SpaceSun

Sun activity: Week of June 27, 2022

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Aurora on horizon.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Susan Jensen in Odessa, Washington, caught this aurora just as the geomagnetic storm began early Saturday morning, July 2, 2022. She 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 of hours, my shots showed low horizon color, but I was able to see them increase in height and movement just before 1 a.m.. 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! Read more about sun activity here.

July 3 update: Calm again after auroral display

Today’s top sun news:Earth’s magnetic field is calm again after yesterday’s minor geomagnetic storm left us with gorgeous auroral displays. See some pics in the tweets below. In the meantime, on the sun itself, that big newcomer sunspot – now labeled 3046 – has been carried by the sun’s rotation farther into view. And SpaceWeather.com is reporting that, toward the end of June, NASA’s AIM spacecraft detected a sharp increase in the frequency of noctilucent clouds, aka night-shining clouds. It’s the most we’ve seen in 15 years, SpaceWeather said.
Last 24 hours: Sun activity is low. We’ve seen 10 B-class flares in the past day.
Next 24 hours: Today, there’s a 25% chance for C-flares, 1% chance for M-flares, and 1% for X-flares.
Next expected CME: No Earth-directed CMEs are reported.
Current geomagnetic activity: Quiet.

July 2 update: Auroras dip into northern U.S.

Yesterday’s expected CME did not directly hit Earth’s magnetic field. But the close-passing CME provoked a minor (G1 level) geomagnetic storm. The threshold was reached at 6 UTC (2 a.m. EDT) on July 2, 2022. Auroras have been reported as far south as Wisconsin and North Dakota in the U.S. At the time of this writing (10 UTC, or 6 a.m. EDT), the disturbance is expected to last for about 8 more hours.

July 2, 2022 Aurora forecast model.
Sun activity is still low, but a CME has brushed past us. This aurora forecast model is as of 7:11 UTC (3:11 a.m. EDT) on July 2, 2022. The storm is expected to last about half a day. Image via NOAA/SWPC.
July 2, 2022 Aurora display as seen in Wisconsin.
The July 2, 2022, minor geomagnetic storm made possible this auroral display, caught by Corinne @@AuroraNorthWI in Wisconsin.

July 1 update: Big new sunspot has come into view

Today we start the second half of 2022. And sun activity through the first half of 2022 has offered up some glorious events. For example, we had AR3014, the biggest sunspot region of Solar Cycle 25, so far. In recent days, the sun has been quiet … and it’s still quiet. But, as of today, we have a newcomer sunspot region, still unlabeled, on the sun’s northeast limb (edge). It arrived – with a beautiful prominence and promises of more sun activity – at 11:08 UTC on June 30, 2022.

July 1, 2022. A large sun spot on the northeast limb.
July 1, 2022. A large newcomer sun spot region on the northeast limb, not labeled yet arriving with prominences and promises of sun activity. HMI Image via NASA SDO.

June 30 update: Sunspot regions emerge

Sun activity is still low. Sunspot regions AR3042, AR3043 and AR3044 have emerged on the solar disk visible from the Earth. And we’ve seen them growing to become magnetic active regions and finally show an umbra and penumbra. Meanwhile, sunspot region AR3041 departed due to the sun’s rotation, among beautiful prominences on the sun’s northwest limb (edge).

June 29 update: SDO sees a partial eclipse from space

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) – a key tool for studying the sun – was down last week due to earthly power outage (read more with the June 28 update, below). But it’s back just in time to witness a partial solar eclipse, seen from space – but not from Earth – on June 29, 2022. In other words, as seen from SDO’s orbit, the space observatory occasionally sees the moon pass in front of the sun. Lovely! This time, at the peak of the eclipse, the moon covered 67% of the sun.

Only the lower part of the sun and the sides are visible. The rest is covered by a black circle.
June 29, 2022: Partial solar eclipse as seen from AIA instrument 171 angstrom filter aboard SDO. Image via SDO. View animation.
June 29, 2022: 4 images show the sun. The 1st one shows all the sun, the 2nd has a shadow on the right side, the 3rd has a shadow that covers almost all its surface and the last one covers the left side.
June 29, 2022: Composite of a partial solar eclipse seen by SDO. AIA 171 angstrom filter. Image via SDO.

June 28 sun activity update: SDO is back!

