Sun SDO April 18

Big Sunspot Bows Out With A Bang

Giant sunspot 2529 has provided a lot of entertainment this past week for solar observers. Several times the diameter of the Earth, the sunspot was easily visible through a #14 welder’s glass and a stunning sight through even the smallest telescopes. Most beginners think of telescopes as night sky instruments only, but they’re just as…
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Sun SDO combo UV Dec28_2015FEA

Aurora May Drop By Your New Year’s Eve Party

Big sunspot group 2473 cut loose a long-lasting M-class flare earlier today. The explosion produced a fast-moving bubble of plasma directed toward Earth. Plasma, a hot mix of negatively-charged electrons and positively-charged ions (atoms that have lost an electron) may look like a gas but it behaves differently enough to be considered its own state of…
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A photo taken in far ultraviolet light reveals how hot solar gases trace the outlines of the complex magnetic field that swirls about the sunspot region 2396. Credit: NASA/SDO

Massive Sunspot Seeths / Weekend Aurora Alert

Oh my gosh.  There’s a big sunspot group staring at us today. This Cyclopean eye extends some 93,000 miles (150,000 km), the equivalent of 11.6 Earths! If you have a safe solar filter, such as a #14 welder’s glass, you can easily see it as a dark blemish on the sun’s otherwise perfect disk. Moreover, this center of solar…
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Sun Soho feature

Solstice Aurora Coming? / Celestial Triple Treat / Wet Comet

Bam! Sunspot region 2371 let loose a hefty M3-class flare Thursday afternoon that propelled a ballooning cloud of high speed particles into space. Good news. Some of it’s headed for Earth, and we’re likely to get a taste of it on the first night of summer. NOAA space weather forecasters are calling for a G1 (minor) geomagnetic…
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Region 2339 cut loose a powerful X-2 class solar flare just as it was coming around the eastern edge of the Sun on May 5. Credit: NASA/SDO

Sun Heats Up / Russian Spaceship To Fall From The Sky Tonight

A recent X2-class flare and the appearance of a large new sunspot group tell us the Sun’s awoken from its slumbers. Last week, hardly a spot pocked the solar disk. We took this (correctly) as a sign of the approaching minimum of the sunspot cycle. But the Sun’s like an old-fashioned general store, where there’s…
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