LONG-DURATION FLARE: On March 23rd around 0330 UT, the magnetic canopy of sunspot AR2014 became unstable and erupted, producing a long-duration C-class solar flare. Although C-class flares are considered to be minor, this one lasted so long (several hours) that it unleashed the energy-equivalent of a much stronger flare. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the action. Slow flares usually produce CMEs and this one was no exception. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) recorded a bright cloud emerging from the blast site: movie. The CME appears to have an Earth-directed component that could reach our planet in ~3 days.
GOOD-BYE SUNSPOTS, HELLO RADIATION STORM?: Today, big sunspots AR1967 and AR1968 are rotating over the sun’s
western limb to begin a two-week transit of the sun’s farside. Ironically, this could result in elevated levels of radiation near Earth. At their current location, the two sunspots are well-connected to our planet by the sun’s spiraling magnetic field. Any flares today could funnel energetic particles in our direction, possibly triggering a radiation storm.
BIG SUNSPOT FACES EARTH: AR1890, one of the biggest sunspots of the current solar cycle, has turned almost directly toward Earth. This raises the possibility of geoeffective eruptions in the days ahead. NOAA forecasters estimate a 45% chance of M-class flares and a 10% chance of X-flares on Nov. 7th