Sunspot AR1476 takes aim on Earth

From Spaceweather.com

NOAA forecasters estimate a 75% chance of M-class solar flares and a 20% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours. Any eruptions are likely to be geoeffective because the source, sunspot AR1476, is directly facing our planet.

Yesterday, May 10th, amateur astronomer David Maidment of Sohar, Oman caught the active region in mid-flare during a strong M5-class eruption:

The blast, which almost crossed the threshold into X-territory, did not produce a significant coronal mass ejection (CME). “There seemed to be no CME due to the fact that the plasma was captured and dragged back down to the sun,” notes Maidment.

Here’s the latest SDO image:

And the closeup:

Keep a close watch on this graph for X-ray bursts:

3-day GOES X-ray Plot

Get X-flare alerts: text, phone.

48 thoughts on “Sunspot AR1476 takes aim on Earth

  1. What a great time for mankind to have instruments like SDO, and STEREO collecting data!

  2. Are these spots of strong activity beneficial to the Earth and humanity?
    There are indications that the Earth’s magnetic field secular change responds to the solar flares and CME’s after an impact of a geomagnetic storm.

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Tromso.htm

    How else to explain direct correlation between 400 years of solar activity and bi-decadal change in the Antarctic’s magnetic field?

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SSN-dBzA1.htm

    And finally is there a beneficial global temperature factor?

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LLa.htm

  3. OMG!! It’s worse than we thought! The sun’s all hot and magnety! RUN! RUN FOR THE HILLS!

    oh wait… that’s closer to the sun….

    RUN! RUN FOR THE CAVES!

  4. Has anyone noticed that Jo Anne Novas site has been down for quite a few days now i wonder if the freaks have not hacked her site. It would be highly unlikely for her to close down the site for maintenece for such a long period.

  5. “Any eruptions are likely to be geoeffective because the source, sunspot AR1476, is directly facing our planet.”

    This seems wrong. If you were to draw a cone from AR1476 and extend it to the radius of the Earth, it seems like it would directly face the Earth for only a few seconds before spinning past us. I must be doing something wrong here.

  6. I wonder if here in Wisconsin we will get another “heatwave” like we did at the time of the March 8-10 solar storm.

    March “Heat Wave” (May-like next 10 days; 70 by Wednesday?)
    Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: March 12, 2012 – 10:27 AM

    http://www.startribune.com/blogs/142248585.html

    And here’s the solar storm as reported by NASA.

    Solar Storm Dumps Gigawatts into Earth’s Upper Atmosphere
    March 22, 2012: A recent flurry of eruptions on the sun did more than spark pretty auroras around the poles. NASA-funded researchers say the solar storms of March 8th through 10th dumped enough energy in Earth’s upper atmosphere to power every residence in New York City for two years.
    “This was the biggest dose of heat we’ve received from a solar storm since 2005,” says Martin Mlynczak of NASA Langley Research Center. “It was a big event, and shows how solar activity can directly affect our planet.”
    ..During the heating impulse, the thermosphere puffed up like a marshmallow held over a campfire,..

    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/22mar_saber/

  7. It’s a lot more complicated than that. By the time the plasma gets to us it’s several times larger than earth. It’s also effected by many other factors between the time it leaves and when it gets here. Unpredictable is the right word.

  8. Roger says:
    May 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Has anyone noticed that Jo Anne Novas site has been down for quite a few days now i wonder if the freaks have not hacked her site. It would be highly unlikely for her to close down the site for maintenece for such a long period.
    =====================================================================
    She said a week or so ago that she was about to make some major changes to the site, primarily to reduce bandwidth. Looks like it is taking a bit longer than expected.

  9. STuartMcL says:
    May 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Roger says:
    May 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Has anyone noticed that Jo Anne Novas site has been down for quite a few days now i wonder if the freaks have not hacked her site. It would be highly unlikely for her to close down the site for maintenece for such a long period.
    =====================================================================
    She said a week or so ago that she was about to make some major changes to the site, primarily to reduce bandwidth. Looks like it is taking a bit longer than expected.

    ————————————————————————–

    I just went there and got through with no problem; looks like it’s back OK.

  10. The weird thing is that a “Carrington-type event” would do wonders for our GHG emissions – none that is.

    I’ll feel a tiny bit better when this spot points in a different direction.

  11. I think everyone has this all screwed up. The only important thing for me and anyone else who qualifies as a universe center, is will I get any cool aura images out of it.

  12. I’ve forgotten the name of the tale, but there’s a science fiction story (written before geosynchronous satellites?) in which the main character (and his lady friend?) notice late one evening that the moon is incredibly bright. One of them happens to be an amateur astronomer/skywatcher, and a half hour or so later when Mars rises, they notice that Mars is *also* far brighter than usual — almost as bright as Jupiter up near the sky’s zenith.

    At that point they begin speculating on why. And then, an hour or two (?) later they realize that Jupiter seems to have brightened quite a bit as well. Soooo… they put two and two together and decide that the sun has gone somewhat nova and that probably everyone on the other side of the planet is now toasted and that they’ll be toasted as well once the sun rises. Well, they proceed to party away madly, convinced it is their last night on earth.

    I read the story a long,long time ago and forget all the details, but I think that they begin getting hit by a downpour that tastes salty, and decide that the seas must be boiling away. Eventually however the astronomical half of the pair realizes that rather than a nova they were simply dealing with a massive solar flare and that while the other side of the planet may indeed have gotten hit that they themselves were likely going to be OK.

