M9 solar flare in geoeffective position, possible geomagnetic storming ahead – October 24, 2013

The complex sunspot group AR 1877 produced a major M9 solar flare today at 00:30 UTC. The sunspot groups is nearly in the center of the visible solar disk, so the flare was in geoeffective position. It is currently unknown whether the blast produced a significant coronal mass ejection. A Mid-latitude auroral activity watch may be issued if SOHO and SDO imagery show a significant Earth-directed coronal mass ejection.

Sunspot group AR1877. Source: SDO / NASA.

October 24, 00:30 UTC M9 solar flare. Source: earthspace102 / Youtube.com / SDO / NASA.

X-ray flux observed by GOES satellites, The M9 flare shows as the highest peak. Source: NOAA / SWPC, Boulder, CO USA.

AR 1877 continues to have a complex beta-gamma-delta magnetic field configuration, harbouring energy for possible further significant solar flares. Also the neighbouring sunspot group AR 1875 also posseses a complex beta-gamma-delta magnetic field, with potential for further flares. Any flare eminating from either of these two regions in the next 3-4 days will be in geoeffective position.

Much more common in the previous solar cycle (23), major sunspot groups and strong solar flares have been few and far in-between during the lastest, 24th solar cycle. Currently at maximum, the current solar cycle is the weakest in a hundred years.

Stay tuned for updates.