Tag Archives: solar flares

Largest sunspot in a quarter century spews flares

The largest sunspot seen in about a quarter century produced another powerful X-class flare today, the sixth in less than a week.

This was the sixth X-class solar flare from NOAA 2192, a record for the number of X-class flares generated by a single group so far this solar cycle. It was also the fourth X-class flare since last Friday, continuing a period of intense flaring activity. This sunspot group has grown again a bit, and maintains its magnetic complexity. A degradation of the HF radio-communication was observed over South-America, the Caribbean, and West-Africa.

The last sentence is referring to some radio communications blackouts that have occurred in these areas because of the flares. For more information about the sunspot itself, go here.

And in case you hadn’t noticed, as predicted by many doomsday fear-mongers in the science community, our technological civilization was destroyed by these flares and we are now all dead.

28 solar flares in the past week.

28 solar flares in the past week.

The sun has erupted more than two dozen times over the last week, sending radiation and solar material hurtling through space – and scientists say more eruptions may be coming.

This shouldn’t be unusual. After all, we are technically at solar maximum, the peak of the 11-year cycle of the sun’s activity. But this has been a noticeably mellow solar maximum, with the sun staying fairly quiet throughout the summer. So when our life-giving star suddenly let loose with 24 medium strength M-class solar flares and four significantly stronger X-class flares between Oct. 23 and Oct. 30, it felt like a surprise.

October was one of the most active months for the sun this solar maximum, and I expect the sunspot count for the month to be quite high as well, more than we’ve seen in two years. I shall have that update in just a few days.

All of these active sunspots have been in the sun’s southern hemisphere, which indicates that hemisphere is finally gearing up to flip its magnetic field, something the sun’s northern hemisphere did last year. Once that happens the solar maximum will be officially over and we will head for the next solar minimum.

Earth under fire from the Sun!

Earth under fire from the Sun!

The Sun’s sunspot production might be down, but we are still in the solar maximum, weak as it is, and this last week the Sun has been producing the strongest flares in years. The sunspot producing these flares is now rotating into a position where any further flares will be aimed at the Earth. Should be interesting.

The sun yesterday emitted the second biggest flare since 2006, with two coronal mass ejections heading for the Earth

The sun yesterday emitted its second biggest flare since 2006, with two coronal mass ejections heading for the Earth.

None of this will kill us, so stay calm. It is, however, a wonderful opportunity for solar scientists to study an active sun, something that might become rare in the coming decades.