September 10th, a Swift X-ray spike alert was sent out. An abrupt spike in X-ray emission was detected September 10th coming from the Galactic center, Sgr A*. This spike was the largest to occur in the past year and a half. The X-ray spike that occurred 500 days ago came from a magnetar near the Galactic center. Whether the current spike was being emitted by this same magnetar or was coming from the Galactic center itself, we can’t be sure until further data is obtained. Because it appears to have been a brief event, the X-ray signal coming back down to its previous noise level, my guess is that this is coming from the Galactic center, possibly due to a discrete object falling into the core. Tomorrow’s Swift data will show whether the low X-ray emission continues or whether it soars upward again. Let’s pray that this September 11th will not bring to the world any serious danger. For the time being, to be on the safe side, we should begin taking precautions for possible successive events of elevated cosmic ray exposure event.
Update (September 11th): New data shown above shows that the X-ray emission from the Galactic center has stayed at its pre burst level, which is good news. Furthermore a check of the neutron monitor data shows that no cosmic ray spike was detected at the time of the X-ray spike.
It is interesting that an X flare solar outburst occurred that same day just over 15 hours later. The X-ray spike was detected on the 10th at 1:02 AM Univeral Time, while the solar outburst occurred at 6:48 PM Universal Time. Here is some information about it from Sky and Telescope website (http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/powerful-solar-flare-091020143/):
September 11th, 2014 – PM Special EditionThe most powerful slower flare – and X-class event – peaked out on Wednesday (Sept. 10th) at 1:48 p.m. EDT. (1)
>From its perspective in space, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the titanic explosion, which covered an area several times larger than Earth.
According to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, the flare was an X-class event – the most powerful – and it unleashed a torrent of relativistic particles and X-rays that swept over Earth minutes later.
The eruption came from a sunspot group known as Active Region 2158, situated very near the center of the solar disk. “It’s pretty clear there was a large coronal wave,” notes C. Alex Young, an associate director in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, with a coronal mass ejection (CME) directed squarely at Earth.
miguel de Portugal comments: At 11:20 AM EDT, on Wednesday, our RADEX RD 1706 gamma ray detector (2) peaked out at 0.44 microsieverts. Normal readings for this area should be 0.18 to 0.22 although recently we have had reading more in the range of 0.22 to 0.24 with four over 0.40 spikes in the last month or so. Something that we have not see since we acquired the detection system three years ago.
Keep in mind that this was a very small spike that would not have posed any cosmic ray exposure hazard. When it becomes a thousand fold increase, then we have some cause to worry.
For more information on the galactic core, check the following links: