Solar Storm in Progress - Mar 7, 2012

A Significant Solar Radiation and Geomagnetic Storm is in Progress.

Subsequent Strong (R3) Radio, (S3) Solar Radiation, and (G3) Geomagnetic storm levels are either occurring or expected to occur and to impact the Earth over the next few days.  For more information, check with NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center.

Radio.  A solar flare erupted from the Sun on Tuesday night at 7:04pm EST, creating a Strong (R3 level) Radio Blackout.

The initial affects were mainly felt over the Pacific Ocean, during the central U.S. overnight period, which happened to be the sunlit side of the Earth at that time.  The primary impact was a temporary degradation of High Frequency (HF) radio communications, which also affected communications with commercial aircraft over the Pacific.

Solar Radiation.  Meanwhile, a Strong (S3 level) Solar Radiation Storm is still occurring through today, March 7th. This storm is continuing to affect HF communication in the polar regions, rendering HF unusable at the highest latitudes. Thus some commercial airlines are avoiding the polar routes because of the disruption to HF communication.

Geomagnetic.  Geomagnetic storming is currently reaching the G2 (Moderate) level, as a result of solar activity originating on March 5th as is expected to increase the G3 level by late tonight or early Thursday.

Strong (G3) level geomagnetic activity is expected after midnight Eastern tonight with the arrival of the coronal mass ejection associated with Tuesday’s R3 event. These G3 levels are most likely to cause visible aurora (Northern and Southern Lights) and could affect precision GPS (Global Positioning System) devices. These G3 levels are not expected to cause damage in power grid elements.

Also, check the Space Weather Center's Tips for viewing the Aurora.

The sunspot region which is responsible for this activity, known as NOAA Region 1429, remains potent and subsequent activity is possible throughout the next 10 days as this region rotates across the visible solar disk and out of our immediate view.

The solar flare (bright spot in the upper left) as captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory at 7:04 p.m. EST.
Solar flare
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