An active sunspot (1123) erupted early this morning (Nov. 12th), producing a C4-class solar flare and apparently hurling a filament of material in the general direction of Earth. Coronagraph images from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and NASA’s twin STEREO spacecraft show a faint coronal mass ejection emerging from the blast site and heading off in a direction just south of the sun-Earth line. The cloud could deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field sometime between Nov. 13th to the 15th. High latitude sky watchers could see auroras on those dates.
Here’s a look at the two sunspots currently visible on the Sun.
Speaking of sunspots, there’s a great video from Oct. 25-27, 2010, showing two sunspots merging:
Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today’s Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT’s Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.