Saturday, May 4, 2013

SOLAR WATCH: The Sun Produces Strong M5.7 Solar Flare - Second M-Class Flare In An Hour; Coronal Mass Ejection Generated; Plasma Cloud Not Earth-Directed!

May 04, 2013 - THE SUN - An active region just over the sun's eastern limb exploded on May 3rd at 1730 UT, producing a strong M5-class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught a plume of hot plasma flying up from the blast site:

The strong solar flare reaching M5.7 was detected around old Sunspot 1719 near the northeast limb. Because this region is not squarely Earth facing, any associated Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) may be directed mostly away from Earth. This is the second M-Class flare within the hour with the first being centered around Sunspot 1731.

This is also, the second time in three days that this same farside active region has unleashed a strong flare. The sun's rotation is carrying the sunspot around the bend, and it should emerge into view from Earth during the weekend. After that, Earth-directed flares are possible. An uptick in geoeffective solar activity appears to be in the offing.

The M5 event around old Sunspot 1719 did generate a CME. As expected, the plasma cloud appears to be directed mostly towards the east and away from Earth.

ALERT: Type II Radio Emission
Begin Time: 2013 May 03 1745 UTC
Estimated Velocity: 1297 km/s
Description: Type II emissions occur in association with eruptions on the sun and typically indicate a coronal mass ejection is associated with a flare event.

WATCH: Strong M5.7 Solar Flare - May 3, 2013.

As indicated before, several minutes prior to the 5.7 solar flare event, a low level M-Class flare initially peaking at M1.3 was detected around Sunspot 1731 at 16:53 UTC.

The flare itself was fairly long in duration and still ongoing at the time of this update.

SUNSPOTS: Solar activity has been fairly low since the M5 event. Most activity has been centered around Sunspots 1734 and 1739. Sunspot 1739 produced a minor C5.6 flare at 12:36 UTC this morning. Although not a large region in terms of visible sunspot area, magnetically it appears that it has the potential to produce another isolated M-Class event within the next 24-48 hours.
Sunspot AR1739 is probably connected to yesterday's M5-class solar flare. Credit: SDO/HMI
New Sunspot 1739 (ex-1719) on Saturday.
Image: SDO

Sunspot 1731 which is currently making its trek towards the west limb, continues to slowly decay and has lost its Beta-Gamma-Delta magnetic classification. It is now classified Beta-Gamma. Small new Sunspot 1740 was numbered after rotating into view off the southeast limb. This looks to be the return of old region 1721 from the previous region. Old region 1722 was trailing 1721 and could re-emerge off the east limb within the next 24 hours. There will remain a chance for an isolated M-Class event today.

CORONAL HOLES: Solar wind flowing from this minor coronal hole should reach Earth on May 6-8.
Credit: SDO/AIA.

SOURCES: Space Weather | Solar Ham.

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