Friday, March 9, 2012

M6.3 Flare + Earth Directed CME - March 9, 2012

   Sunspot Region 1429 has produced a  M6.3 solar flare at 03:22 UTC March 9, 2012. There was a Earth directed CME produced in association with this flare event. With a estimated ejection speed of  750 km/s the expected arrival time for the CME is on March 11, 2012 around 06:49UTC (+ or - 6hrs.)
We will update the details of this expected CME as more data becomes available.
Today there remains a strong chance for continued major flaring. NOAA has a 40% chance of an X-class solar flare today from sunspot region 1429.

Be sure to check back often for further updates on this event.
All updates will be added to the bottom of this report

   Here we can see the Earth directed CME as it appears on STEREO B

From NASA:
Event Issue Date: 2012-03-09 16:39:27.0 GMT
CME Arrival Time: 2012-03-11 06:49:05.0 GMT
Arival Time Confidence Level: ± 6 hours
Disturbance Duration: 10 hours
Disturbance Duration Confidence Level: ± 8 hours
Magnetopause Standoff Distance: 5.2 Re

   From solen:
Region 11429 [N17E03] lost penumbral area with the main penumbra fragmenting into smaller penumbrae. The region still has several magnetic delta structures and could produce further major flares. The region was the source of a long duration major M6.3 event peaking at 03:53 UTC on March 9. STEREO-B indicates that another full halo CME was produced by this event.
One magnetic delta structure was gone in region 11429 after the LDE and the center of the region is becoming quite open. Several new ARs had spots at 10:00 UTC, see the most recent high resolution CHARMAP. S1517 was located at S23E33, S1518 at S26E23 while S1519 was at N06W25. AR 11431 has developed slowly today, and there is spot development in the southern part of region 1428 as well.

From SDIC:
Due to the position of the CME source region close to the solar central meridian, we expect a nearly central encounter of the resulting ICME, which will probably be a magnetic cloud with leading southward field. A strong geomagnetic storm (K = 7 or higher) is probable.

On the graph below, we can see the NOAA/SWPC Satellite Environment Plot as it appears on Friday, March 9, 2012.  The conditions will have little time to return to normal levels before the March 11, 2012 CME is expected to arrive.

   The effects we can see on this graph are as follows:
Proton Flux- here we see the elevated proton levels of the ongoing proton event.
Electron Flux- the electron count as 2 CME's arrived at Earths magnetosphere on March 8-9.
Magnetometer- the magnetic field fluctuations caused by the 2 CME's that arrived on March 8-9.
Kp index- the Kp level (storm level) caused by the arrival of the 2 CME's that arrived on March 8-9. At times reaching Kp8

Update 18:03 UTC March 10, 2012:
A strong LDE solar flare is currently underway at sunspot region 1429. So far reaching as high as M8.4
The Xray flux is hanging high around the M7.7 range and not dropping yet.
This is a sign that there may be a CME associated with this flare
We will make a new post report with all details as soon as the event is over

Update 14:30 UTC March 10, 2012:
1429 remains a beta-gamma-delta sunspot group that poses a 40% chance today for further X-class solar flares and 80% chance for M flares.
New sunspot 1432 was numbered yesterday as it rotated into view from over the eastern limb.
1432 is a  beta-delta sunspot group that poses a chance for M flares today

March 11th CME
NOAA Aleart Issued for March 11, 2012:
Issue Time: 2012 Mar 09 2209 UTC
WATCH: Geomagnetic A-index of 50 or greater predicted
NOAA Scale: Periods reaching the G3 (Strong) Level Likely
Valid for UTC Day: 2012 Mar 11

Potential Impacts: Area of impact primarily poleward of 50 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.
Induced Currents - Power system voltage irregularities possible, false alarms may be triggered on some protection devices.
Spacecraft - Systems may experience surface charging; increased drag on low Earth-orbit satellites and orientation problems may occur.
Navigation - Intermittent satellite navigation (GPS) problems, including loss-of-lock and increased range error may occur.
Radio - HF (high frequency) radio may be intermittent.
Aurora - Aurora may be seen as low as Pennsylvania to Iowa to Oregon.

From Spaceweather:
ANOTHER CME TARGETS EARTH: Sunspot AR1429 has unleashed another strong flare, an M6-class eruption on March 9th at 0358 UT. The blast hurled a coronal mass ejection almost directly toward Earth. According to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the CME will arrive on March 11th at 0649 UT (+/- 7 hr). NOAA forecasters say the odds of a strong geomagnetic storm at that time is 50%

Update 20:35 UTC March 9, 2012:
A C9,7 solar flare has occured @ 20:25 UTC March 9th from a new sunspot region that is rotating over the eastern limb of the solar disk. This new region should be numbered 1432 sometime later today


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