Monday, December 21, 2015


Just beyond the sun's eastern horizon, a hidden sunspot is crackling with strong flares. Even though the sunspot's magnetic canopy is partially eclipsed, the explosions are visible from Earth. This picture taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on Dec. 21st shows plasma being hurled over the edge of the sun:

The instigating sunspot will rotate over the limb this week, turning toward Earth where we can get a better view of its size and underlying magnetic structure. So far the strongest explosion has measured M2 on the Richter Scale of Solar Flares. It is possible, however, that even stronger flares are in the offing.

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