It has now been confirmed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that the solar flare that emerged from sunspot area 9393 on Monday at 5:57 EDT was measured as X-22 on the 20 point solar flare gauge. This makes it a tie for the largest ever recorded in the 25 years the list has been kept.
The flare sent most of its energy away from earth, but a substantial amount is still expected to reach the planet. The leading edge of the storm passed earth at 11AM today, April 4, 2001. Spaceweather.com is reporting that intense auroras are likely, but should not reach the intensity recorded March 31.
Sunspot 9393 is now rotating away from the earth, but a new large sunspot area, 9415, is appearing. It does not seem to be as large as the 9393 area at this time, but it may expand over the next few days.
This has been a period of unusually intense solar activity. In fact, it is probably the most intense such period ever recorded. It is expected that the current solar maximum will reach its greatest extent during the midsummer. Had the megaflare recorded yesterday struck earth with full force, there would have been extensive damage to satellites, electrical power grids, and electronic devices on the surface.
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