We’ve been a dry spell for auroras the past couple weeks, but that could change if a large sunspot group now crossing the solar disk continues to grow and become more magnetically active.
Active region 1875 has no particularly large spots, but it does cover a lot of area and contains a complex beta-gamma-delta magnetic field. In ordinary language, it means that positive and negative magnetic poles are very close one another in the group. If opposite poles meet on the sun’s churning surface, vast amounts of energy are released in large flares, flinging clouds of electrons and protons toward Earth in a coronal mass ejection.
Space weather forecasters give the group a 30 percent chance of producing an M-class or medium-sized flares. These babies can cause radio blackouts in Earth’s polar regions and stir up minor to modest auroras. Region 1875 harbors a smaller chance for kicking out an X-class flare, the most powerful category.
We’ll keep an eye on the sun in the next few days to see what happens. You can check HERE for the current flare and aurora forecast. Amateurs with solar-filter equipped telescopes will have a good week of sun watching with many sunspot groups to enjoy.