Updated on 20th May 2013
The recent activity on the Sun has now decreased back to levels we would normally expect at this point in time, close to a maximum of the 11-year solar cycle.
This follows a period where a sunspot, identified as 1748, emitted a number of powerful solar flares which were directed away from Earth.
There was a concern that another eruption from 1748 would be more directly aimed at Earth as it moved round with the Sun’s rotation. However, 1748 has reduced in size and has seen no significant activity for more than 48 hours.
While the risk of impacts on Earth has decreased, it is still possible that high levels of activity will re-emerge from 1748 while it is facing Earth. The Met Office will continue to monitor the situation.
Mark Gibbs, Head of Space Weather at the Met Office, said: “This sunspot was particularly active last week, sending out one solar flare which was the largest measured for over a year. Fortunately its eruptions were not directed at Earth and we saw very minimal impacts.
“We have observed a decrease in the spot’s activity in the past couple of days and, while a risk remains, we are now at a normal level of activity for this point in the solar cycle.”
Updated on 17th May 2013
As per our blog article published yesterday, the Met Office continues to closely monitor the Sun following a recent surge in its activity related to a sunspot (identified by the number 1748).
This morning saw a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), which is an eruption of electromagnetically charged gas (plasma), from the sunspot. The CME is due to catch Earth with a glancing blow which is not expected to cause any significant impacts.
There remains a low risk through to the end of next week that we could see a CME from 1748 which is aimed more directly at Earth, but after that the risk is expected to diminish.
We’ll continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates if there are any changes.