Sun activity: M flare in northwest, fiery action in southwest
Sun activity for June 2, 2023: M flare in northwest, fiery action in southwest
Today’s top news: It took a faint M1.5 flare in the northwest to keep activity levels at moderate today. But despite low flaring overall, we observed much activity on the Earth-viewed solar disk. The southwest quadrant continues to attract our attention, with fiery exploding filaments and prominences. Check out the imagery above. And look below to see a flare that was fired on the northwest limb (edge) at around 19 UTC, June 1. It was produced beyond the solar horizon, but was bright enough to still produce a flash. While we’ve seen fairly low flaring intensity and productivity over the past day, specialists are predicting action – notice the increase in chances for an M and X flare in the coming day. Stay tuned!
Last 24 hours: Activity is moderate, with one M flare and 14 C flares produced between 11 UTC yesterday and 11 UTC today. The one M flare of the period was an M1.5, which occurred at 2:41 UTC on June 2. It was produced by a newcomer sunspot that emerged from nowhere on the northwest quadrant, and will likely soon be numbered AR3324. The blast produced an R1 (minor) radio blackout that affected an area south of Japan over Okinawa Island. AR3323 was the day’s leading flare producer, with seven of the 15 flares. There are currently eight numbered active regions on the Earth-facing side of our star. The newcomer on the northwest quadrant is waiting to be numbered.
Next 24 hours: The forecast is a 99% chance for C flares, a 45% chance for M flares, and a 15% chance for X flares.
Next expected CME: We saw a filament eruption hurling some ejecta into space. It came from an area on the southeast quadrant in the vicinity of sunspot AR3321. It occurred at around 4:20 UTC on June 2. We could see that it was not Earth-bound, although we still await modelling and analysis. No Earth-directed coronal mass ejections (CMEs) were observed over the past day.
Current geomagnetic activity: Earth’s magnetic field is quiet at the time of this writing (11 UTC, June 1) but is expected to reach a G1 (minor) geomagnetic storm today as the fast solar wind from a large coronal hole reaches Earth. These conditions may be extended through June 3. Aurora watchers, stay alert! And don’t forget to share your beautiful photos with us.
Sun activity for June 1, 2023: Newcomer sunspot is today’s flare leader
The newcomer sunspot region, AR3323 in the sun’s southeast, rapidly became the lead flare producer of the past day. It has been blasting C flares since it was still beyond the solar limb (edge). As soon as it came into view, it released two M flares, including an M4.3 flare (the last M flare of May). AR3323 first appeared with a beta configuration and in less than a day went up to a beta-gamma magnetic configuration. Bigger sunspots tend to be more complex magnetically, and often get a beta, beta-gamma or even beta-gamma-delta classification. Speaking of which … the sunspot we mentioned yesterday in the sun’s southwest quadrant, AR3319 – which was blasting flares and sending ejecta into space – has now developed a delta region. So it now bears a beta-gamma-delta magnetic complexity, suggesting it now has the potential for more M flares and X flares. It is also now geoeffective, which means that any forthcoming coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from this region might affect Earth, bringing us auroral displays. Read on …
Last 24 hours: Sun activity is moderate. During the past day, between 11 UTC yesterday and 11 UTC today, there were three M flares and 13 C flares. The largest event of the day was from AR3323, an M4.3 at 22:52 UTC on May 31, 2023. Shortly after, an R1 (minor) radio blackout effected an area over Hawaii. AR3323 was the lead flare producer with 10 total flares during the period. Today, the sun has nine sunspot regions on its Earth-facing side.
Sun activity for May 31, 2023: Flares and prominences in the southwest
The southwest remains the focus of activity on our sun, producing prominences and exploding filaments. It appears that – after departing from the Earth-viewed sun on the southwest limb (edge) yesterday – sunspot AR3310 is continuing its recent uptick in activity from beyond the solar horizon. We saw a filament erupting from this area at 01:17 UTC on May 31. The southwest also saw the largest flare of the past day: an M1.4 from giant sunspot region AR3315 at 13:38 UTC on May 30. You can still see this sunspot from Earth, with the proper eye protection. Catch it before it rotates out of view in a few days! Get observing tips in the video below.
