Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Brooding Giant

Brooding Giant

Solar activity is low. However, new sunspot AR2172 threatens to break the quiet. Karzaman Ahmad photographed the behemoth active region on Sept. 22nd from the Langkawi National Observatory in Maylasia:

The sunspot's primary dark cores are nearly as wide as Earth, and the entire group stretches more than 80,000 km from end to end. These dimensions make AR2172 an easy target for small solar telescopes. "I took the picture using an 11-inch telescope," says Ahmad.

Yesterday, for a while, the sunspot's magnetic field displayed an unstable mixture of polarities that harbored energy for strong explosions. Now the threat has subsided. As the situation shifts back and forth, NOAA forcasters estimate a 30% chance of M-class flares and a 5% chance of X-flares on Sept. 23rd.


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