A week of solar flares at one giant sunspot | EarthSky

EarthSky // Science Wire, Space Release Date: Oct 27, 2014

A week of solar flares at one giant sunspot

The biggest sunspot on the face of the sun in more than two decades erupted on October 26 with its sixth substantial flare in a week.

The bright light in the lower right of the sun shows an X-class solar flare on Oct. 26, 2014, as captured by NASA's SDO. This was the third X-class flare in 48 hours, which erupted from the largest active region seen on the sun in 24 years. Image credit: NASA/SDO

A giant active region on the sun erupted yesterday (October 26), with its sixth substantial flare since October 19. This flare was classified as an X2-class flare and it peaked at 6:56 a.m. EDT. This is the third X-class flare in 48 hours, erupting from the largest active region seen on the sun in 24 years.

This huge sunspot – called AR 12192 – is around 129,000 kilometers across. That’s big enough for 10 Earths to sit side-by-side along its diameter.

X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, etc.

An X-class flare erupted from the sun on Oct. 25, 2014, as seen as a bright flash of light in this image from NASA's SDO. The image shows extreme ultraviolet light in the 131-angstrom wavelength, which highlights the intensely hot material in a flare and which is typically colorized in teal. Image credit: NASA/SDO

Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however – when intense enough – they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.

To see how this event may affect Earth, visit NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, the U.S. government’s official source for space weather forecasts, alerts, watches and warnings.

NOAA NWS Space Weather Prediction Center

Government Organization · 63,194 Likes

· October 27 at 7:35am ·

Here is a week-long look at Region 2192’s seemingly nonstop solar flare production in SDO/AIA 94 imagery. Enjoy!

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Read more from NASA

 

NASA’s SDO Observes More Flares Erupting from Giant Sunspot
October 28, 2014
SDO captured this image of the M6.6-class solar flare, peaking at 11:32 pm EDT on Oct. 28, 2014
A large active region erupts with a mid-level flare, an M6.6-class, in this image from NASA’s SDO on the night of Oct. 27, 2014. The region will soon rotate over the right horizon of the sun and will no longer be facing Earth.  Image Credit: NASA/SDO

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, an M6.6-class, peaking at 11:32 pm EDT on Oct. 28, 2014 – the latest in a series of substantial flares from a giant active region on the sun that first erupted with a significant solar flare on Oct. 19. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which constantly observes the sun, captured images of the event.

To see how this event may affect Earth, please visit NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center at http://spaceweather.gov, the U.S. government’s official source for space weather forecasts, alerts, watches and warnings.


UPDATE: October 27, 2014, 5:00 p.m. EDT

Sun releases another X2.0-class solar flare.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of an X2.0-class solar flare bursting off the lower right side of the sun on Oct. 27, 2014. The image shows a blend of extreme ultraviolet light with wavelengths of 131 and 171 Angstroms.  Image Credit: NASA/SDO

A large active region on the sun erupted with another X-class flare, an X2.0, on Oct. 27, 2014 — its fourth since Oct. 24. The flare peaked at 10:47 a.m. EDT.

X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, etc.

To see how this event may affect Earth, please visit NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center at http://spaceweather.gov, the U.S. government’s official source for space weather forecasts, alerts, watches and warnings.


NASA’s SDO Observes More Flares Erupting from Giant Sunspot – October 27, 2014, 11:00 a.m. EDT

two blue images of sun with bright flare lower right
NASA’s SDO captured images of two M-class flares erupting from the same region on the sun. The flare on the left peaked at 8:34 pm EDT on Oct. 26, 2014; the flare on the right peaked at 6:09 am EDT on Oct. 27, 2014. The images show EUV light of 131 Angstroms, which is typically colorized in teal. Image Credit:  NASA/SDO

Continuing a week’s worth of substantial flares beginning on Oct.19, 2014, the sun emitted two mid-level solar flares on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27. The first peaked at 8:34 pm EDT on Oct. 26, 2014, and the second peaked almost 10 hours later at 6:09 am EDT on Oct. 27. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which constantly observes the sun, captured images of both flares.

Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however — when intense enough — they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.

To see how this event may affect Earth, please visit NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center at http://spaceweather.gov, the U.S. government’s official source for space weather forecasts, alerts, watches and warnings.

The first flare was classified as an M7.1-class flare. The second flare was a bit weaker, classified as an M6.7-class.

M-class flares are one tenth as strong as X-class flares, which are the most intense flares. The number provides more information about its strength. An M2 is twice as intense as an M1, an M3 is three times as intense, etc.

The series of flares over the course of the previous week all erupted from a particularly large active region on the sun, labeled AR 12192 – the largest seen on the sun in 24 years. Active regions are areas of intense and complex magnetic fields that are often the source of solar flares.

Active regions are more common at the moment as we are in what’s called solar maximum, which is the peak of the sun’s activity, occurring approximately every 11 years.

What is a solar flare?

 

For answers to this and other space weather questions, please visit the Spaceweather Frequently Asked Questions page.

Related Links

› Download high resolution media from all flares from AR2192
› What does it take to be X-class?
› View Past Solar Activity

Karen C. Fox
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

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