Earth-facing sunspot doubles in size

Feb 13, 2012 by Jason Major, Universe Today
Image courtesy NASA/SDO and the AIA and HMI science teams.

The latest sunspot region to traverse the face of the Sun has nearly doubled in size as it aims Earthward, as seen in the animation above from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. (Click image to play the animation.)

This is the second day in a row that the region has been seen expanding.

According to SpaceWeather.com, active region 1416 has the right sort of magnetic energy to potentially send M-class flares our way.

M-class flares are medium-sized solar . They can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth’s polar regions. Minor radiation storms sometimes follow an M-class flare event.

If AR1416 produces a flare over the next 24 hours we would likely see increased auroral activity in upper latitudes early next week.

Explore further: Space sex geckos at risk as Russia loses control of satellite

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Solar flares: What does it take to be X-class?

Aug 10, 2011

Solar flares are giant explosions on the sun that send energy, light and high speed particles into space. These flares are often associated with solar magnetic storms known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs). ...

Classifying solar eruptions

Jan 26, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Solar flares are giant explosions on the sun that send energy, light and high speed particles into space. These flares are often associated with solar magnetic storms known as coronal mass ...

Solar storm heading our way

Aug 04, 2011

Early yesterday, (Aug 3, 2011) two active regions on the Sun, sunspot 1261 and 1263 unleashed solar flares, which was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. The video shows an M6 class flare from ...

Giant sunspot turns to face the Earth

Nov 11, 2011

What has been billed as the largest sunspot observed in several years has now rotated around to stare straight at Earth. How large is it? Active Region 1339 and the group of sunspots adjacent to it extends ...

Sunspot 1121 unleashes X-ray flare

Nov 11, 2010

Active sunspot 1121 has unleashed one of the brightest x-ray solar flares in years, an M5.4-class eruption at 15:36 UT on Nov. 6th.

Recommended for you

Video: A dizzying view of the Earth from space

21 hours ago

We've got vertigo watching this video, but in a good way! This is a sped-up view of Earth from the International Space Station from the Cupola, a wraparound window that is usually used for cargo ship berthings ...

NEOWISE spots a comet that looked like an asteroid

21 hours ago

Comet C/2013 UQ4 (Catalina) has been observed by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft just one day after passing through its closest approach to the sun. The comet ...

What the UK Space Agency can teach Australia

22 hours ago

Australia has had an active civil space program since 1947 but has much to learn if it is to capture a bigger share of growing billion dollar global space industry. ...

User comments : 0