SOLSTICE SOLAR FLARE: The northern summer solstice began with a bang. On June 21st at 03:16 UT, sunspot AR1777 produced a long-duration M2-class solar flare. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the flare’s extreme ultraviolet flash and a plume of material flying out of the blast site:
As sunspots go, AR1777 is neither large nor apparently menacing, yet it has been crackling with flares for days. Before it rotated over the sun’s eastern limb on June 20th, it unleashed a series of farside flares and CMEs. The solstice explosion was not Earth directed, but future explosions could be as the sun’s rotation continues to turn AR1777 toward our planet. NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of M-flares and a 5% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.