DR. SKY BLOG

Massive sunspot group producing X-level flares and CME events in cycle 25

Apr 20, 2022, 2:00 PM
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft captured this image of a solar flare as it...
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft captured this image of a solar flare as it erupted from the sun early on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2003. (ESA-NASA/SOHO Photo)
(ESA-NASA/SOHO Photo)

For a week or so, something has been brewing on the far side of the sun.

With sunspot cycle 25 now underway, the activity on the far side has been producing X-level solar flares and powerful coronal mass ejections.

As the new sunspot group moves into view, expect more in the way of above normal flare and related radiation storms from the sun.

Here is a view of the massive sunspot chain known as AR 2993-2994, as they are seething with magnetic fields.

The size of this group is even more impressive as this image shows in relation to the size of Earth.

My prediction for the week ahead is for a few intense X-level flares and related CMEs directed towards Earth. This will produce some powerful geomagnetic storms in the G1 to G2 level events.

This has the capability of showering the Earth with radio blackouts as well as auroral storms visible in the lower latitudes as well!

Earlier in the week the radio blackout map was centered on Asia.

With all this recent activity moving on to the visible disk of the sun, there is yet another large group right behind it.

There is an opportunity, for those who have small telescopes, to view this activity right from your own backyard, but you need to follow these detailed instructions, so you do not look directly at the sun without proper eye protection or a specially designed solar telescope.

Here are some safe suggestion methods of viewing the sun with a telescope.

Here are some suggestions for using a special solar telescope which has the filters built in.

Here are the details on the small solar glasses which people use to look at solar eclipses.

You can follow all the activity on the sun this week and beyond, by visiting https://soho.nascom.nasa.gov/ or https://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/.

Once again we are on the upside of solar cycle 25 and we can and should expect many Earth-directed flare and CME events. This can cause major interruptions with our digital world in the areas of power lines, phones and radio communications.

There is also a direct threat to the many low Earth-orbiting satellites which we depend on for commerce and security.

History shows us that there have been effects from the many solar storms of the past. Here are just a few of those.

We all need to understand that the sun rules all weather and especially space weather.

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.

Podcasts are available here.

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Massive sunspot group producing X-level flares and CME events in cycle 25