Class X-1.4 Solar Flare Hits Earth Saturday

July 17, 2012 in Featured News, Science

Northern Lights As Seen Fom Minnesota

Northern Lights As Seen From Minnesota.Credit: Travis Novitsky.

July 12th, NASA scientists observed a class X-1.4 coronal mass ejection (CME) heading in the direction of Earth. As one might expect, X-class emissions are on the high end of the scale of solar irradiation, and a possible cause of concern. The CME hit the Earth two days later on Saturday at around 2PM Eastern Daylight Time (1800 UT). Scientists anticipated a brilliant Borealis and disruption of communications systems.

Fortunately, the main result was a global fireworks show. Spaceweather.com says they received reports of incredible Borealis sightings “as far south as Oregon, California, Colorado, Missouri, Utah, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Washington, Illinois, Kansas, South Dakota, Nebraska, Michigan and Arkansas.”

Travis Navitsky of Grand Portage, Minnesota made a party of it. Rather than retire early Saturday, he, his girlfriend and friends stayed up late to enjoy the super-sized Borealis. To his credit, Travis took some rather glorious photos of the event.

This is the second class X solar event for the month of July according to NASA.

Multiple Views of X1.4 Solar Flare on July 12, 2012. This video shows the July 12, 2012 X1.4 class solar flare in a variety of wavelength; 31- Teal colored, 335 – blue colored, 171 – yellow colored and finally a combined wavelength view. All video was captured by the Solar Dynamic Observatory’s (SDO) AIA instrument. Source: NASA.

Before the X Flare: AR1520 and Coronal Loops. This movie shows the sun from late July 8 to early July 10 shortly before it unleashed an X-class flare beginning at 12:11 PM EDT on July 12 as captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. The region responsible for the flare, Active Region 1520, sits in the lower left part of the sun. On the right side of the sun, the shimmering loops offer us the last vision of Active Region 1515. Source: NASA.