Astrophotos: Monster Sunspot Evolution

by Nancy Atkinson on July 10, 2012

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Caption: A 5-day sequence of sunspot group AR1520. Credit: Shahrin Ahmad, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Click to see a larger version.

There’s a monster sunspot making its way across the face of the Sun, and it’s captured the attention of several astrophotographers. This first image is from Shahrin Ahmad, who created a sequence of images as the sunspot moved to face towards Earth from the southeastern limb. He used a Skywatcher 120ED at F/15 (2X barlow) with a Baader Solar Filter and a IMG132E camera for his images.

AR1520 stretches more than 127,000 km (10 Earth diameters) from end to end, and the magnetic field of this enormous sunspot harbors energy for strong solar flares. NOAA forecasters estimate an 80% chance of M-flares and a 25% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours, according to Spaceweather.com.

Here are some more looks at AR1520:


Caption: Closeup of monster sunspot AR1520. Credit: John Chumack.

One of our favorite astrophotographer, John Chumack, took this image of AR1520 in white light on July 8, 2012 using a Lunt Solar Herschel Solar Wedge filter, DMK 21AF04 Fire-wire Camera, 2x barlow, with 1/1000 second exposure. See more at his Flickr page, or his website, Galactic Images.


Caption: Sun and sunspots: Credit: Mike Black

Mike Black took this one on July 9, 2012

Gear: Canon 1D Mark IV + Canon 400mm f/2.8 + 2x Extender III. Baader solar film in front of lens. See more on Mike’s Flickr page.

Want to see a size comparison of AR1520? The mascot of the Solar Dynamics Observatory, Camilla the Rubber Chicken posted this comparison to Jupiter, the biggest planet in the solar system:


Caption: Size comparison of AR1520 to Jupiter. Credit: Camilla_SDO on Twitter.

Here’s a look at the previously active region on the Sun, which last week blasted out numerous M-class flares and at least one X.1-class flares, again a sequence of images from Shahrin Ahmad:

Caption: A 7-day sequence of sunspot AR1515. Credit: Shahrin Ahmad, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their images!

Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

ozonator July 11, 2012 at 1:15 AM

Neato!

To be fair and balanced, extremist media outlets have yet to ever blame any weather event on sunspots prior to an occurrence.

“A). … 1). Regular qualitative predictions are US for “normal” catastrophic, violent AGW ecosystems (quakes to CMEs to toxic feticide) from the EssoKochFox’s and their willing accomplices. … the majority of sunspots that will be ripped out of the far side of our star. This ripping will catastrophically overlap with last (7/1 – 7/12) week’s sunspot generation to produce titanic CMEs and solar wind hitting the Earth, a 65% chance of continuing significant proton storm(s), and CME energies of X2 – 12+” and the predicted number for 7/14/12 – “The 249th BAZS=ERC Model (7/8 – 14/12) predicts a 20 – 120 sunspot number” (“GBRWE 7/8 – 14/12”s Extreme Planetary Warnings for Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Solar/Terrestrial Flares from Human Activities”; Robert Rhodes, Supplemental; GBRWE 7/8 – 14/12, 7/7/12).

ozonator July 13, 2012 at 12:16 AM

Predicted in this blog from the AGW “hoax” –

“Produce titanic CMEs and solar wind hitting the Earth, a 65% chance of continuing significant proton storm(s), and CME energies of X2 – 12+ … a 20 – 120 sunspot number”.

Tada — “X-FLARE! Big sunspot AR1520 unleashed an X1.4-class solar flare on July 12th at 1653 UT … Because this sunspot is directly facing Earth, everything about the blast was geoeffective. … it hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) directly toward our planet … will hit Earth on July 14th around 10:20 UT (+/- 7 hours) and could spark strong geomagnetic storms … The explosion also strobed Earth with a pulse of extreme UV radiation … disturbing the normal propagation of radio signals around the planet. … Finally, solar protons accelerated by the blast are swarming around Earth” and “Sunspot number: 94 … Updated 12 Jul 2012” (“What’s up in Space”; Dr. Tony Phillips; spaceweather.com, 7/12/12).

