A movie showing the M3.2 (some have it as an M2.6 magnitude) X-ray flare from Active Sunspot Region 1402. The flare peaked at 1608 UTC on 19 January 2012. The flare was associated with a Type IV radio
sweep and a full-halo coronal mass ejection (CME) (estimated plane-of-sky speed 1100 km/s)
The movie includes a number of different wavelengths, and then ends with the LASCO C2 capture of the CME which was released by the flare.
X-ray flares are huge explosive releases of energy, including X-ray and light energy. This light and X-ray energy reaches Earth at the speed of light--eight minutes later. When it reaches Earth, it causes the ionosphere to become highly energized, so much so that the D-region (the lowest region) absorbs shortwave, and medium wave, frequencies, blocking them from going any further (and being refracted or propagated long distances around the world).
As can be seen in the last segment of the movie, LASCO C2 captured the eruption of a coronal mass ejection. It appears that this CME was Earth-directed. It takes days for this to reach the Earth. Current forecasts have it to arrive on January 21, 2012 at approximately 2230 UTC (give or take 7 hours; it has over 90 million miles to journey).
Credit: NASA SDO / Goddard Space Flight Center
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