The third came on September 7 at 6:36 PM ET, and was categorized as an X1.8 by the GOES spacecraft, making it the second X-class flare within 24 hours.
An X1.8 flare from Sept. 7, 2011, captured here with by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) on the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). Credit: Credit: NASA/SDO/LMSAL/GOES
There was a coronal mass ejection (CME) associated with all three of the recent flares, but none of them are expected to travel directly toward Earth, and the first two were unlikely to cause aurora.
NASA computer models suggest that the latest CME may give a glancing blow to Earth on the morning of September 11, and might create some aurora.
The fourth flare from this same sunspot was detected by GOES at 11:36 AM ET on September 8. This was an M6.7 flare, considered moderate.
Susan Hendrix | EurekAlert!
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