Sun Very Active Now

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By Patrick Comins on November 15, 2012, 8:50pm Last modified: November 16, 2012, 7:53am

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The sun is quite active at the moment. I regularly take photos of the sun through a special filter to monitor sunspot activity and this photo from yesterday has more spots than any other I've been able to capture. One spot, dubbed Active Region (AR) 1613, which can be seen in the lower left center of the sun, is of particular interest, because any flares originating from it would be earth directed. Forecasters from NOAA estimate there is a 40% chance of M-class solar flares and a 5% chance of X-class flares from the earth facing side of the sun at the moment. Any such flare originating from AR 1613 has the potential to spark a geomagnetic storm, which could result in aurora borealis or northern lights.  

There have been reports of auroral activity in northern tier states in recent days and even an unconfirmed report of aurora sightings in Connecticut from last night, so keep your eyes on the northern horizon.  

You can keep an eye on solar activity yourself with this handy website from NASA, which offers several current images of the sun in various wavelengths: http://umbra.nascom.nasa.gov/images/latest.html 

A great way to keep up to date on solar activity that could result in aurorae is http://www.spaceweather.com/

Another great site on Facebook to find out when the sun is active can be found here (and where you can also find some of my astronomical photos posted from time to time):

https://www.facebook.com/pages/AccuWeathercom-Astronomy/178186248887910?ref=ts&fref=ts 

   

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Patrick Comins

Town: Meriden, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since September 2012.

Articles: 68

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