SpaceSun

Sun activity: Week of July 4, 2022

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The sun, seen as a large orange sphere with a mottled surface.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mario Rana in Hampton, Virginia, captured this filtered image on July 8, 2022, and wrote: “Hydrogen-alpha image of the sun showing various active regions, and some beautiful filaments and prominences.” Thank you, Mario!

July 10 update: Beautiful eruption!

Today’s top sun news: Sun activity is low, following the M flare on July 8. The sun produced a C8.5 flare yesterday (13:38 UTC on July 9) on its southwest limb, from active region AR3047. The eruption produced a beautiful ejection of material, as seen in the image above, which in turn created a CME. Given the location, this CME was not Earth-directed. It did produce a coronal wave – like a tsunami on the sun – often called an EIT wave. These waves are named for the EIT instrument on the SOHO spacecraft, which first recorded such waves in the late 1990s. An EIT wave indicates a shock wave created by the CME. The July 9 EIT wave created a surge in solar particles that was measured at Earth. The magnetic field of the sun comes away in a spiral that curves back to Earth. These particles follow the magnetic field along this curved path, which is why we see them at Earth.
Last 24 hours: The sun has produced 11 C-flares and 1 B-flare. The largest event was a C8.5 flare on July 9, from the old region AR3047 on the southwest limb.
Next 24 hours: The prediction on July 9 is 85% chance for C flares, 35% for M flares, and 1% for X flares.
Next expected CME: A CME was produced during the M-class flare on July 8. Most analyses show a near miss of Earth, but some show a glancing blow. Either option should happen to us by today or tomorrow (July 11). Either option may still provoke G1 (minor) geomagnetic activity.
Current geomagnetic activity: Quiet.

Red piece of a globe (the sun) with bright jet of material and a small Earth globe
A beautiful eruption of material from the sun’s southwest solar limb (edge) yesterday. This sun activity was associated with a C8.5 flare from sunspot region AR3047. Notice Earth, for scale. Image in 304-angstrom wavelength, via SDO and Helioviewer.

July 9 update: M-class flare!

The sun has been quiet. So it was fun yesterday to see sunspot region AR3053 erupt with a gorgeous long-lasting M2.6 flare. The M-flare took place at 20:07 UTC on July 8, 2022. AR3053 is now located on the northeast quarter of the sun’s disk, as viewed from Earth. And, for now, it’s the biggest sunspot region, and so remains the most promising for further activity. The July 8 blast provoked an R1 (minor) radio blackout that hit the West Coast of North America, over the Pacific Ocean, at 20:50 UTC on July 8. Afterwards, sun activity went back to being low, at C-class flare level. There are a couple of large coronal holes located now south of the sun’s equator. They might provide high speed solar wind. The sun on July 9 bears five active sunspot regions, with AR3055 being especially noticeable.

Jul 8, 2022 Sun activity M2.6 flare.
July 8, 2022: Sun activity granted us a beautiful M2.6 flare from sunspot region AR3053. Image via Helioviewer.

July 8 update: Minor geomagnetic storming

A high-speed solar wind from a coronal hole was expected, and arrived yesterday. The result was a minor (G1) geomagnetic storm on July 7. Earth’s magnetic field reached the storming threshold at 0:05 UTC (7 p.m. central) on July 7. There’s still some potential for a moderate storm (G2) later today, possibly bringing a good display of auroras. Send your aurora photos to our EarthSky Community Photos here.

July 7 update: Calm before the minor storm?

The possible arrival of high-speed solar wind from a coronal hole has not happened yet. When it does happen, it might bring a G1 (minor) geomagnetic storm. Stay tuned. Overall, sun activity remains low, although you wouldn’t think so by looking at today’s sun in extreme ultraviolet with SDO (see image below). There are bright active regions (sunspot groups) and several dark filaments, especially on the southeast part of the sun.

The sun as a yellow sphere with beautiful flares and filaments and a black background.
July 7, 2022. Sun activity is low but there are several bright active regions (sunspot regions) and some dark filaments, especially on the southeast part of the sun. Despite the quiet they all have the potential to provide some exciting eruptions in the form of flares or CMEs. AIA 171 angstrom image via NASA SDO.

July 6 update: Auroras expected again today

At this writing (11 UTC on July 6, 2022), we await the high-speed solar wind from a coronal hole expected to arrive today. As it strikes us, Earth might experience a G1 (minor) geomagnetic storm. That probably means auroral displays at northern latitudes. Stay tuned.

Map of the North Pole with a green circle on it.
July 6, 2022 High activity of auroras expected. Aurora forecast model from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Image via UAF

July 5 update: Aurora alert!

