M3.2 solar blast from Sunspot 1402 produced Earth-directed CME
The long-duration blast at active region 1402 produced M3.2 solar flare and CME which is heading toward Earth. This was two-wave flare and first CME wave was overtaken by the 2nd wave due to its higher speed velocity.The major bulk of the plasma cloud appears to be directed north. A minor R1 Level Radio Blackout resulted. Active Regions 1401 and 1402, positioned near the center of the disk, dominate the x-ray imagery today. Expect additional R1 (Minor) Radio Blackouts from flares, and given their location, an eruption of a CME in the near future would certainly have an impact on the earth's magnetic field. There are currrently 13 active regions facing Earth.
NASA's twin STEREO spacecraft recorded an impressive CME emerging from the blast site and here you can watch movie #1 & movie #2.
Earth-directed CMEConfirmation of earth-directed CME came from analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab with forecasts of strong geomagnetic storms this weekend. Their animated forecast track predicts an impact on Jan. 21st somewhere about 22:30 UTC. This should be exciting time for aurora watchers so we expect some amazing images. NOAA forecasters estimate a 15% to 20% chance of polar geomagnetic storms during the next 24 hours in response to a possible glancing blow from a CME that took place on January 16th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.
Sweep frequency radio eventsToday's event caused Type II and Type IV Sweep Frequency events. Type II and IV events are caused by slower-moving solar material propagating outward at speeds varying between approximately 800 and 1600 kilometers per second. Type II and IV radio bursts are of particular importance. Solar material plunging through the corona generates characteristic radio bursts. Events which cause Type II and/or IV radio sweep events may indicate the potential for increased magnetic activity (and decreased propagation quality) within 48 hours. Sweep frequency radio events are capable of producing Short Wave Fades (SWFs) and Sudden Ionospheric Disturbances (SIDs). SWFs and SIDs cause absorption of radio signals (due to intense ionization) at frequencies up to and well in excess of 500 MHz. Microwave continuum bursts can affect frequencies up to 30 GHz. Frequencies in the HF region can be completely blacked out for a period of time during intense energetic events.
CURRENT CONDITIONS (22:45UTC)
speed: 351.2 km/sec
density: 5.2 protons/cm3
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: M3 1608 UT Jan19
24-hr: M3 1608 UT Jan19
The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 148 sfu
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1 quiet
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.7 nT
Bz: 0.6 nT south
Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity (19 Jan 2012)
Solar activity was moderate. Region 1402 (N29E15) produced an M3/2n flare at 19/1605Z associated with a Type IV radio sweep and a full-halo CME (estimated plane-of-sky speed 1100 km/s). Region 1402 showed minor spot growth in its trailer portion and was classified as an Dko-type group with a beta magnetic configuration. Region 1401 (N18E13) showed some spot and penumbral development in its intermediate portion and was classified as an Eko-type with a beta-gamma magnetic configuration. Weak Type II radio sweeps were observed at 19/1252Z (estimated speed 933 km/s) and 19/1933Z (estimated speed 694 km/s). No new regions were numbered. Solar activity is expected to be low through the period (20 - 22 January) with a chance for M-class activity from Regions 1401 and 1402.
The geomagnetic field was quiet. Geomagnetic field activity is expected to be at quiet to unsettled levels through the period (20 - 22 January) with a chance for active levels on 21 January due to the expected arrival of todays CME.