Sunspot AR 1598

In the past few days sunspot AR 1598 has burped a number of significant flares. The latest a strong X1, disrupted high latitudes over Asia and Australia and could result in radio blackouts.

Picture an X1 flare like a Category 3 0r 4 hurricane. Depending on whether or not it makes landfall it could be Katrina , or nothing more than a nuisance for sea going vessels.

The solar wind is a relatively calm 350 km/sec so it’s doubtful this solar outburst will give us any spectacular Auroras. There is however a 75% chance of  M class and 20% of X in the next 24 – 48 hours. In the next few days AR 1598 will be facing earth, and doesn’t appear ready to settle down any time soon.

The following link is to the official solar alerts and warnings site. Updated every 10 minutes it’s an eye opening window into the havoc flares can cause. Click on any of the icons for a description of potential hazards.

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/alerts/warnings_timeline.html

Sunspot AR 1598 recorded by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, from spaceweather.com

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