Solar spot rotates into view

Magnetosphere: Solar particles interact with magnetosphere. NASA graphic via wikipedia
Magnetosphere: Solar particles interact with magnetosphere. NASA graphic via wikipedia


A large and beautiful new sunspot is emerging from the sun's eastern limb: image. So far it poses no threat for Earth-directed solar flares, but this could change. The spot is growing fast and turning toward Earth. Stay tuned for updates.

11 year sun spot cyle

We are currently at the lowest activity of the 11 year sunspot cycle. Sun spots, when facing Earth can send solar flares toward Earth. The Earth's magnetosphere shields us from these high energy particles but astronauts in space need to be concerned.

James Van Allen dies at 91

I think it is fitting to mention that James Van Allen died yesterday Aug 9, 2006 He discovered of the Van Allen radiation belts, which I associate with the Nothern lights, which come from sun spot flares.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Here it comes

Sunspot 904 erupted yesterday, Aug.16. A lot of astronomers were watching as it happened. See pictures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Aurora watch alert

A coronal mass ejection (CME, movie) is heading toward Earth and could spark a geomagnetic storm when it arrives on August 18th or 19th. The cloud was hurled into space yesterday by a C3-class explosion in the magnetic field of sunspot 904. Sky watchers, prepare for auroras.

Source; SpaceWeather

posted on Thu, 08/17/2006 - 3:44pm

ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Look out for sunspot 930. If you study the graph of sunpot activity you will note they spike every 11 years. The last real bad one was July 14, 2000. It was rated about X6. The next peak will be 2011. Even though 2006 is supposed to be the low point between peaks, we just got clobbered by an X9 burst of x-rays. I think it knocked out one of the sun monitoring satellites.

NOTE: The Solar X-ray Imager onboard NOAA's GOES-13 satellite is experiencing an anomaly possibly related to the X9-flare of Dec. 5th. NOAA and NASA staff are investigating. Meanwhile, coronal hole updates are suspended.

You can see a live update on proton radiation intensity here. The Dec 5 blast was not pointed toward Earth but the sunspot is swinging our way and the forcast for another X-class blast of x-rays is 50% for the next 48 hours.

Look for more news at

I also posted this as a news in our Buzz blog.

posted on Thu, 12/07/2006 - 4:30pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

The strongest solar flare on record was an X28

It occured in Nov. 5, 2003.

NOAA's Space Environment Center (SEC) has classified this flare as an X28, making it in fact the strongest ever

Luckily it was pointed away from earth, but it still blinded the satellite for 11 minutes and some feel it could have been an X40.

posted on Thu, 12/07/2006 - 6:10pm

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