Large rotating sunpot unleashes X-class flare

Monday, March 5, 2012
By Paul Martin
March 5, 2012

Earth orbiting satellites have just detected an X1-class solar flare from sunspot AR1429. The flare peaked at 0413 UTC on March 5th. The sunspot has a ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field that harbors energy for strong M-class solar flares. Indeed, it has already unleashed an M3-class eruption on March 2nd, which created mild waves of ionization in the atmosphere over Europe. Earth-effects could become stronger as the sunspot turns toward our planet in the days ahead. NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of additional M-class flares and a 5% chance of an X-flare during the next 24 hours. –Space Weather

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