July 17 update: Lots of filament eruptions
Today’s top sun news: A least three more filaments erupted after yesterday’s giant filament lifted off. The most spectacular of the bunch untwisted itself into space off the sun’s southwest limb (edge). There was continued moderate sun activity with another M flare from AR3055. It produced a CME that is still being analyzed. Yesterday’s large filament did produce an Earth-directed CME that NASA estimates will impact Earth on July 19 toward the beginning of the day. It could produce auroras well into the northern U.S. (mid-latitudes). There are some large coronal holes in the east of the sun’s disk that could provide some fast solar wind at Earth later in the week.
Last 24 hours: Sun activity is moderate, with the highest flare an M1.4 from AR3055 at 15:40 UTC on July 16. The flare produced an R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Atlantic. The sun has eight labeled active sunspot regions. Over the past 24 hours, there were 8 C flares and one M flare. The main players are AR3053 and AR3055.
Next 24 hours: The flare forecast is 99% chance for C flares, 45% for M flares, and 10% for X flares.
Next expected CME: An Earth-directed CME produced by the large filament on July 15 might reach the Earth by early July 19.
Current geomagnetic activity: Quiet.
Direct Hit! A snake-like filament launched as a big #solarstorm while in the Earth-strike zone. NASA predicts impact early July 19. Strong #aurora shows possible with this one, deep into mid-latitudes. Amateur #radio & #GPS users expect signal disruptions on Earth's nightside. pic.twitter.com/7FHgS63xiU
— Dr. Tamitha Skov (@TamithaSkov) July 16, 2022
A GRACEFUL ERUPTION: Not all solar eruptions are violent and fast. Here is one on the southwest limb that is positively gracefully slow. It is so slow that none of the material escapes the Sun's gravity and it all falls back. Note that it is still huge compared to our tiny Earth! pic.twitter.com/BvWTymz1xP
— Keith Strong (@drkstrong) July 17, 2022
Another M! M1.4 flare from AR3055 in the SW. it’s a good solar Saturday. Radio blackout over the Atlantic. Will there be more? ????? pic.twitter.com/rGYcYLCEMz
— Dr. C. Alex Young (@TheSunToday) July 16, 2022
July 16 update: Spectacular filament eruption
A vast filament erupted on the sun at 17:32 UTC on July 15. It erupted from a great “valley of fire,” or rift in the sun’s atmosphere, around the center on the solar disk, north of the equator. Check out the beautiful images on this page! The event produced a CME, which was recorded by the the SOHO space observatory shortly after the eruption. Due to its position on the sun, the CME is aimed toward Earth. It might reach the Earth by July 19. Crossed fingers for auroras chasers.
SPECTACULAR FILAMENT ERUPTION: A filament stretching halfway across the solar disk became unstable and erupted away from the Sun. Couple things to note: (1) A section of it twists (magnetic energy being released). (2) After the event two bright ribbons form – a two-ribbon flare! pic.twitter.com/d3GN6S5Dpy
— Keith Strong (@drkstrong) July 16, 2022
July 15 update: Hello, newcomer sunspot AR3058!
Newcomer sunspot AR3058 is showing nice activity with an almost M3 flare (M2.98)! The flare happened late yesterday (21:40 UTC on July 14, 2022). It produced a R1 (minor) radio blackout that affected the Pacific Ocean over Hawaii.
Happy Bastille Day! 22 years ago, on July 14 2000, the sun produced a spectacular show! Sunspot region NOAA AR9077 when it was close to sun center let of a BANG!!! X flare, CME and super fast particles. Textbook space weather ??????? Find out more: https://t.co/zBaHJOdwd7 pic.twitter.com/hjPS0dr65S
— Dr. C. Alex Young (@TheSunToday) July 14, 2022
July 14 update: A comet dives into the sun
Yesterday, we saw the sun’s innermost planet Mercury, nearly behind the sun as seen by NASA’s STEREO spacecraft (see our July 13 update). Looking from a slightly different perspective with the SOHO spacecraft, we also saw a comet yesterday, heading toward the sun. Sun-diving comets like this one typically evaporate (the tweet below has an animation of the event).
