The sun erupted with an M3 X-ray flare (NOAA Scale R1-Minor radio blackout) peaked in X-ray at 7:56 UTC on Feb. 20, 2014 (3:56 EST) from sunspot group AR11976, located near the solar west limb.
This eruption also produced a 10 MeV proton event (NOAA Scale S1-solar radiation storm) that exceeded the 10 pfu threshold at 8:55 UTC (4:55 EST). Potential impacts from the proton event include: Minor impacts on polar HF (high frequency) radio propagation resulting in fades at lower frequencies.
In addition, this eruption sent out a westward directed CME that may provide a glancing blow to Earth. We have to wait for further data to know for sure.
For the second time in 24 hours, a CME has hit Earth’s magnetic field. The impact happened Feb. 20th at about 3:00 UT and resulted in elevated geomagnetic storm levels (Currently G2-Moderate as of 14:20 UT). This re-energized a subsiding geomagnetic storm that had induced Aurora over on Feb. 19th.
The continued stirring of our magnetosphere has brought more auroras around the Arctic Circle with the possibility of more at lower latitudes. Here is a look at just some of the amazing sights these lights have brought to the skies over the past two days.
Click on an image below to view larger.