnetized plasma, which shot out of the sun at around 1.8 million mph (2.9 million km/h), according to Spaceweather.com. The trajectory of the CME suggests it is likely to hit Earth on either Nov. 30 or Dec. 1, according to Spaceweather.com.
A Direct Hit! The impressive #solarstorm launched in the Earth-strike zone has been modeled by NASA. The storm is predicted to hit Earth by midday December 1. Along with two earlier storms already en route means we have a 1,2,3-punch. If the magnetic field is oriented correctly,… pic.twitter.com/XLCAbmjXZ7
— Dr. Tamitha Skov (@TamithaSkov) November 29, 2023
If the CME does hit Earth, it will be repelled by the magnetosphere. But the collision will temporarily weaken the magnetosphere, causing a geomagnetic storm that could trigger vibrant aurora displays that light up the night sky. The storm will be minor to moderate (G1 or G2 class) and will not pose a threat to satellites or ground-based infrastructure. However, the CME could cannibalize another smaller CME — that was spat out by a smaller CME on Nov. 27 — on its way to Earth, which could power up the resulting storm, according yo Spaceweather.com. Solar flares have become more frequent and intense throughout this year. There have already been 11 X-class flares since January — more than the last five years put together, according to SpaceWeatherLive.com.
It appears that at least one of the expected coronal mass ejections has passed the ACE spacecraft and will soon arrive past Earth. It is still too early to tell if this is from one of the earlier eruptions on November 27th, or a combination including the Earth directed M9.8… pic.twitter.com/T8gcrT3jo8
— SolarHam (@SolarHam) December 1, 2023
At least three of these superpowered solar explosions have launched CMEs that have hit Earth: The first came from the first X-class flare of the year in early January; the second hit us in February and also unleashed a “solar tsunami” as it erupted; and the most recent CME exploded from an enormous sunspot 10 times wider than Earth in July. Increasing solar activity has also been visible in other ways, including an increase in the number of sunspots peppering the solar surface and rising temperatures in Earth’s upper atmosphere, which is soaking up more solar radiation than normal. This ramp-up in activity is the result of the sun approaching the explosive peak in its roughly 11-year solar cycle, known as the solar maximum, which scientists now believe will arrive sometime next year.”
The #aurora I've been waiting for! The strong CME hit and a G3 magnetic storm occurred.
In the field quick edit from Spooner, Wisconsin. Colors straight off camera. No color correction! Bit dimmer to the eye, But the reds were so bright right into dawn!#wiwx #northernlights pic.twitter.com/h50CqazDAL
— Jake Stehli (@eljakeo30) December 1, 2023
‘Cannibal’ coronal mass ejection that devoured ‘dark eruption’ from sun will smash into Earth today
by Harry Baker / July 17, 2023
“A “cannibal” coronal mass ejection (CME) birthed from multiple solar storms, including a surprise “dark eruption,” is currently on a collision course with Earth and could trigger a weak geomagnetic storm on our planet when it hits on Tuesday (July 18). CMEs are large, fast-moving clouds of magnetized plasma and solar radiation that occasionally get flung into space alongside solar flares — powerful explosions on the sun’s surface that are triggered when horseshoe-shaped loops of plasma located near sunspots snap in half like an overstretched elastic band. If CMEs smash into Earth, they can cause geomagnetic storms — disturbances in our planet’s magnetic field — that can trigger partial radio blackouts and produce vibrant aurora displays much farther away from Earth’s magnetic poles than normal.
Tips for aurora chasing tonight:
1. Bring water, warm clothes, an external battery for your phone, snacks, and download maps if you're going off-grid.
2. Get out of town away from light pollution. Make sure there aren't any cities to your north.
3. Be patient, the aurora will… pic.twitter.com/rb3AoQjojJ
— Vincent Ledvina (@Vincent_Ledvina) December 1, 2023
A cannibal CME is created when an initial CME is followed by a second faster one. When the second CME catches up to the first cloud, it engulfs it, creating a single, massive wave of plasma. On July 14, the sun launched a CME alongside a dark eruption — a solar flare containing unusually cool plasma that makes it look like a dark wave compared to the rest of the sun’s fiery surface — from sunspot AR3370, a small dark patch that until then had gone largely unnoticed, according to Spaceweather.com. On July 15, a second, faster CME was launched from the much larger sunspot AR3363.
“computer simulation showing how cannibal CME is formed by two successive solar flares. (credit: NASA/Goddard Conceptual Image Lab/Walt Feimer)”
A simulation from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center showed that the second storm will catch up with the first CME and form a cannibalistic cloud, with a strong likelihood of it hitting Earth on July 18. Both CMEs came from C-class solar flares, the mid-tier of solar eruption strength. Their combined size and speed mean they are likely to trigger a G1 or G2 level disturbance, the two lowest classes for a geomagnetic storm. Cannibal CMEs are rare because they require successive CMEs that are perfectly aligned and traveling at specific speeds.
Note that the view line here is very conservative. Kp is not a good measure of auroral visibility at mid latitudes. We may see reports as far as the U.S./Mexico border if/when the CME hits and if it has a favorable magnetic configuration. 😊 https://t.co/Ur54cJ82Fd
— Vincent Ledvina (@Vincent_Ledvina) November 29, 2023
But there have been several in the last few years. In November 2021, a cannibal CME smashed into Earth, triggering one of the first major geomagnetic storms of the current solar cycle. Two more CMEs slammed into our planet in 2022, the first in March and another in August, and both triggered strong G3-class storms. Cannibal CMEs become more likely during the solar maximum, the chaotic peak of the sun’s roughly 11-year solar cycle. During this time, the number of sunspots and solar flares increases sharply as the sun’s magnetic field becomes increasingly unstable. Scientists initially predicted that the next solar maximum would arrive in 2025 and be weak compared to past solar cycles.
With the Bz/IMF hanging south, conditions are ripe for visible aurora across Canada, the northern tier USA or perhaps beyond this evening as it gets darker. https://t.co/aqK4Q6XdAY pic.twitter.com/o6cIO0IB8q
— SolarHam (@SolarHam) December 2, 2023
But Live Science recently reported that the sun’s explosive peak could arrive sooner — and be more powerful — than previously expected. Weird solar phenomena, such as cannibal CMEs, further indicates the solar maximum is fast approaching. Earth has already been hit by five major (G4 or G5) geomagnetic storms this year, including the most powerful storm for more than six years. These storms have superheated the thermosphere — the second-highest layer of Earth’s atmosphere — to its highest temperature in more than 20 years. The number of sunspots is also increasing as we approach solar maximum, reaching its highest total for almost 21 years in June.”
— Dr. Ryan French (@RyanJFrench) May 9, 2023
SUNSPOTS and MASS EXCITABILITY
a CARRINGTON EVENT
— High Hopes Aurora w/ Justin Anderson (@AuroraJAnderson) April 26, 2023