SUN DIVING COMET! A comet in the SW is at about 5 o’clock, rapidly diving towards the Sun. As with most of these, it does not survive the close encounter. It probably evaporated into a cloud of dust & gas before reaching the solar surface. The bright object in the NW is Mercury. pic.twitter.com/SVVyHRHKwt
— Keith Strong (@drkstrong) July 14, 2022
RISE and SHINE! M1.3 flare from the northeast limb, 4:31 UTC. There is no region in view yet so we await what may be coming around the limb. It produced a shortwave radio blackout over Asia. No SDO data at the moment, GOES/SUVI caught it. Have to wait for further data. ???? pic.twitter.com/pVxZm24YKm
— Dr. C. Alex Young (@TheSunToday) July 14, 2022
July 13 update: Mercury nearly behind the sun
The sun’s innermost planet, Mercury, was one of the five planets visible before sunup in late June and early July. But now Mercury has disappeared back into the sun’s glare as seen from Earth. It will pass behind the sun from Earth at superior conjunction around 20 UTC on July 16. NASA’s STEREO sun observatory caught the cool video above from July 7 to 10, 2022. It shows what we can’t see from Earth: Mercury sailing toward the sun, about to pass behind it (although not directly behind, this time). The little planet will emerge again, in the west after sunset, by this month’s end.
This video from NASA’s STEREO space observatory extends over several days: July 7 to 10, 2022. It shows a CME from the far side of the sun, as the sun’s innermost planet, Mercury, moves toward passing behind the sun. Image via Helioviewer.
July 12 update: A beautiful prominence!
Sun activity is still moderate. The majestic prominence on the sun’s southwest limb (edge) produced a coronal mass ejection, or CME. But it blasted outward from the far side of the sun and so isn’t Earth-oriented. Today’s sun shows large sunspot regions and interesting filaments. There are three active regions on the sun now with sunspot areas larger than Earth: AR3053, AR3055 and AR3057. AR3053 is 1.5 times the area of Earth, AR3055 5 times and AR3057 2 times. AR3056 is magnetically complex enough to indicate the possibility of an X flare. AR3053 is now positioned west of the solar central meridian above the sun’s equator. And AR3055 is on the central solar meridian south of the equator. Both are good candidates for flare-producing. Today, Mercury can be seen on the SOHO model. Looks gorgeous! See photo below.
July 11 sun activity update: M flares!
Sun activity is up! It’s moderate, with two M flares from active region AR3056 in the past day. AR3056 recently rotated onto the solar disk and now shows a lot of promise for further activity. The region is magnetically complex enough to indicate the possibility for an X flare. It has what’s called a delta configuration, meaning it has opposite polarity magnetic fields (north and south) mixed within the inner part of one of its sunspots. This region is worth keeping an eye on. There has also been some nice prominence activity including a large prominence arcing outwards from the sun’s southwest limb (edge).
— Dr. C. Alex Young (@TheSunToday) July 11, 2022
WOWZA! Happy #sunday! An amazing prominence eruption! Thanks to GOES/SUVI’s wide field-of-view, we can see more of the event than we would be able to see in SDO/AIA. Each instrument has its own benefits. SUVI has the best FOV. Watch as the structure untwists. ????? #sunfuns pic.twitter.com/hbXUfsZK8g
— Dr. C. Alex Young (@TheSunToday) July 10, 2022
To our readers and community
We invite you all to send us your beautiful recent photos of sunspots and auroras. We love receiving your photos! To those of you who’ve already posted a photo to our community, thank you.
Recent sun pics, from EarthSky’s community
Bottom line: The Sun’s overall activity was slightly elevated from what we’ve seen last week. At the beginning of the week, on July 10, we saw an M1 flare. We then ended our week with prominences and filament eruptions. We even saw a comet dive into the sun on July 14! What a sight to see!