An M9 flare from sunspot AR1936 produced a coronal mass ejection that will reach Earth, but fortunately most of the plasma collapsed back onto the Sun rather than projecting outwards into space. It’s likely AR1936 isn’t finished yet as it still has the energy for strong flares.
NASA and NOAA are watching a massive sunspot that is just rotating onto the Earth side of the disc. AR1944 is being described as a ‘behemoth’. It dwarfs anything we have seen for a long time, making regular sized sunspots look tiny by comparison.
The scientists are monitoring the spot closely in order to find out what type of energy field it has. Larger flares often have the capacity for the largest eruptions. If this turns out to be the case with AR1944 the odds of X-class flare will increase dramatically.
There are many factors that influence the directionality of coronal mass ejections thrown off by flares, the most important being their position on the Sun at the time the flare occurs. At this time of year, with all these factors taken into account, it’s flares that occur on the western flank of the Sun that are potentially most damaging to the Earth. We can still be hit by flares that occur further to the east of the Sun disc, but it’s the western flank position that is most likely to score a direct hit.
It will be a few days before AR1944 occupies that position. If it has the energy that the scientists believe it does we could be in for a very tense 24-48 hours until it rotates off the flank to the far side of the Sun.
Todays sunspot number is 106.
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Contributed by Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple.
Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!