Chance of Flares (a chicken little space weather forecast)
There are eight sunspot groups on the Earthside of the sun. Fully half of them pose a threat for strong solar flares. An eruption today could come from any of the circled regions:
AR2175 is the most potent of the quartet. It has a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. The other three have "beta-gamma" magnetic fields that pose a threat for lesser albeit still powerful M-flares.
The sunspot of greatest interest is AR2177 because it is turning toward Earth. Karzaman Ahmad of the Langkawi National Observatory in Maylaysia captured the sunspot group, seething with low-level activity, in this dramatic starscape on Sept. 30th:
Any eruptions from AR2177 in the days ahead will almost surely be geoeffective.
Mindful of the multiple flare threats, NOAA forecasters say an eruption is likely. They estimate a 75% chance of M-flares and a 20% chance of X-flares on Sept. 30th.
Here's a wiki link on solar flares: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_flare