I woke up this morning first to a NOAA solar proton storm warning then an email from my office mate and helioviewer.org creator, Dr. Jack Ireland. The email was titled, “Never seen anything like this before – spectacular”. And he wasn’t kidding!
Here is a quick video I made this morning just after getting up.
A few points that might be helpful. The solar flare occurs at the very beginning of the event and is just the brief bright flash. The flare itself is not that big, or unusual. There is a loop of dark material that rises and expands; this is the filament eruption. You can see that the material rises up, and then falls back down over a wide area of the Sun, almost half the diameter of the Sun; it is unusual to see the material splash back down over such a wide area. The material is falling back down along invisible magnetic field lines, and is not simply falling straight down due to gravity. The AIA instrument on SDO allows us to see these events in never-before-seen detail.
This event has already gained a lot of attention from others so we expect to see many posts and articles in the next few days.
Keep your eyes out for more data and information as it becomes available!