July 31 update: Action on the sun’s edge
We haven’t seen much sun activity this week, on most of the Earth-facing solar disk. But the limb (edge) and far side of the sun are not quiet. There has been some CME activity from the other side observed in our coronagraphs (see tweets below). Most exciting was the eruption on the northwest limb early in the day on July 31, 2022, seen in the animated gif above. It was not directed toward Earth, but it was beautiful nonetheless. Will the action on the sun’s back side continue, as the sun rotates it into our view? We’ll be watching.
In 171 Å: at the center of the frame a brief, faint brightening is visible which caught my eye. Additionally, the loops above and to the left of the eruption oscillate and disappear. (Footage courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA science team. Footage processed with JHelioviewer.) pic.twitter.com/azyKxyBJu5
— Trestan Simon (@TrestanSimon) July 31, 2022
July 30 update: More filaments and prominences
Sun activity shows more filaments and prominences. The composite above shows just two prominences, but there have been several all around the solar limb (edge). Despite the sun’s low activity levels, it granted us these beautiful displays. The prominence on the southeast limb occurred today (July 30, 2022) at 00:38 UTC. It came from a sunspot region just appearing and not yet labeled. The prominence on the northwest limb is from a sunspot region that’s already moved out of sight. It exploded on July 29 at 12:39 UTC. LASCO C2 and C3 captured an interesting blast on the northwest limb on July 29, 2022, at 14:12 UTC and 16:06 UTC, respectively. See image below.
HERE COMES THE SUN…SPOT! A new sunspot group or active region has rotated into view and grown in size at the same time. Will it bring us some excitement? Inquiring minds want to know … ??? #solarstorm ?? We will have to wait and see. pic.twitter.com/287JEINxG3
— Dr. C. Alex Young (@TheSunToday) July 29, 2022
July 29 update: Here are 2 weeks of flares
Sun activity remains low. But the sun continues to produce low-level flares, mostly B flares. In the last two weeks, only two more powerful M flares have occurred. The still image and animation below both show the last two weeks of flares, filaments and prominences. In the animation, especially, you can see where they exploded day by day and, at the end, a complete map of flare distribution on the solar disk.
A beautiful prominence on the the sun’s southwest limb on July 28, 2022, at 21:42 UTC.
July 28 update: Filaments and prominences rule
Overall, sun activity remains low. But the past day has shown us several beautiful filaments on the sun’s disk and prominences around the limb (edge). See the video below, from Helioviewer, which shows a great looping prominence on the sun’s northwest limb. Also see the animation below, showing a prominence erupting off the southwest limb at 18:07 UTC on July 27. That event came from a sunspot region that had rotated out of view and lasted until 2:08 UTC on July 28.
July 27 update: SDO’s unique sun views
One of the twice-yearly eclipse seasons for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) started this week. The eclipses happen when Earth passes between the spacecraft and the sun. And we wanted to take the opportunity to show you some of the unique views captured by SDO at various wavelengths, as these eclipses are happening. That’s what you’re seeing in the images above and below. It’s the sun at range of extreme-ultraviolet wavelengths, being partially blotted out by the Earth, as seen from SDO this week. In these images, notice that boundary between each differently colored sun, and the outer edge (limb) of Earth, isn’t sharp. If it was the moon covering the sun (instead of the Earth), the boundary would be sharp because the moon doesn’t have an atmosphere. Earth’s atmosphere causes this “fuzzy” boundary. The amount of fuzziness changes with the wavelength being observed because different wavelengths of light pass through Earth’s atmosphere differently. For more about SDO’s eclipse season, see our July 26 update below.
BANG BANG! Almost M flare (C8.6) from just over the west limb of the Sun! Captured by SDO 131 angstrom channel at 15:38 UTC. ???? pic.twitter.com/5a7sp2HKWf
— Dr. C. Alex Young (@TheSunToday) July 26, 2022
July 26 update: SDO sees Earth photobomb the sun
Yesterday (July 25, 2022) was the start of an eclipse season for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The spacecraft’s geosynchronous orbit means that twice a year Earth moves between the spacecraft and the sun. It’s an eclipse, much like the eclipse we on Earth see when the moon moves between us and the sun. SDO’s twice-yearly eclipse season lasts for three weeks. It starts each day around local midnight at the ground station in Las Cruces, New Mexico, time (about 7 UTC). And the eclipses can last up to 72 minutes. Sun activity is very low at the moment. So this daily occurrence, for now, is a nice change of pace.
The Sun today!
SDO/HMI continuum shows the sun’s surface or photosphere in visible light, temp. range ~5,000-6,000 Kelvin (8500 – 10300 F)
It shows sunspots, these dark regions are concentrations of strong magnetic field. ???
— Dr. C. Alex Young (@TheSunToday) July 25, 2022
July 25 update: The prominence dance
Today’s top sun news: The image above shows a filament that had rotated to the sun’s limb, or edge, on July 24, 2022. SDO caught it dancing high in the corona. It is many Earths in size. By the way, when a filament reaches the limb (edge), its name changes to prominence. In terms of flares and CMEs, sun activity is still low. But the filaments and prominences across the sun bide their time for their chance to erupt and get in on the fun. If anything exciting happens right now, it will probably be due to one of those massive ropes of solar material and magnetic field.
Last 24 hours: Sun activity remains low, with 2 C class flares. The highest, a C1.8, occurred at 10:24 UTC on July 24. The sun has six labeled active regions.
Next 24 hours: The flare forecast is 55% chance for C flares, 5% for M flares, and 1% for X flares.
Next expected CME: There are no Earth-directed CMEs.
Current geomagnetic activity: Quiet.
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.
Bottom line: Sun activity for the week of July 25, 2022: The sun was mostly quiet, especially considering the action we had seen the week before. By July 31, however, we started seeing activity on the far side of the sun, which might rotate into our view in the coming week.