After M3 flare, active sunspots turned to Earth-side

After M3 flare, active sunspots turned to Earth-side

New sunspot 1163 doesn't look very impressive, but the M3-class flare it unleashed yesterday was absolutely spectacular. Click Eastern Blast to download a movie recorded by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Latest SDO AIA Image

When the eruption occurred, sunspot 1163 was behind the sun's eastern limb. Nevertheless, enough ultraviolet radiation spilled over to create waves of ionization in Earth's upper atmosphere. Low-frequency radio signals, which bounce off of ionized air, were strongly disturbed, as shown in this plot from a VLF monitoring station in Slovakia. Otherwise, Earth was little affected. Plasma clouds produced by the blast did not come our way.

Sunspot 1163 will continue turning toward Earth in the days ahead, setting the stage for more potent geo-effects if the eruptions continue. (SpaceWeather)
Tags: m-class, sunspot

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