Predicting only a free lunch from the skeptic tank – “Aurora Borealis induced sounds confirmed – measured at 70m AGL … Posted on July 9, 2012 by Anthony Watts … something I’ve always wondered about but could never hear myself. They have a video of aurora, complete with sounds which follows below. I wonder if this isn’t something akin to thunder, where magnetic or static field lines create a sound once they fade or collapse. – Anthony … This entry was posted in Curious things and tagged …Aurora, Earth’s magnetic field,…sun, The Northern Lights: Secrets of the Aurora Borealis, …No baloney: Global Warming creates a largesse of lobster ? 44 Responses to Aurora Borealis induced sounds confirmed – measured at 70m AGL …
July 9, 2012 at 9:03 am … Maybe some sort of small scale sonic thunder like event is going on here with aurora electrified cold air. – Anthony” (Tony ‘who lacked a mothers’ love because she preferred a pack of cleaner cigarettes’ Watts; whistlesuckers perfuming the stink at wattsupwiththat.com). From 2 more gang-probing space aliens – “Sen. Inhofe Speech mocks warmists heatwave claims: ‘The Question Global Warming Alarmists Won’t Answer’ — What ‘percentage of the heat over the past few weeks can be attributed to human causes’” and “Scientists Blame Global Warming for Heat Wave, But Fail to Back It Up: Refused to identify any possible threshold: ‘I honestly don’t think you can really put a number right on it’” (racketeering found on 7/12/12) (Marc ‘Mengele’ Morano whistle-sucker perfuming the stink at climatedepot.com).

briansheen July 11, 2012 at 6:54 AM

Hi Nancy,

Has camilla reported on her findings following her recent trip to the upper atmosphere

Sarv-NASA Incorporated July 11, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Most people now live in cleaner pest-free environment….. with pesticides sprayed around…..

however, I am only amused to know that mission to moon (???) was called Apollo mission ?….. and there are other questions as well….. how could the flying witches (crows) disappear with a piece of the moon’s scalp ?….. and how could they circumcise him somewhere in 1970-1973 ?…..

Aqua4U July 11, 2012 at 2:51 PM

I’ve been watching this group since it first appeared and GEEEZE, it is HUGE! The biggest I’ve ever seen anyway. Then again, I only just made one of my telescope’s into a solar observation set up, using a projected image…. so I’m kind of new at this and did not have similar to view the last Solar Max. Is this a portent of ‘things to come’? Hmmm…..

Sarv-NASA Incorporated July 11, 2012 at 2:53 PM

AR 1520 is just a sign of the sun trying to rig out some HF/FM radio transmitters….. and AR 1472 was a sign of a little business deal in progress…. however, sensing bad vibes floating in from everywhere…. he backed out of the deal….

and the flares & CMEs (there have not been many real CMEs in the recent past, with juices squirting out on eit304 images lately)…… and the sun is now trying to control his anger, and you don’t see many filaments there…. however, unnecessary useless alien space-invaders are being warned to stay away….. and the useless editors who copy & paste these useless reports are advised to refrain from publishing these freak reports….. or be ready to be sued for defamation…..

Space agencies too are advised not to play these stupid HD tricks anymore….. and find jobs elsewhere in chinese factories……

Now that you too know about the existence of the sun as a man another living somewhere….. we expect everyone to just shut up……

ozonator July 13, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Even with titanic sunspot 1520 and the Jerry Sandusky verdict – coverup at Penn State – PSU grad, professional big oil wrestler, and meteorite-ologis Joey Bastardi has failed to predict even a free lunch, raindrop, or sunburn trying to perfume the stink at icecap.us or any other Exxon restroom wall.

Lord how the money rolls in, also show spellcheck is a hoax, “Meterologists like Accuweather’s Joe Bastardi … sunspots play a role in warming Earth’s climate” (“CBS Highlights Meteorologists Who Doubt Human Activity Causing Global Warming”; By Brad Wilmouth, phony news analyst at another extremist Media Research Center aka perfuming the stink at stinky newsbusters.org, 5/16/10).

“The global war mists climate changers came out of their hiding places and touted the heat as proof positive that their bogus charts and dire predictions of climate doom were still fake but accurate. In point of fact, what they never tell you is that a significant amount of solar flare activity has been ongoing recently, and that—not fossil fuel consumption—was likely behind much of the current temperature spike … Disclaimer: The author of this column maintains several active trading and investment portfolios and owns residential and investment real estate” (“Solar flares to warm Tuesday’s markets?”; Morning Market Maven by Terry Ponick perfuming the extremist stink for the Reverend Rush Moon brand of extremist Republican and Christian gangs at communities.washingtontimes.com on 7/10/12).

Nor Juliana Jaafor July 18, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Malaysia..bravo mr shah

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