A giant sunspot that is at least six times the diameter of Earth has formed on the Sun in less than 48 hours, Nasa has announced.
Sunspots are dark spots on the surface of the Sun which appear as turbulent magnetic fields in its surface rearrange and realign.
The massive sunspot, which formed over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday, quickly evolved into an unstable configuration, and could lead to solar flares, which can interrupt our radio communications.
Nasa scientists spotted the huge sunspot forming through instruments on the agency's Solar Dynamics Observatory, one of several spacecraft that monitor the Sun's weather.
'Over the course of February 19-20, 2013, scientists watched a giant sunspot form in under 48 hours,' said Karen Fox, a spokesman for Nasa.
According to the latest report from SpaceWeather.com yesterday had the "most intense Solar Flare of the Year". So, a little earlier then usual, I thought I would post the remainder of the Piers Corbyn February "Red Warning" to see how this all pans out.
As a rule of thumb we would normally see these major solar events coincide in "R4+" periods, the question is has the Sun not played to the rules set out by Piers Corbyn or will the "most intense Solar Flare of the Year" have little or no effect. Those of you who follow these reports would point out that these solar events depend on a "Earth facing" coronal hole to influence our climate. This then can be regarded as a good case study....a major solar event in a R2 period and also with a "Earth facing" coronal hole!
I note from the Spaceweather.com article that....Coronagraph images from SOHO and the twin STEREO probes show that this explosion did not produce a coronal mass ejection (CME). Nevertheless, there were some Earth-effects. UV radiation from the flare produced a wave of ionization in Earth's upper atmosphere
The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 69 in the Fall of 2013. The smoothed sunspot number has already reached 67 (in February 2012)due to the strong peak in late 2011 so the official maximum will be at least this high and this late. We are currently over four years into Cycle 24. The current predicted and observed size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle since Cycle 14 which had a maximum of 64.2 in February of 1906...click source to read FULL report (Note: This forecast will change each month)
CLICK to see ALL forecasts on Solar Cycle 24 from David Hathaway and NASA made so far, they all point to a very low average Sunspot number and the peak being in the fall of this year, time will tell if this forecast is correct....more to follow
For the 8th day in a row, solar activity is very low. None of the sunspots on the Earthside of the sun is actively flaring. NOAA forecasters put the odds of an M-class solar flare today at no more than 5%.
NASA’s solar cycle primer packs a wealth of information about the sun — along with stunning imagery — into a three-minute video. Understanding solar flares, coronal mass ejections (CMEs), and flipping poles within the big picture of sunspot cycles and solar cycles makes a daunting subject easier to understand. The NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Scientific Visualization Studio released this video in 2011, but it’s still great.
There were five named solar minima in the last millennium – the Oort, Wolf, Spörer, Maunder and Dalton minima. At least the last four were all associated with cold climates. The astrophysics community has elected to name the current period of low solar activity the Eddy Minimum. John A. Eddy was an American astronomer who compiled data demonstrating the periods of low solar activity prior to the Dalton Minimum. The Eddy Minimum will include at least Solar Cycles 24 and 25, and could continue until late in the 21st Century.
Benjamin Franklin was the first to suggest that volcanic eruptions might affect climate, in a 1784 communication to the Literary and Philosophical Association of Manchester:
“During several of the summer months of 1783, when the effect of the sun’s rays to heat the earth in these northern regions should have been greatest, there existed a constant fog over all of Europe, and a great part of North America. This fog was of a permanent nature; it was dry, and the rays of the sun seemed to have little effect toward dissipating it, as they easily do to a moist fog, arising from water. They were indeed rendered so faint in passing through it, that when collected in the focus of a burning glass, they would scarce kindle brown paper. Of course, their summer effect in heating the earth was exceedingly diminished.
This active period was NOT forecast as a Pier Corbyn "Red Warning" R4/R5 period and there is also no current indication of a "power up" of tropical storms going on, although for the past two days we have seen a CAT1 being present.
This looks as if it could be the start of bigger events to come, maybe this is a second peak for SC24?...more to follow
The most active sunspot so far is emerging over the sun's northeastern limb. Crackling witth flares, it unleashed an M1.7-class eruption on Jan. 5th at 09:34 UT that sent a wave of ionization rippling through the upper atmosphere over Europe. More flares appear to be in the offing; stay tuned....