Sun activity is still low. But solar physicists all around the globe are happy because the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is back! SDO data had been unavailable since June 21, 2022, due to power outages at the main data center at Stanford University. And SDO was missed. This spacecraft – launched in 2010 – continuously records high-definition views of the sun’s atmosphere in extremely high detail. For many examples of images of today’s sun, visit SDO’s realtime page. Note: At this writing, the message about SDO being down is still on this page. But the images are current! By the way, while SDO was down, solar physicists had to consult other sources of information. One of these tools, for instance, is the Synoptic map, which is also very cool. See an example below.
Last 24 hours: Sun activity has stayed very low with only one C1.5 flare at 18:30 UTC on June 27. The rest, more than 18 flares, are all in the B-class range.

Gold globe (the sun) with text Welcome back SDO!
Sun activity: The solar corona observed by SDO in 171 angstroms on June 28, 2022. Image via SDO.
Big circle with hand-drawn notations and text around it.
June 27, 2022, solar synoptic map showing sun activity that SWPC forecasters see on the solar disk. Every day, SWPC forecasters create this drawing of features on the solar disk, noting features such as sunspot (active) regions, coronal holes, filaments, plages, and prominences. See the SWPC Synoptic map here. Image via NOAA SWPC.

June 27 sun activity update: Mystery CME

The sun produced a beautiful CME off the southwest on June 26, 2022. Currently, whether or not it came from the front side or back side of the sun is a bit of a mystery. Because of the lack of SDO data, space weather analysts are not completely sure of its origin. More than likely, it’s a far-side event. But further analysis is still underway. Otherwise, low overall sun activity continues. Two C-class flares came from AR3040. This is the only active region currently on the solar disk. It is near the sun’s disk center so any CMEs it might produce would most likely be Earth-directed. But its activity level is very low. And are still without SDO data, at the time of this writing.

Puffy coronal mass ejection, cloudy curved shape, coming of the bottom right of the sun's disk.
The SOHO LASCO C2 coronagraph captured a beautiful CME on the southwest of the sun on June 26, 2022. We currently don’t know if this sun activity came from the front or back side of the sun because of the lack of SDO imagery. Image via SOHO/LASCO.
Blue globe (the sun) with numbering of the three sunspot groups on the sun
A full sun image captured by the SWAP instrument from the ESA Proba-2 spacecraft taken June 27, 2022. The forecast today is for a 50% chance for C flares, 10% for M flares, and 1% for X flares. Image via SWAP and solarmonitor.

June 26 sun activity update: Minor geomagnetic storm

Low sun activity continues. Earth experienced a brief G1 geomagnetic storm (minor) caused by the impact of high speed solar wind from a coronal hole. The threshold for G1 was reached at 02:02 UTC on June 26. The storm lasted only a few hours.

Blue globe (the sun) with numbering of the three sunspot groups on the sun
A full sun image captured by the SWAP instrument from the ESA Proba2 spacecraft taken June 26, 2022. The forecast for sun activity today is a 60% chance for C-flares, 10% for M flares, and 1% for X-flares. Image via SWAP and solarmonitor.

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

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!
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 1, 2022, and wrote: “Hydrogen-alpha image of the sun showing new sunspot region AR3046 on the northeast limb.” Thank you, Mario!
The sun, seen as a large yellow sphere with little dark spots.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Radu Anghel in Romania captured this filtered image on July 1, 2022, and wrote: “The sun in the first day of July. You can see the the old region 3040 moving away and a brand new active region just emerging from the east limb of the Sun (AR3046, probably).” Thank you, Radu!
Large, fiery setting sun with clouds and small dark spots.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Raúl Cortés in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, captured this rising sun on June 27, 2022. Active region 3040 is plainly visible in this image, as well as a flattening of the solar disc due to atmospheric refraction. Thank you, Raúl!
Aurora borealis: Green and purple curtains of light with vertical filaments.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Marta Ketter at Yellowstone National Park captured this aurora on June 26, 2022, and wrote: “While taking pictures of the Milky Way at YNP we were surprised to see the Northern Lights!” Thank you, Marta!

Bottom line: The sun stays fairly calm this week with some new sunspots emerging and moving farther into view by the end of the week. At the end of the week, a minor geomagnetic storm on July 2 and July 3 allowed for a gorgeous auroral display!

Why are east and west on the sun reversed?

Posted 
June 27, 2022
 in 
Space

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