At 13:11 UTC, 29-Nov-2020, the largest X-ray flare so far in new Sunspot Cycle 25 peaked at M4.4 (NOAA scale). The flare was not Earth-facing; the active sunspot region hasn’t rotated into Earth view. If it had erupted while the sunspot group faced Earth, it likely would have measured as an X-class flare. As this sunspot region rotates into view, we may see many more flares in the coming days.
Here’s a look at the strongest X-ray flare so far in Cycle 25, and the strongest in three years. The flare measured as an M4.4-class Solar Flare, and it peaked at 13:11 UTC on 29 NOV 2020.
This is exciting! Why? Some scientists are speculating that a rapid start to Cycle 25 will result in one of the most active cycles in recent solar cycle history. Which could mean that we could work the world with a wet noodle, on the 10-Meter band!
With a rapid increase in sunspot activity as we ramp up in Sunspot Cycle 25, the solar flux (the 10.7-cm Radio Flux measurement) will be increasing. That means, generally, we will see better HF conditions on the frequencies above 7 MHz on through 30 MHz or higher.
The bad news is that larger flares cause radio blackout events, because the ionospheric D-Layer absorption increases for the duration of an Earth-facing solar X-ray flare. During this M4.4 X-ray flare, we had a level R1 event, causing some shortwave blackout regions.