Sun activity: A focus on 3 prominences
Sun activity January 27: A focus on 3 prominences
Today’s top news: Several big sunspot regions just rotated out of view. The spots we can see now are smaller, with less magnetic complexity. But, in the past day, we’ve seen beautiful, enormous prominences – mesmerizing large plasma ejections – surrounding the sun’s visible limb (edge). The long-lasting prominence on the sun’s northwest limb (edge) produced an M flare, possibly from an unnumbered active region in the northwest. Or could AR3192 – which just departed – be blasting from the sun’s far side? There was a notable prominence in the southwest, too, sending some of the sun’s plasma out into space. No Earth-bound CME was produced from either event. But in the sun’s southeast – the incoming side – an elongated prominence appears to have come from a sunspot just now rotating into view. A promise of action ahead?
Last 24 hours: Sun activity is moderate, with one M2.9 flare yesterday, blasted out by an unnumbered region on the northwest limb (edge) at 13:06 UTC on January 25. An R1 (minor) radio blackout affected the South Atlantic Ocean, touching South America’s east coast and Africa’s west coast. In addition, there were 17 C flares. Active region AR3202 was the player of the day with seven C flares out of the 17 of the period. The sun has eight labeled sunspot regions today.
Next 24 hours: The forecast is for a 99% chance for C flares, a 25% chance for M flares, and a 5% chance for X flares.
Next expected CME: No Earth-oriented CMEs observed in available coronagraph imagery.
Current geomagnetic activity: Quiet now. The geomagnetic field is expected to continue quiet to unsettled for the rest of the day today, January 27. Conditions will be back to quiet levels on January 28.
Sun activity January 26: AR3192 leaves with a double bang
Those two active sunspot regions we’ve been following – giant sunspot AR3190 and its buddy AR3192 – both have now rotated out of view. Giant AR3190 went out with a bang yesterday morning. And AR3192 followed suit late yesterday, with two M flares over several hours. So, sun activity is now considered moderate, but will likely head back to low, now that these two large active regions are gone. There are several possible new regions, seemingly peeking up over the east rim of the sun. They should come into view over the next few days, if they survive. But it’s the sun, our volatile local star! And it can and does surprise us. We’ll be watching.
Last 24 hours: Sun activity is moderate, with two M flares yesterday from AR3192. The first one (an M1.3 flare) happened at 17:01 UTC, and the second one (an M2.0) happened at 22:35 UTC, both on January 25, 2023. The two M flares produced R1 (minor) radio blackouts over the South Atlantic Ocean and South America respectively. There were nine flares total, two M and five C. Most came from AR3192. The sun has nine labeled sunspot regions today.
Sun activity January 25: Giant sunspot leaves with a bang!
As the cherry on the farewell cake, giant sunspot AR3190 – now about to be carried out of view by the sun’s rotation – released a long-duration M4.7 flare earlier today. Long-duration flares are typically associated with CMEs. But the blast of plasma released by AR3190 is not headed our way. The departure of AR3190 and AR3192 also includes a beautiful prominence show (see animation bellow), which is still going at this writing (11 UTC on January 25). Goodbye, giant sunspot AR3190! Will you decay during your trip around the far side of the sun? And will you come back stronger? We will be watching for your possible return, about two weeks from now. Read about what makes a giant sunspot.
Last 24 hours: Sun activity is moderate, with an M4.7 flare from the departing AR3190 at 10:11 UTC on January 25, 2023. There were 15 C flares, mostly from AR3190 and AR3192. The M flare created an R1 (minor) radio blackout over South Africa. There’s a newcomer region on the northeast limb (edge) numbered AR3201. There are nine labeled active regions on the Earth-facing side of the sun.
Sun activity January 24: A show of prominences
Today’s top news: Sun activity is low in terms of flaring. But several active regions are on the verge of rotating out of view, making it the perfect time to see a spectacular prominence show (see the animation below). The filaments associated with these regions are called prominences when viewed on the limb (edge) of the sun. These plasma ropes are putting on an amazing show. Meanwhile, most of the flaring is coming from AR3190 (the giant sunspot) and AR3192. This big set of sunspots is still visible from the ground with the proper eye protection. AR3190 still contains a delta spot, meaning it might give us bigger flares. At this location on the western limb (edge) a large flare could also produce a particle event that could be measured at Earth. That’s because particles travel along magnetic fields, and the sun’s spiraling magnetic field best aligns with Earth on its western limb (edge). Stay tuned! And, by the way, here’s what makes a giant sunspot.
Last 24 hours: Sun activity has been low in the past day. There were 13 C flares. The largest, a C6.6 flare from AR3194, peaked at 4:26 UTC on January 24. AR3194 was the main flare producer, with seven C flares. The sun has nine labeled active regions.
Sun activity January 23: See the giant sunspot before it goes
Sun activity is now moderate, with two M flares in the past day. That giant sunspot – AR3190 – will soon rotate out of view. Will the sun’s rotation carry it back into view, some days from now? It’s not unheard of for a region to grow while out of view, and come back larger and more active. AR3190 has been stable for some days now. Alone among the many spots peppering the sun now, it still has a delta classification. It’s what solar physicists call “complex,” meaning it has potential to produce good-sized flares (although its flaring hasn’t been spectacular). Find out more about what makes a sunspot big. We can expect to see more giant sunspots as we move toward solar maximum, around 2025. Elsewhere on the sun, although there are many spots, the overall size of the spots is relatively small. Sunspot numbers have just reached 3200 with AR3200 in the northeast. Both AR3192 and AR3194 have increased in magnetic complexity. AR3194 has grown, while AR3192 has decayed. Overall, solar activity is increasing, as we approach the peak of Solar Cycle 25. It’s now just a waiting game for the next big uptick in flaring. Stay tuned!
Last 24 hours: Sun activity is moderate, with two M flares and 22 C flares in the past day. The largest was an M1.6 flare from AR3194 at 16:49 UTC on January 22, 2023. AR3194 was the main flare producer with both M flares and 14 of the C flares. The sun has nine labeled active regions.
The past week’s sun
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! And to those of you who’ve already posted a photo to our community page, thank you.
Bottom line: Sun activity for January 27, 2023. The larger, more complex sunspot regions are gone behind the sun, but we’re seeing a show of prominences all around the sun’s visible limb (edge).