Solar Radiation/Geomagnetic Storming in Progress

A solar radiation storm is currently in progress around the globe.  A solar flare was released by the sun Tuesday night at 7:04pm EST, resulting in a R3 (strong) radio blackout.  The initial flare affected the sunlit side of the Earth which was over the Pacific latitudes at the time. Temporary degradation of high frequency (HF) communications, mainly affecting communication with commercial aircraft over the Pacific, was the primary impact.  As of now, the flare is still effecting HF communications in Polar Regions, rendering HF useable at the highest latitudes with reports of commercial airlines avoiding the polar routes to do disruption of HF communication.

Geomagnetic storming reaching G2 (moderate) levels is currently occurring as a result of the solar flare.  Addtional geomagnetic activity is expected after midnight Eastern tonight with the arrival of the coronal mass ejection associated with the solar flare released on Tuesday.  Storm periods reaching G3 (strong) level are likely.  This means:

  • G3 levels are not unlikely to cause damage or protective device trips in power grid elements.
  • G3 levels could cause Global Positioning System errors, impacting users requiring high-accuracy surveying, precision navigation, etc.
  • G3 levels could cause aurora to be visible from the northernmost states in the contiguous United States.

The region of the Sun responsible for this activity remains potent with additional activity possible throughout the next 10 days as the region rotates across the visible disk of the Sun and out of view of Earth.

 

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

Links

Information and data provided by the National Weather Service Operations Center.

 



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