More eruptions predicted after coronal mass ejection from Sun misses Earth

While a solar flare from the Earth-facing sunspot caused a shortwave radio blackout over southeast Asia and Australia, the coronal mass ejection will miss Earth.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the Sun constantly, captured an image of the event. (Photo: Nasa)

The moderate class solar flare from the Sun launched a Coronal Mass Ejection on Thursday. However, it will not hit Earth.

Nasa has released the image of the flare and the incoming CME from the Sun captured by its Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. The M9.7 class flare erupted from two moderately complex sunspot groups currently present in the northeast quadrant of the Sun.

The Center of Excellence in Space Sciences India (CESSI) under the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata issued alerts of an incoming solar flare on Thursday and confirmed that the flare led to a coronal mass ejection.

“Yesterday’s M9.7 class flare launched an associated CME on 21 April which was observed by SOHO LASCO C2. The CME was relatively narrow and not a halo CME. We estimate the probability of Earth impact to be low,” (CESSI) said in an update. It added that the CME will miss Earth with at best a chance of a flank impact.

Yesterday’s M9.7 class flare launched an associated CME on 21 April which was observed by SOHO LASCO C2. The CME was relatively narrow and not a halo CME. WE estimate the probability of Earth impact to be low. + https://t.co/jUXzRHfgwa pic.twitter.com/mIXTYA5OJw

— Center of Excellence in Space Sciences India (@cessi_iiserkol) April 22, 2022

According to reports, the solar flare from the Earth-facing sunspot caused a shortwave radio blackout over southeast Asia and Australia. This was the second consecutive day when the same region has been hit by a radio blackout. The X1 class flare was accompanied by a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from a cluster of active sunspots that caused a Type II solar radio burst.

The US Air Force has reported Type II and IV radio sweeps following Thursday’s solar event, as picked by its Radio Solar Telescope Network with an estimated speed of 1132 kilometers per second. “The most recent imagery from the NASA/SOHO LASCO instrument confirms a CME took place,” the Space Weather Prediction Center said in an update.

The origin of the latest flare is from active regions 2993 and 2994 which have a cluster of sunspots. Sunspots are areas that appear dark on the surface of the Sun. They appear dark because they are cooler than other parts of the Sun’s surface. Solar flares are a sudden explosion of energy caused by tangling, crossing, or reorganizing magnetic field lines near sunspots, Nasa has said.

As the Sun becomes more active in the 11 cycle, astronomers have said that more and more sunspots will form on the surface which could lead to intense flare activity and more ejections towards inner planets including Earth.

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