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Space Weather Message Code: SUMX01
Serial Number: 66
Issue Time: 2011 Feb 15 0233 UTC
SUMMARY: X-ray Event exceeded X1
Begin Time: 2011 Feb 14 0144 UTC
Maximum Time: 2011 Feb 14 0156 UTC
End Time: 2011 Feb 14 0206 UTC
X-ray Class: X2.2
NOAA Scale: R3 - Strong
A solar flare is an explosion on the Sun that happens when energy stored in twisted magnetic fields (usually above sunspots) is suddenly released. Flares produce a burst of radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to x-rays and gamma-rays.
Scientists classify solar flares according to their x-ray brightness in the wavelength range 1 to 8 Angstroms. There are 3 categories: X-class flares are big; they are major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. M-class flares are medium-sized; they can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth's polar regions. Minor radiation storms sometimes follow an M-class flare. Compared to X- and M-class events, C-class flares are small with few noticeable consequences here on Earth.
Each category for x-ray flares has nine subdivisions ranging from, e.g., C1 to C9, M1 to M9, and X1 to X9.
February 14, 2011 -- The largest xray flare in over one year occurred yesterday at 1737 UTC. Region 1158 produced the impulsive R2 (Moderate) xray burst, part of the full eruption that also included a faint, earth-directed CME plus radio bursts across the spectrum. The region, still hot and flaring, yielded a small R1 (Minor) level xray burst today at 1726 UTC. Expect additional fireworks from this site over the next few days.