Big sunspot unleashes an intense solar flare

Saturday, January 12, 2013
By Paul Martin

AR1654 is growing more active and ‘crackling with M-class solar flares,’ scientists say

MSNBC.com
1/11/2013

The surface of the sun erupted in a solar flare early Friday, unleashing a blast of super-heated plasma into space.

A huge sunspot known as AR1654 produced the M1-class flare at 4:11 a.m. EST, officials with NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory said in a description of the event. The SDO spacecraft is one of several sun-watching space telescopes keeping tabs on solar flares and other sun weather events.

According to Spaceweather.com, sunspot AR1654 is growing more active and is now “crackling with M-class solar flares” like the one that erupted today.

“AR1654 is getting bigger as it turns toward Earth,” the website reported. “Not only is the chance of flares increasing, but also the chance of an Earth-directed eruption. This could be the sunspot that breaks the recent lengthy spell of calm space weather around our planet.”

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