Weekly Solar Image 09-02-12

Sorry for my lack of weekly solar images. But luckily I am back and have some images to share of the sun today.

On August 31st sunspot 1560 released a coronal mass ejection resulting in a C-8 solar flare. The CME released by 1560 isn’t exactly Earth directed, but it should deliver a glancing blow to our planets magnetic field. 1560 has quadrupled in size over the last few days, and NOAA forecasts a 40% chance for M-class flares from this sunspot.

Sunspots: 1563, 1564, 1562, 1560, 1553

1560 is the chain of sunspots near the center of the sun in the image above. 1562, 1563, and 1564 are the cluster of sunspots to the left side of the sun; 1553 is the small sunspot on the lower right just about to pass along the limb and disappear out of our view from Earth. The above image is 53 images stacked in Registax and edited in Photoshop.

Sunspot 1560

Above is a closeup view of sunspot 1560. This image is 20 images stacked in Registax and edited in Photoshop. Again, it’s very hard to achieve a sharp focus with the setup I’m using to zoom in on this sunspot. Using the Canon 350D and the 1.25″ Orion Variable Universal Camera Adapter.

Powerful M9-Class Solar Flare Heading Towards Earth

The strongest Solar Radiation Storm since May of 2005 is under way. The sun unleashed a powerful M9-class solar flare from sunspot 1402 on January 22nd around 11:00pm EST, and the flare is heading towards Earth.

Latest GOES-15 Image.
M9-Class Solar Flare from NASAs Solar Dynamics Observatory.
A computer model by the NOAA predicts the Coronal Mass Ejection will reach Earth by around 9:00am EST (+/- 7 hours) traveling at a speed of approximately 1,367 miles per second.
Solar Wind Prediction from NOAAs Space Weather Prediction Center.
These kind of storms can affect satellites in¬†geosynchronous, polar and other orbits. Sky watchers in higher than normal latitudes should be on the lookout for aurora. If you have clear skies, this may be a great chance to get out and see the aurora for yourself. Looking at the weather predictions for Plattsburgh, NY it’s looking like we’re clouded in the next few nights, so there is a very slim chance I will get to see it.