Sunday, April 7, 2019


A new sunspot is rotating over the sun's eastern limb, and it's a big one. Provisionally numbered AR2738, the dark core is nearly three times wider than Earth. The sunspot is inset in this ultraviolet image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which also shows the region's towering magnetic canopy:

The magnetic polarity of AR2738 identifies it as a member of old Solar Cycle 24. Apparently, the decaying solar cycle still has some potency even as it nears its end. Can this sunspot produce strong flares? We won't know until it turns more directly toward Earth in the days ahead. Then we can see more clearly the structure of its magnetic field and evaluate the potential for explosiveness.

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