Mammoth sunspot erupts with X1-flare

Huge sunspot region 1944 rotated to the center of the sun’s disk today Jan. 7. This photo was taken at noon by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. The largest spot in the group is big enough to see with the naked eye using a safe solar filter like a #14 welder’s glass. Credit: NASA

That huge sunspot we talked about two days ago erupted today at 12:32 p.m. with a powerful X-class flare. I love solar fireworks because there’s always a possibility for a nice aurora display in the wake of a large flare. Good news this time around – the cloud of subatomic particles called a coronal mass ejection appears to be directed toward the Earth.

An X1-class flare erupts from within the large sunspot group 1944 this afternoon Jan. 7. Photo taken in far ultraviolet light by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Credit: NASA

If it does blow past our planet and forge a connection with our magnetic field we might expect chances for aurora to sharply increase in a couple of days. Already, the NOAA space weather forecast is calling for minor auroral storms at tonight and tomorrow night. I’ll be monitoring from my home and update with the latest information. Be on the lookout!

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About astrobob

My name is Bob King and I work at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. as a photographer and photo editor. I'm also an amateur astronomer and have been keen on the sky since age 11. My modest credentials include membership in the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) where I'm a regular contributor, International Meteorite Collectors Assn. and Arrowhead Astronomical Society. I also teach community education astronomy classes at our local planetarium.

7 thoughts on “Mammoth sunspot erupts with X1-flare

  1. Thanks Bob for your notification on Sunday. After reading it, I was able to see the sunspot group 1944 using my home made sun filter with my naked eyes. I would never have known to look save for reading your article. Keep up the good work and thanks again!

  2. I just projected it Bob in my mighty C-90 Little Kitty Mak.! Let’s hope for a fine Auroral display… I won’t use my 6″ Vixen Newt. to solar project Bob, but my little Kitty is amazing for projecting… My Best Phil A.

  3. Been hearing loud banging noises all night and dont kno if its a coinsidence or not but the x solar flare came frm sun mayan sacred time in the uk. What are the bags are they from isons debris? Will the x flare kill us all? If it takes roughly 72hours that falls on mayan end date too coinsidence or not a dunno just scared.

    • Scared,
      I don’t know what the banging noises are but the X-flare didn’t hurt anyone and wasn’t responsible. No ISON debris either in Earth’s neighborhood. No need to be scared of these things – driving a car is a lot scarier.

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