The Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre is currently monitoring the biggest sun spot in this 11-year solar cycle, so big that it’s about the size of Jupiter or 11 times bigger than the Earth. It is thought it might be the biggest for 25 years but this is still to be confirmed. However bigger doesn’t mean more active or make it more likely that anything significant will happen.
Space weather forecasters look for features like the complexity of the magnetic field to determine how active it might be.
Over the last few days this sun spot has emitted a couple of strong, and a few moderate, solar flares but nothing out of the ordinary. The significant events we’re looking for are Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) and to date there have been no CME associated with these flares. CME are eruptions of large amounts of matter and energetic particles from the solar atmosphere that can impact our technology here on Earth.
The Met Office will continue to monitor solar activity and issue further information if the situation changes. For more information about space weather see our Space Weather pages