Friday, July 5, 2013

Big Sunspot Turns Towards Earth

From Space Weather

BIG SUNSPOT: One of the biggest sunspot groups of the current solar cycle has emerged in the sun's southern hemisphere.  AR1785 has an unstable magnetic field that harbors energy for strong solar flares, and it is turning toward Earth.

These sunspots are a sign that the sun's southern hemisphere is waking up. For most of the current solar cycle, the northern half of the sun has dominated sunspot counts and flare production. The south has been lagging behind--until now. June brought a surge in southern sunspots, and the trend is continuing in July. This "southern awakening" could herald a double-peaked Solar Maximum due in late 2013-early 2014.

The largest dark cores in sunspot complex AR1785-1787 are as wide as Earth, making the ensemble an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. Amateur astronomers are encouraged to monitor developments, as NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of M-flares during the next 24 hours

Check for more information and updates. 

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