Giant sun spot moves back into view

The Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre is closely monitoring what was the biggest sun spot in the current 11-year solar cycle as it rotates back onto the face of the Sun. When it last faced the Earth it was the largest since 1990 and about 11 times bigger than the Earth or the size of Jupiter. This sunspot was first visible during the last two weeks of October but then moved round the back of the sun. Whilst it has been out of view from many of our monitoring instruments it doesn’t appear to have produced any significant activity.

Sun spot rotates back onto the face of the Sun.

Sun spot rotates back onto the face of the Sun.

Although this is the biggest sunspot for 25 years it doesn’t mean it is very active or that it is more likely anything significant will happen.

Space weather forecasters look for features like the complexity of the magnetic field to determine how active it might be. When this sunspot was visible last month it 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.

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2 Responses to Giant sun spot moves back into view

  1. beautiful research work. Hope to know more about them.

    • xmetman says:

      What research work? NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Centre had been monitoring the sun and issuing alerts for CME’s for the last 15 years or so, and the Met Office is very late at the party with its Space Weather Operations Center I fancy.

      A free iOS or Android alert application would suffice in issuing any alerts of CME’s – that’s supposing the alert is issued early enough and all the worlds communication satellites haven’t all been fried.

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