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SEVERE GEOMAGNETIC STORM IN PROGRESS: A severe G4-class geomagnetic storm is in progress on June 22nd. This follows a series of rapid-fire CME strikes to Earth's magnetic field during the past 24 hours. Magnetic fields in the wake of the latest CME are strongly coupled to Earth's own magnetic field. This is a condition that could sustain the geomagnetic storm for many hours to come. High- and mid-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras tonight, especially during the hours around local midnight
EARTH-DIRECTED SOLAR FLARE, RADIO BLACKOUT: Sunspot AR2371 has erupted again, producing a strong M6.5 class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the flare's extreme ultraviolet flash on June 22nd at 18:23 UT:
X-ray and UV radiation from the flare ionized the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere, producing a moderately-strong blackout of shortwave and low-frequency radio signals over North America. The North American blackout is subsiding now. An even deeper radio blackout is still underway around both of Earth's poles. This is due to solar protons and electrons being funneled into the polar regions by Earth's magnetic field. A blackout map from NOAA shows the geographical distribution of the radio disturbances
BIG SUNSPOT ERUPTS: Surprise! Quiet sunspot AR2529 isn't so quiet, after all. The heart-shaped active region erupted on April 18th (00:39 UT), producing a strong M6.7-class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the flare's extreme ultraviolet flash:
A pulse of UV radiation from the flare ionized the top of Earth's atmosphere. This, in turn, disrupted shortwave radio communications over the daylit side of our planet. Mariners, aviators, and ham radio operators around the Pacific Ocean may have noticed fading signals at frequencies below ~15 MHz. A NOAA blackout map shows the frequencies and territories affected. More M-class flares are possible in the days ahead. AR2529 has developed a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors plenty of energy for this kind of explosion. Although the sunspot is no longer directly facing Earth, it can still affect our planet by causing radio blackouts and glancing-blow CMEs