    Anyone here remember the name of the tale? And, on a more serious note, does anyone here know if we have the equivalent of “geological records” recording serious solar events that might be far less than “dinosaur killers” but would be highly disastrous for our civilization today if similar ones occurred?

    :?
    MJM

  13. My DSL connection has been remarkably unstable for the last 1/2 day or so…

    I noticed that it was unstable the last time flare producers where pointed my way too…

    Houston, I think we have a pattern! ;-)

  14. Sage! :) Thank you! And, in trying to track down just what one of my hundreds of short story anthologies might contain it a bit of Googling turned up the fact that it’s available as an Outer Limits episode on the IMDB!

    :)
    MJM

  15. Sage! :) Thank you! And, in trying to track down just what one of my hundreds of short story anthologies might contain it a bit of Googling turned up the fact that it’s available as an Outer Limits episode on the IMDB and Hulu.com. See:

    Now THAT would be Global Warming!

    :>
    MJM

  16. Roger says:
    May 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Has anyone noticed that Jo Anne Novas site has been down for quite a few days now i wonder if the freaks have not hacked her site. It would be highly unlikely for her to close down the site for maintenece for such a long period.

    No Roger, no one else has noticed. Just like we didn’t notice the several-day advance warning Jo gave prior to the down time. And like we haven’t noticed that the site’s been back up for several hours now.

    So, thanks to your watching eye we are now all aware.
    For Roger’s benefit: /sarc

  17. vukcevic says:
    May 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm
    There are indications that the Earth’s magnetic field secular change responds to the solar flares and CME’s after an impact of a geomagnetic storm.
    There are no such indications of evidence of anything like that.

  18. vukcevic says:
    May 12, 2012 at 12:35 pm
    I hope he is well, we need him here, to keep in line wild and unruly speculators, myself included.
    Once invalid speculations have been unmasked, one might think it the job for the modulators to remind the commenter of that. Or for the commenter himself to show the decency of not keep polluting the discussion with further nonsense.

  19. Leif Svalgaard says: May 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm
    There are no such indications of evidence of anything like that.

    Current reference
    University of Colorado:
    historical reconstruction of TSI based on that of Wang, Lean, and Sheeley (The Astrophysical Journal, 625:522-538, 2005 May 20) using a flux transport model to simulate the Sun’s magnetic flux, with those annual values provided courtesy of J. Lean.
    ……. Measurements of total solar irradiance (TSI) are known to be linked to Earth climate and temperature.

    http://lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/data/tsi_data.htm

    IPCC:
    Figure 2.17. Reconstructions of the total solar irradiance time series starting as early as 1600. The upper envelope of the shaded regions shows irradiance variations arising from the 11-year activity cycle. The lower envelope is the total irradiance reconstructed by Lean (2000), in which the long-term trend was inferred from brightness changes in Sun-like stars. In comparison, the recent reconstruction of Y. Wang et al. (2005) is based on solar considerations alone, using a flux transport model to simulate the long-term evolution of the closed flux that generates bright faculae.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter2.pdf page 190

    Let us compare this widely accepted reference for the TSI to the bi-decadal changes of the Earth’s magnetic field.

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SSN-dBzA1.htm

    So what is going on here?
    – the most up to date solar science’s TSI reference is totally wrong (possible)
    – there is a sun-Earth magnetic connection not known to the modern science (possible)
    – just a coincidence (most unlikely)

    Solar scientists and geophysicists have access to all data required, once alerted to this anomaly they need to consider it from all possible angles and hopefully provide a credible explanation.

  20. Amino, thanks for that NASA video of May 5 to May 11. It’s amazing! Our star is mindblowing.

  21. vukcevic says:
    May 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm
    Solar scientists and geophysicists have access to all data required, once alerted to this anomaly they need to consider it from all possible angles and hopefully provide a credible explanation.
    No explanation is required for a spurious correlation.

  22. I was able to see 1476 with my ‘eclipse glasses’–no magnification! (Don’t try without the right filter!)

  23. Leif Svalgaard says: May 12, 2012 at 10:05 pm
    No explanation is required for a spurious correlation.

    It is curious that the correlation you call spurious
    for the Svalgaard’s TSI data since 1900 to date, is stronger than the one for Wang et al (2005), while prior to 1900 it is about equal.

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SSN-dBzA1.htm

    (for the Svalgaard’s TSI see last graph)

  24. Leif Svalgaard says:
    May 12, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    vukcevic says:
    May 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm
    Solar scientists and geophysicists have access to all data required, once alerted to this anomaly they need to consider it from all possible angles and hopefully provide a credible explanation.

    No explanation is required for a spurious correlation.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    That is most curious, Vuks. (Dr. might just be mispelling the word)
    Even to the lay person that doesn’t look like any wiggle matching going on. Hmmm wonder what other dots like on the interstellar scale can be connected to this. Just kidding but maybe some interplanetary fog. lol

  25. In a belated response to michaeljmcfadden the story was “Inconstant Moon” by Larry Niven.

  26. vukcevic says:
    May 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm
    I think it is a consequence of the geomagnetic storms’ cumulative effect on the magnetic poles.
    There is no such influence.

  27. I just ran across this:

    Colossal superflares erupt from sun-like stars
    Their explosions can have 10,000 times more energy than solar bursts from our sun

    “Stars like our sun can release “superflares,” explosions of up to 10,000 times more energy than the solar flares seen from our sun, researchers say.

    “However, it looks unlikely that our sun currently has superflares, scientists added.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47448502/ns/technology_and_science-space/#.T7Rv3FKwUW4

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