Image: Crackling with solar flares

Oct 21, 2010
Image Credit: NASA

Fast-growing sunspot 1112 is crackling with solar flares.

So far, none of the blasts has hurled a substantial CME, or coronal mass ejection, toward Earth. In addition, a vast filament of magnetism is cutting across the sun's southern hemisphere.

This filament is so large it spans a distance greater than the separation of Earth and the moon.

A bright 'hot spot' just north of the filament's midpoint is UV radiation from sunspot 1112. The proximity is no coincidence; the filament appears to be rooted in the sunspot below.

If the flares, it could cause the entire structure to erupt.

Thus far, none of the flares has destabilized the filament.

Explore further: Curiosity brushes 'Bonanza king' target anticipating fourth red planet rock drilling

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