After going 4 years without an x-flare we have seen 2 in just the past month. Late yesterday March 9th earth orbiting satellites detected an X1.5-class solar flare which originated from sunspot 1166 around 2323 UTC. This image below in from NASA’s SDO showing the blast.
It does appear that a Coronal Mass Ejections or CME for short was propelled towards Earth. These measurements are preliminary and NASA will be collecting more data from both the Stereo-B space craft and the SDO to determine what impact we might see on Earth.
Here’s a look at the Solar X-ray Flux showing that there was a peak late yesterday into the X-class range.
Here’s a look at the current space weather forecast from NOAA. It’s too early to tell what kind of impacts this could have on our magnetic field but this was a smaller flare than the x-flare in February. I wouldn’t expect anything too major, but larger flares are still possible from any of the sunspots currently on the sun. There is more information about the type and scales of radio, geomagnetic and radiation storms on the NOAA Space Weather page.
www.spaceweather.com contributed to this post.