Sun activity: Week of May 30, 2022

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The sun, seen as a large yellow sphere with small dark spots.
Today’s sun activity with the most active regions labeled (3 UTC on June 6, 2022). Original image, without labels, via NASA SDO. Today’s sun is posted by Armando Caussade. Why are east and west on the sun reversed?

June 5 update: CME glancing blow today?

Today’s top sun news: A CME glancing blow from the June 1 filament eruption is expected today, June 5, 2022. (See the tweet below.) The time of arrival is 18 UTC (2 p.m. EDT), plus or minus about 7 hours. In other words, the CME could reach us earlier or later. And it might miss us altogether. But it might brush us, giving us active geomagnetic conditions through the rest of June 5 and into June 6. A geomagnetic storm is not predicted, but CMEs can always surprise us. What does it mean for aurora-watchers? We might have enhanced auroral activity at higher latitudes, with the possibility of auroras popping up at slightly lower latitudes. Clear skies and fingers crossed!
Last 24 hours: Very low sun activity continues. There have been only B-class flares (“too small to harm Earth” on the Stanford scale). None of the six sunspot regions are very active. AR3028 and AR2039 are newly formed regions and three others are about to rotate out of view.
Next 24 hours:  The forecast today is for a 50% chance for C flares, 5% for M flares, and 1% for X flares.
Next expected CME:  Besides today’s possible glancing blow there are no other Earth-directed CMEs.
Current geomagnetic activity: Quiet.

June 4 update: The sun is quiet

The sun is still quiet. There have been only B-class flares (“too small to harm Earth” on the Stanford scale). We’ve seen five flares, the largest B8.14 from sunspot region AR3024. Sunspot region AR3026 is close to disappearing on the northwest limb (edge) of the sun, being carried out by the sun rotation.

Jun 4, 2022. Composite of the sun in several AIA wave lengths.
June 4, 2022. The sun activity remains low. This is a composite image of the sun, showing it at various wavelengths. Image via SDO.

June 3 update: Double filaments with double CMEs

Two beautiful filament eruptions produced CMEs yesterday. One eruption was from the southeast limb and a nearly simultaneous eruption came from the southwest disk. Neither of the CMEs are Earth-directed. The southeast eruption also produced a C1.2 flare. Otherwise, sun activity is very low.

June 2 sun activity update: AR3027 a mixed-up sunspot

Sunspot region AR3027 is mixed up, when it comes to its magnetism. Hale’s law tells us that for Solar Cycle 25, the magnetic field of sunspots in the sun’s southern hemisphere should lead with negative and end with positive (negative on the right, and positive on the left). Sunspots in the northern hemisphere are the opposite of that, positive on the right and negative on the left. All the current sunspots follow this law … except one. The newly formed sunspot region, AR3027, is backward. This has been known to happen, but it is very uncommon. What does it mean? Mixed-up sunspots can often mean that they have much greater potential to explode producing solar flares and CMEs. We’ll wait and see if anything exciting happens.

Square image with red and yellow spots and blue and green spots showing different magnetic fields on a small piece of the sun.
Newly formed sunspot group AR3027, from June 2, 2022, has its magnetic fields reversed according to Hale’s Law. Image via SDO/HMI.

June 1 update: Parker Solar Probe’s halfway point

Parker Solar Probe – first spacecraft to touch the sun, launched in 2018 – today marks the halfway point in its seven-year mission. Today, Parker Solar Probe makes its 12th close approach to the sun (5.7 million miles or 9.2 million km). In all, the mission will make 24 close approaches. Its next close approach is September 6, 2022. Its absolute closest approach will come in December 2024, when it’ll sweep within 4 million miles (6.2 million km) of the solar surface at speeds topping 430,000 miles per hour (692,000 km/h), closer than any other spacecraft has ever come to our local star. Follow Parker Solar Probe.

May 31 update: Sunspots developing on sun’s far side

Sun activity has stayed at very low levels in recent days. But we might begin to see an increase in a few days. That’s because three sunspot regions are developing on the far side of the sun. This sun activity is seen through the use of helioseismology, a technique that uses propagating sound waves inside the sun. Just as geologists study seismic waves from earthquakes, so solar physicists study these sound waves to understand what we cannot see. Flaring continues mostly at the B-class level. Activity has been scattered across the disk, coming from AR3023, AR3024, and AR3025. The largest event, C1.5, came from over the limb (behind the edge of the visible disk), from the now-departed AR3019.

A rectangle with red and black with yellow circles (showing sunspots on the back side of the sun).
This is a May 31, 2022, image showing sun activity on the back side of our sun. The 3 yellow circles show developing sunspot regions. The images are obtained using helioseismology, created with data from the SDO HMI instrument.

May 30 update: A very quiet sun

The sun has reached an almost eerie calm after so many weeks of exciting sun activity. We are patiently waiting for the action to pick up. We know it will.
Solar flaring is at very low levels. There are still only three numbered sunspot groups visible. AR3021 is gone and has been replaced with a newly emerging region near the northwest limb, AR3025. AR3023 and AR3024 remain stable and very quiet. We’ve seen almost exclusively B-class flares with a C1.4 flare from AR3023 and a C1.5 flare from the northwest limb near where AR3019 used to be. No CME expected at this time. Geomagnetic activity is quiet.

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.

Submit your image here

View community photos here

Recent sun photos from EarthSky’s community

Large, fiery setting sun with small dark spots.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Raúl Cortés in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, captured this setting sun on May 30, 2022, and wrote: “It was a beautiful sunset in Monterrey, today May 30, 2022. Sunspot regions AR3023 and AR3024 can be seen on this photo.” Thank you, Raúl!
Giant orange sphere suspended in a black background.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mario Rana in Hampton, Virginia, captured this stunning hydrogen-alpha image of the sun on May 28, 2022, and wrote: “After many cloudy days the sun finally came out. A few sunspots are visible including AR3023. There are also some nice prominences.” Thank you, Mario!

Bottom line: June 4, 2022: Sun activity continues at low levels. Solar Cycle 25 looks similar to Solar Cycle 24. But this solar cycle is only beginning; activity will pick up over the next months and years.

Why are east and west on the sun reversed?

May 30, 2022

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