Published on 9 May 2012 by BrevardTimes
A Giant Sun Spot discovered by NASA, named AR1476, is expected to Produce Massive Solar Flares.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — An enormous sun spot is producing solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CME) that could soon be headed towards Earth.
According to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, NOAA Region 1476, now poised just to the east of center on the solar disk, produced an impulsive R1(Minor) Radio Blackout at 1232 UTC (8:32 EDT) today.
The region is quite prominent, although just one-third in area of the large regions of the Halloween Storms in 2003, and exhibits a slight degree of magnetic complexity.
The giant sunspot will be in direct alignment with earth in the next few days, so Coronal Mass Ejections then would be likely to spawn geomagnetic activity here on Earth.
Just last month, an enormous solar prominence producing a solar flare and coronal mass ejection shot off the east limb (left side) of the sun on April 16, 2012. Such eruptions are often associated with solar flares, and in this case an M1 class (medium-sized) flare occurred at the same time, peaking at 1:45 PM EDT. The Coronal Mass Ejection last month was not aimed toward Earth.
NASA explains that a solar prominence (also known as a filament when viewed against the solar disk) is a large, bright feature extending outward from the Sun’s surface. Prominences are anchored to the Sun’s surface in the photosphere, and extend outwards into the Sun’s hot outer atmosphere, called the corona. A prominence forms over timescales of about a day, and stable prominences may persist in the corona for several months, looping hundreds of thousands of miles into space. Scientists are still researching how and why prominences are formed.