Space Weather
A powerful solar event on Aug 09, 2011
posted: Aug 09, 2011, 10:45UT
A powerful solar event occurred at 08:05 UT today, Aug 09 on the Sun. Email alerts are being sent.

A strong burst of radiation, a flare, was measured by the GOES satellite. The flare was also seen as a light flash in PROBA2/SWAP and SDO/AIA images. Solar radiation reaches the Earth after 8 minutes. This flare is up to now the strongest flare of the current solar cycle.

Shortly after the peak of the flare, the proton flux near Earth increased. GOES is also capable of measuring these energetic electrical particles. The Sun throws a whole bunch of these particles into space, more than usual. The proton flux passed the storm threshold. The storm level is not dramatic.

A plasma cloud left the Sun at the moment of the event. It is now traveling through space at a speed of more than 1000 km/s. At this speed of 1000 km/s and without any deceleration, a cloud bridges the distance between the Sun and the Earth in 1 day and 17 hours. The plasma cloud is not directed straight at Earth. But a glancing blow is possible and can cause a geomagnetic storm.

Possible consequences on the day side of the Earth associated with the radiation burst:
radio communication can be interrupted - satellites orbitting just above the Earth's atmosphere can feel a drag force - less accurate measurements with navigation systems based on satellites - disturbance of radio signals passing through the ionosphere, i.e. satellite telephone

Possible consequences associated with the proton event:
Additional radiation at the Earth poles and in space (ISS is vunerable) - Radio communication disruption at the poles

Possible consequences when the the plasma cloud arrives at Earth:
aurora, chances are higher in high latitude regions, near the Earth poles. The chances for aurora in Belgium are limited. - drag on satellites - disturbances in HF radio communication