Sun Spots, CMEs, and Solar Storms!
avatar

Oh my! Sol apparently didn’t get the memo that it’s past solar maximum, and time to be heading towards solar minimum. There are a couple massive sunspot groups (Active Regions) on the Sun, and one in particular has magnetic fields harboring enough energy to generate X-class solar flares. AR2674 hasn’t changed much in size over the the last few days, but it is still a very active region with large coronal loops. AR2673 was an innocuous little spot last week, then over the weekend ballooned out into an area larger than the Earth, with intense magnetic fields. On September 4th, AR2673 spit out a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) towards Earth – due to hit Earth’s magnetic field today (Sept. 6th), and causing G3-class geomagnetic storms on September 6th and 7th; effects can include: GPS problems, intermittent HF radio, spacecraft surface charging, power system voltage corrections, etc… Aurora watchers may want to keep an eye on the Auroral Oval, as increased auroral activity … Continue reading

Active Region 2546
avatar

Sketch of sunspot AR 2546 by Deirdre Kelleghan, May 15, 2016 1:25-2:30 UT. Sketch details 40mm PST, FL 400mm, 10mm eyepiece, 40X Pastels and Conte on black card. Bray Co Wicklow Ireland The image of the Sun below was taken at the same time as Deirdre’s sketch by cameras on NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), an orbiting space telescope that watches the Sun continuously in multiple frequencies. -RJT AR2546 is very large, and the region has let off several C-class flares. Please Welcome our new Blogger: Deirdre Kelleghan! Deirdre is a well-known amateur astronomer in Ireland. She loves sketching astronomical objects, and doing astronomy outreach with children. -RJT. … Continue reading

“There’s a little black spot on the sun today”
avatar

Sunspot AR2529 (“AR” = Active Region) is anything but little – you could fit the entire Earth inside it! It’s so large, it can be seen using solar filter glasses – without any magnification! It’s surprising to see such a large sunspot at this time, as the solar cycle has past solar maximum, and the Sun’s activity has been steadily decreasing; sunspots have been infrequent in recent months. Amateur astronomers have been targeting the sunspot, and producing some spectacular images: SpaceWeather.com says: “a minor CME from sunspot AR2529 could deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field. Such an impact would add to the effect of the solar wind stream, already here. NOAA forecasters estimate a 70% chance of more G1-class geomagnetic storms on April 13th.” See more images of the Sun NOW: http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/data/ Read More: http://www.universetoday.com/128325/huge-sunspot-turns-earthward/ … Continue reading

Active Sunspot Groups Rotating Into View
avatar

A rather large set of sunspots is coming into view on the Sun. This mosaic of images shows the spots on the photosphere (upper left) and the same region in different frequencies – there’s a LOT of activity right now. Spaceweather.com says that “NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of M-class flares and a 20% chance of X-flares on April 14th.” You can see the Sun NOW on our site here. … Continue reading