Sun activity: Week of June 6, 2022

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June 12 update: Sun activity low after slight increase

Today’s sun news: AR3030 rotated further into view. A small new region, AR3031, developed in the southeast. Overall sun activity is back to low.
Last 24 hours: Sun activity has decreased with 5 flares from AR3030, of which four were C-class flares and one B-class.
Next 24 hours: The forecast today is for a 60% chance for C flares, 10% for M flares, and 1% for X flares.
Next expected CME: There are no Earth-directed CMEs. Further analysis shows no inbound CME.
Current geomagnetic activity: Quiet.

June 11 update: CME coming our way

Today’s sun news: A filament around the visible center of the sun (south of solar equator, west of central meridian) blasted out a minor CME on June 10, 2022. It is Earth-directed, expected by June 13. Newly labeled sunspot region AR3030 has increased in both size and magnetic complexity since yesterday. AR3030 produced an M1.2-class flare yesterday (June 10, 2022) at around 10:30 UTC. Before that, the most recent M-flare – a stronger class of flare than B- or C-flares – was on May 25. The June 10 M1.2-flare provoked a minor R1 radio blackout over Africa. A coronal hole appeared north of the solar equator, east of the central meridian. Finally, on the sun’s far side, there were massive blasts yesterday from AR3016 and AR3018. Both are still behind the sun’s southeast limb (edge).

June 10, 2022 Sun activity showing M class flare.
A composite of the sun activity for yesterday, June 10, 2022, showing an M-class flare, a coronal hole and a filament producing an earthbound CME. AIA 193 angstrom image via SDO.
Diagram of sun with wide swaths of color coming off it in a spiral pattern.
NASA model of June 10, 2022, coronal mass ejection (CME), which was produced by a filament toward the center of the visible sun. According to this model, a component of the CME might reach Earth by June 13, 2022. Image via

June 10 update: New sunspot region AR3030

The sunspot region labeled AR3030 has now come around from the sun’s far side to the Earth-facing side of the sun. Is it the return of a former active region, AR3014, the biggest of Solar Cycle 25 so far? We last saw AR3014 on May 27, 2022, as the sun’s rotation was carrying it out of view. It was in the company of another, smaller region, AR3017. Now it’s uncertain whether we’re seeing AR3014 again, possibly regrouped with AR3017.

June 10, 2022 Sun magnetogram showing AR3030.
This is a magnetogram – a depiction of magnetic fields on the sun – for June 10, 2020. It shows today’s sun activity and zooms in on new sunspot region AR3030 on the sun’s northeast limb (edge). Image via SDO.

June 9 update: A spotless sun yesterday

Within the past 24 hours, the sun had its first spotless day (a partial day) in 2022. A spotless sun is a fairly rare occurrence on the approach to solar maximum, the highest point in the current solar cycle (Solar Cycle 25), expected around the middle of this decade. After being spotless, a sunspot group with about 20 small spots emerged in a circle, just east of sun center in the sun’s southern hemisphere. This region is now labeled AR3029. In the meantime, the STEREO spacecraft also sees a bright region just over the northeast limb (edge) of the sun.

June 9, 2022 New sunspot AR3029
June 9, 2022 Sun activity today new sunspot group AR3029 with an unusual “C” shape, growing rapidly. Magnetogram image via SDO.

June 8 update: Sunspot regions rotating into view

The solar disk is almost spotless, with sun activity at its lowest levels in weeks. The individual sunspots in the two Earth-facing sunspot regions are barely visible. These regions are currently decaying and may soon be completely gone. But incoming regions on the east limb (edge) – now rotating into view – look promising. The one in the northeast (upper left of image above) could be related to two previous active sunspot regions – AR3014 and AR3017 – which rotated out of view 10 days or so ago. And the one in the southeast (lower left of image above) could be related to AR3018, which also left the Earth-facing part of the sun some days back.

gold globe (the sun) with two white circles on the left (bright areas on the eastern limb or edge)
This is a June 8, 2022, inage of the sun. The bright patches circled in white, come from hotter areas over the incoming sunspots. Will this bring more sun activity? We’ll see. AIA 171 angstrom image via SDO.

June 7 update: Lots of filaments and prominences

The sun is still quiet. Its disk appears almost spotless, with just four tiny active regions. But this is just the sun taking a breather. The overall sunspot number over the past month is still at an all-time high for this point in the current sunspot cycle (Solar Cycle 25). The current level of sunspots is far surpassing NOAA’s official predictions for this point in the cycle. For more about this, see the tweet below. And, while we wait for more sunspots to form and rotate into view, the sun is covered with prominences and filaments. The potential eruption of these structures provides a possible source for CMEs, with the potential to impact Earth and cause future auroral displays.

Red globe (the sun) with a lot of bumpy edges (prominences)
June 7, 2022, image of sun activity, showing several filaments (aka prominences when viewed on the limb – the edge – of the sun). These are ropes of solar material and magnetic fields, arcing up from the visible surface of the sun. When they erupt, they can produce solar flares and CMEs. The most active limb (edge) of the sun is currently the northeast, which soon will rotate into better view. AIA 304 angstrom image via SDO.

June 6 update: CME arrived today

The CME glancing blow from the June 1 filament eruption didn’t strike yesterday as expected. But it’s here now. It brushed Earth’s magnetic field at approximately 10 UTC today (6 a.m. EDT on June 6, 2022). What does it mean for aurora-watchers? Probably nothing, as no geomagnetic storm has occurred. Meanwhile, overall activity on the sun itself remains very low.

A week of sun activity: May 19 to 26

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.

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Recent sun photos from EarthSky’s community

The sun, seen as a large yellow sphere with numerous dark patches.
View at EarthSky Community Photos | Mario Rana in Hampton, Virginia, captured this filtered view of the sun on June 12, 2022, and wrote: “Hydrogen-alpha image of the sun showing sunspot regions AR3030 and AR3031.” Thank you, Mario!
Two sectional yellow spheres, representing a sun composite.
View at EarthSky Community Photos | David Hoskin in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, made this composite image on June 12, 2022, and wrote “Sunspot group AR3030 imaged in white light (L) and hydrogen alpha (R). Although a M-class solar flare erupted from AR3030 on June 11, its magnetic field is now stable so there is little chance of another solar flare today (June 12). The white light image shows the umbra and penumbra of sunspots as well as an extensive area of faculae. Seeing was only fair so I was not able to resolve convection cells. The hydrogen alpha image (inverted to increase surface contrast) shows sunspot group AR3030 and several filaments.” Thank you, David!
The sun, seen as part of a gray sphere with three smallish dark patches.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Victor Rogus in Sedona, Arizona, captured this filtered closeup of the sun on June 10, 2022, and wrote: “A new sunspot emerging over the sun’s northeastern limb exploded this morning (June 10th @ 10:54 UT), producing a long-duration M1-class solar flare. Radiation from the flare caused a minor shortwave radio blackout over Africa.” Thank you, Victor!
Closeup of the sun, yellow with numerous dark patches and a flame-like swirl high above its top.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mario Rana in Hampton, Virginia, captured this filtered closeup of the sun on June 8, 2022, and wrote: “Hydrogen-alpha image of the sun showing a beautiful detached prominence.” Thank you, Mario!

Bottom line: June 12, 2022: Sun activity back to low. A small new region developed in the southeast but overall things are quiet. Further study shows no expected CMEs.

Why are east and west on the sun reversed?

June 6, 2022

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