Possible auroras tomorrow! High-speed solar wind from a large coronal hole on the sun’s disk should reach Earth today into tomorrow (July 5 to 6, 2022). There’s a strong chance for this solar wind to produce a G1 (minor) geomagnetic storm, bringing more auroras to high latitudes.

July 5, 2022 Sun activity coronal holes on the solar disk.
July 5, 2022: Sun activity shows a large coronal hole north of the solar equator and one on the sun’s north pole. AIA 193 angstrom image via NASA SDO.

July 4 update: Aphelion and more auroras

A happy aphelion today, our farthest point from the sun! Earth’s magnetic field is unsettled after briefly jumping into another minor G1 geomagnetic storm providing more auroral displays. See some pics in the tweets below. We might see more geomagnetic activity when fast solar wind from a coronal hole reaches Earth on July 6. Sun activity remains low but its biggest sunspot region, AR3046, is now well onto the Earth-facing side of the sun. Though the largest active region on the sun, it does not have much potential for flaring at the moment.

Streaky aurora on one side of photo, lightning on the other.
Aurora and lightning caught last night (July 3, 2022) over Manitoba by @LachDonna on Twitter. See more in the tweet below.

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.

Submit your image here

Recent sun and auroras pics, from the EarthSky community

The sun, seen as a sectional yellowish sphere with a mottled surface.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Randall Kayfes in Tucson, Arizona, captured this hydrogen-alpha filtered view of the sun on July 10, 2022, and wrote “Solar gorgeousness – Seemingly endless solar filaments today – Seemingly something new every day. I sure do love solar maximums compared to our last round of minimums.” Thank you, Randall!
The sun, seen as a large yellow sphere with a small dark spots.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Steve Wilson in Salina, Kansas, captured this white-light filtered view of the sun on July 9, 2022, and wrote: “Was able to see quite a few sunspots today visually so I got my camera out … Canon t7i and got this photo of the sun and several sunspots. 1/2500 second at ISO of 1600. Straight out of the camera with no processing done.” Thank you, Steve!
The sun, seen as a large orange sphere with a mottled surface.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mario Rana in Hampton, Virginia, captured this filtered image on July 8, 2022, and wrote: “Hydrogen-alpha image of the sun showing various active regions, and some beautiful filaments and prominences.” Thank you, Mario!
The sun, seen as a large yellowish sphere with a small dark spots.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Randall Kayfes in Tucson, Arizona, captured this white-light filtered view of the sun on July 7, 2022, and wrote “AR3053 & 3052 are the most prominent features for us today.” Thank you, Randall!
Gray globe (the sun) with dotted line across it from top left to bottom right (the ISS moving across the sun)
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Isn’t this cool? Mario Rana in Hampton, Virginia, captured on July 4, 2022, the day of Earth’s aphelion (farthest point from the sun). It’s the International Space Station crossing the sun’s face. Thank you, Mario! Read about today’s sun activity here.
The sun, seen as a large orange sphere with a mottled surface.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Simon Capone in Perth, Western Australia, Australia, captured this hydrogen-alpha filtered image on July 3, 2022, and wrote: “It was nice having a few clear days after months of cloudy skies, so I took the opportunity to image the sun, while the going was good enough. Atmosphere was pretty unstable; however, I am happy enough with how it turned out.” Thank you, Simon!
Aurora borealis: Green and purple curtains of light with vertical filaments.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Don Driscoll in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, captured this aurora past midnight on July 2, 2022, and wrote: “I went to the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge to photograph the Andromeda galaxy with a star tracker and telephoto lens. I was not aware we were having a geomagnetic storm. Luckily, I brought all my camera gear. It was the best northern lights show I’ve seen since I was in Alaska 47 years ago.” Thank you, Don!
Aurora borealis: Green and purple curtains of light with vertical filaments.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Susan Jensen in Odessa, Washington, captured this aurora on July 2, 2022, and wrote: “I went out late last night intending to capture Milky Way shots but was distracted because my phone kept pinging with aurora alerts. For the first couple hours my shots showed low horizon color, but I was able to see them increase in height and movement just before 1 AM. I was lucky, this intensity lasted only minutes before they settled back down to a low ribbon of color along the horizon.” Thank you, Susan!

Bottom line: The sun’s overall activity this week picked up despite the calm we have seen in previous weeks. Sunspot region AR3053 erupted with a gorgeous long-lasting M2.6 flare. Then we saw sunspot region AR3056 produce two M flares and numerous C flares.

Why are east and west on the sun reversed?

Posted 
July 4, 2022
 in 
Space

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