Sun activity: Giant X-flare, then quiet
April 24: Sun activity mostly quiet, with 2 filament eruptions
This video from Sunday, April 24, 2022, shows minor, but beautiful, sun activity.
SOHO LASCO C2 observed two CMEs caused by recent filament eruptions. The first CME is from behind the southeast limb eruption and the second is from Earth facing solar disk and it appears to be mostly southwest direction. Glancing blow is possible on April 27th. pic.twitter.com/DWez8WbbcN
— Edward.Vijayakumar (@edwanx) April 24, 2022
A filament eruption took place on the sun’s southeast limb. Then another erupted on the southwest of the sun. Both produced coronal mass ejections (CMEs). As described in the tweet above by Edward.Vijayakumar (@edwanx), the southwest eruption might deliver a glancing blow to Earth around April 27.
Helioviewer uploaded this short video. You can see the April 24 filament eruption on the sun’s southwest limb:
Meanwhile, two large and prominent active regions on the sun – AR2993 and AR2994 – now are apparently decaying magnetically. Both are still facing Earth, but there’s now only a slight chance of an M-flare greater than M5 with only six C-flares over the past 24-hours.
A bright newcomer, a sunspot region possibly to be called AR2999, is just coming into view at the sun’s southeast limb. Is this new region the returning sunspots AR2978 and AR2981, only now rotating back toward Earth’s direction? We can’t be certain but – counting the days since those two regions rotated out of sight – chances are that this newcomer shares a common heritage with them. It’s worth keeping an eye on this area.
April 23: Earth in sunspots’ firing range
Sunspot regions AR2993 and AR2994 are pointing directly toward us on their trip west across the sun. Any CME eruptions at this point might be earthbound (they could still miss us). Moderate flare activity has continued and a good chance for M-flare activity and some chance for X-flare still exist. In the past 24 hours, the regions have produced one M3.4 flare.
An M3.4 flare from AR2993 near disk center. Waiting for more coronagraph data but doesn’t look like there is a CME. ? pic.twitter.com/i3IjAerdAC
— Dr. C. Alex Young (@TheSunToday) April 22, 2022
The regions are large, but this is not the only determining factor for activity. Magnetic complexity – how different areas of the positive and negative magnetic fields are mixed up – is a strong indication of flare and CME potential.
Big sunspot regions AR12993-12995 are in Earth strike zone, but they have so far failed to nurture decent CMEs. Since the M9.6 flare, flares in these regions have not been associated with a CME. See the movie of difference images and locate large-scale eruptions. pic.twitter.com/pZkb98wm5C
— Halo CME (@halocme) April 23, 2022
April 22: Sun activity quieted for a bit
As of this writing (6 a.m. central, April 22), X-ray levels are relatively low coming from the Earth-facing sunspot regions. The most recent moderate-sized flare was an M1.1 from AR2994. We did see a big eruption from the other side of the sun at the end of April 21. It was probably from our old friend AR2992.
Big eruption was seen behind the southwest limb, likely from sunspot region AR2992. pic.twitter.com/tIan8FMRKj
— Edward.Vijayakumar (@edwanx) April 22, 2022
Video of sun activity: April 13 to 21
Busy and exciting week! April 13 to April 20, 2022 – 2 X-class flares (X2.2 largest so far for cycle 25), 14 M-flares (1 almost X – M9.6) ,and 12+ non-Earth-directed CMEs. Two regions on the sun were the major players. SDO 304/171/131/193 ???? What’s next? ?? pic.twitter.com/a6MjUfINfI
— Dr. C. Alex Young (@TheSunToday) April 22, 2022
April 21: Almost X-flare from AR2993
The X2.2 flare from AR2992 is still stealing the show. As of April 21, 2022, it still stands as the strongest X flare of this solar cycle and it is the strongest since the X8.2 from September 2017. The short-duration eruption launched a powerful CME which, due to AR2992 having rotated out of sight on the southwest limb, is not earthbound. The region continued with some additional M-flare activity.
THE AMAZING SUNSPOT DYNAMICS: two videos: the first showing the motions of the sunspots which is the cause of their high activity levels and then following the corresponding changes in the magnetic loops high above them in the corona at about 700,000K. Much more to come I suspect pic.twitter.com/5onwUEYoNs
— Keith Strong (@drkstrong) April 21, 2022
And so it begins! An almost X, M9.6 from AR2993! Let the rumbles begin and lots more action from the AR2993/2994 complex. ???? pic.twitter.com/zP9gDqtwD5
— Dr. C. Alex Young (@TheSunToday) April 21, 2022
April 20: Largest X-flare so far
Sunspot region AR2992 has just disappeared behind the sun’s southwest limb (edge). But it’s still extremely active! It released an X-flare at 5:40 UTC on April 20, 2022. This is the largest flare of Solar Cycle 25 so far, measuring X2.25.
The sunspot group had also blasted out an M7.3 flare with a filament eruption 4 hours earlier at 1:36 UTC on April 20.
Because the X2.25 and M7.3 flares were partly blocked by the sun, they were larger than what was measured here at Earth. Both events caused radio blackouts over Asia. The M-flare was an R1 (minor) and the X-flare an R3 on NOAA’s scale. AR2992 was busy with two additional M-flares and numerous C-flares before the big blast. There could still be more to come.
April 19: Newly arrived big sunspot groups
The regions to watch are AR2993 and AR2994, which have just now come into view on the northeast side of the sun. The surface area of these big spot regions is at least five Earths in size. AR2993 gave us a smaller M1.0-class flare at 5 UTC. Together these two sunspot groups have three large spots with a combined 19 spots total.
This sunspot complex (AR2993/2994) has a lot of potential. Over the day there is a 95% chance of more C-class flares, a 60% chance of another M flare, and a 20% chance of an X flare. This sunspot group is big but we will most certainly see many much larger sunspots as we approach the solar maximum around 2025.
The departing region AR2992 – now rotating out of view – is also worth mentioning. It seems to have finished with an M1.9 flare. Maybe it will have a little power left before it leaves our view.
April 18: Sun activity due to ramp up?
Everybody is talking about the X-flare the sun produced yesterday (April 17, 2022). Meanwhile, the sun continues to be active. Last night, the sun gave us an M-flare (class M 4.46) coming from sunspot AR2992 close to the limb of the sun, on the southwest edge. Because of its position, the resulting CME won’t be Earth-bound. The event occurred at 22:30 UTC.
In the image below … see the big sunspots coming into view on the northeast (upper left) of the sun? They’re expected to produce some great activity this week!
Mflare ? goodbye – AR2993 saying farewell to AR2992 with an M1.1 flare! And a little short wave radio blackout to boot. What is in store from AR2993 moving forward? ??? pic.twitter.com/siLeAwy3wm
— Dr. C. Alex Young (@TheSunToday) April 18, 2022
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Bottom line: Sun activity for the week of April 18 to 24, 2022. We had a record-breaking X-flare this week. Then things got quiet.