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Active Sunspot Region 1429 Produces Sola

from The ARRL Letter on March 8, 2012
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Active Sunspot Region 1429 Produces Solar Flares, Coronal Mass Ejections:

This week has been an active week for our Sun. An X-1.1 class solar flare erupted from the Sun on March 4 at 11:13 PM EST (0413 UTC March 5), sending an explosion of plasma and charged particles -- a coronal mass ejection (CME) -- hurtling through space. Forecasters at NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center are saying that this CME should miss Earth, but it will hit Mercury and Venus. Then on March 6 at 7:28 PM EST (0028 UTC March 7), the Sun released a solar flare, the strongest one this year. The X-5 class flare hurled another CME into space, but it is too soon to tell if this is an Earth-directed flare. This activity is coming from sunspot 1429, which is currently making its way around the northern hemisphere of the Sun.

Sunspot 1429 -- which emerged on the Sun on March 2 and is estimated to be at least four to five times larger than Earth -- is slowly turning to face Earth, so if any such eruptions do occur, they are increasingly likely to be geoeffective.

When a CME hits the Earth's atmosphere -- approximately 72 hours after exploding on the Sun -- the low bands will be depressed and signals will be weaker the lower the frequency. The absorption rate will be most severe on 160 meters, less on 80 and somewhat better on 40 meters. The maximum usable frequency (MUF) -- the highest frequency at which a radio wave can propagate between given terminals by ionospheric propagation alone, independent of power -- will be lower and auroral propagation on the VHF bands is quite possible.

When aurorae occur, the electrons hit the ionosphere at the North and South geomagnetic poles, creating ionization. Waves that would normally travel off into space are bouncing off the aurora and being redirected back toward Earth. This can create opportunities for long-distance propagation via VHF and UHF. Read more here


The ARRL Letter

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