Tatiana Podladchikova, head of Space Weather Laboratory,  commented on the recent powerful solar storm.

On early hours of July 18, 2023 the solar active region of two huge sunspots and strong magnetic fields produced the significant solar flare, the eruption of a georgious solar prominence, followed by the powerfull coronal mass ejection, a huge plasma cloud hurling from the solar corona at high speeds.

Video 1. Top, from left to right: a large active region with a big sunspot group on the solar surface (SDO/HMI continuum); Magnetic field map with South (black) and North (white) polarity (SDO/HMI magnetogram); sunspots and solar flare in far ultraviolet (SDO/AIA 1000Å, 4500 K). Bottom, from left to right: chromosphere region in extreme ultraviolet with huge eruptive prominence (SDO/AIA 304Å, 50 000 K); transition region in extreme ultraviolet with huge magnetic loops rooted to sunspots in the solar photosphere (SDO/AIA 171Å, 600 000 K); associated solar flare in the layer of the solar corona with a temperature of more than 10 million degrees (SDO/AIA 131Å).

"The light from the solar flare reaches the Earth in just 8 minutes, and its power is estimated by the peak of X-ray flux (in watts per square metre) measured by GOES geostationary satellites. Though this solar flare was of a medium-sized M-class, it was more powerfull than many of the stronget X-class flares because of its long duration for around 4 hours. The solar flare accelrated energetic protons, usually travelling at half the speed of light, have reached Earth and caused the loss of high-frequency communications in the polar regions. 

Picture 2. Associated coronal mass ejection (SDO/AIA+SOHO/LASCO C2+C3).

The giant coronal mass ejection associated with the eruptive prominence is not heading directly towards the Earth, however its flanks still could hit Earth, presumambly on July 20. Let us see if this impressive plasma cloud would break apart the Earth’s magnetic field and if the geomagnetic storm and bright polar auroras would cover our planet! And whatever storms are raging, we wish you a good weather in space!"