Giant Sun Spot Turns Toward Earth – More Large Flares Possible (VIDEO) Source: Planetsave (http://s.tt/13ldL)
September 27, 2011
Stretching for more than 100,000 km (62, ooo miles) from end to end, solar Active Region (AR) 1302 is slowly coming into position where it directly faces the Earth. The region contains a “behemoth” sunspot — several times larger than the Earth — named sunspot 1302.
The sunspot has already been the source of two ‘X-class’ solar flares (‘X’ signifying the most extreme, or largest); the first, measuring an X1.4, on September 22, and the second, an X1.9, coming just two days later on Sept. 24.
The “extreme ultra-violet flash” was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
SDO also captured a dark, shock wave racing away from the flare site. Astrophysicists believe it to be a sign that a coronal mass ejection (CME) had also occurred (see video below).
The AR has also seen several lower magnitude flares since the X1.9 blast, with M8.6 and M7.4 flares erupting on Sept. 24, and a second M8.8 flare early on Sept. 25.
None of the flares has been aimed at the Earth, but as the the Suns rotates the AR will orient itself more directly in-line with Earth. Will we be the “target” of one or more large flares? That of course is the question. AR 1302 remains active as it slowly turns towards us. Scientists are, so far, not making any guesses.
Predicting solar flares and CMEs is exceedingly difficult.