Last 24 hours: Sun activity remains at moderate, with two M flares and 14 C flares produced between 11 UTC yesterday and 11 UTC today. As mentioned above, the largest flare was an M1.4 from AR3315 at 13:38 UTC on May 30. It produced an R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Atlantic Ocean on the northwest coast of Africa. The second M flare of the period was an M1.3 by an as-yet-unnumbered active region in the southeast. It was fired at 4:38 UTC on May 31, producing an R1 (minor) blackout over Vietnam. We also saw a filament erupt on the northwest quadrant at 21:09 UTC on May 30. There is a newcomer sunspot region, AR3220, near the northeast limb (edge). There are currently nine sunspot regions on the Earth-facing side of our sun.
Sun activity for May 30, 2023: Gentle giant sunspot now active as it departs
Yes, AR3315 is the biggest active region on the sun now. Check out the video below with some tips on how to see it. But it’s not the only giant sunspot visible now. Gentle giant AR3310 is now departing over the sun’s southwest limb (edge). As it makes its exit from the sun’s Earth-facing side, it has become the lead flare producer of the past day. Note that AR3310 is made of a single sunspot, while the largest sunspot region, AR3315, is multiple spots. Plus AR3315 has lost its delta region (a classification indicating possible pending M and X flare production). But AR3315 remains the most magnetically complex region with a beta-gamma configuration. You might see departing region AR3310, and you can certainly see AR3315, from the ground! Magnification is not required, but the correct eye protection is. Wear eclipse or solar viewing glasses and give it a try! For a better view you can use solar binoculars (several people at EarthSky’s sun team use these).
Last 24 hours: As we say goodbye to AR3310, four new sunspots have arrived on our sun. AR3317 and AR3318 are on the northwest quadrant, and AR3319 emerged from seemingly nowhere just south of the central meridian. Plus, we can now see AR3320 on the southeast limb (edge). There are two new large coronal holes that adorn our sun today, too: one on the northeast quadrant, and a larger one on the southeast. This all suggests that action is coming our way. Two M flares in the past day have brought sun activity back to moderate. There were 16 flares produced between 11 UTC yesterday and 11 UTC today: 14 C flares, an M1.2, and an M1.3. Both Ms were from departing sunspot region AR3310. The M1.2 was fired at 07:45 UTC, and the slightly larger M1.3 at 10:15 UTC, both on May 30. Having long been a stable gentle giant, AR3110 became the lead producer with six flares. After the M flares, R1 (minor) radio blackouts affected areas over the Persian Gulf and Africa respectively. AR3315, the current largest and most complex region, only produced three C flares. The sun today has eight numbered active regions.
Sun activity for May 29, 2023: The big sunspot region is getting bigger
The sunspots continue to stir. And that big sunspot region – AR3315 – has grown! You could now line up about 10 Earths back-to-back from one end of the sunspot to the other. This means the region is still quite visible from the ground with the proper viewing equipment. Just be sure to protect your eyes. Tips for observing the sun safely here. And, yes, your eclipse glasses are enough to let you see it. Want to get a better look? Switch to solar binoculars (several people at EarthSky’s sun team use these). Overall, sun activity is low now. But there’s always hope for more action. AR3315 has maintained its delta regions (a sign of a potential for increasing flaring). But AR3316 has lost its delta. Finally, keep an eye on the sun’s eastern limb (edge)! Four of the C flares of the past day came from either the northeast or southeast. That’s the side of the sun rotating into view. So some of the regions on the sun’s far side – soon to appear – might provide some sun fun. Stay tuned!
Last 24 hours: Sun activity is low with 11 C flares. The largest event, a C2.3, at 7:15 UTC on May 28, 2023 from a region just over the limb (edge) in the northeast. Today, the sun has seven sunspot regions.
The sun in recent days
More sun images from our community
We invite you all to send us your beautiful recent photos of sunspots and auroras. Naturally, 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 June 2, 2023, is moderate. Fiery action continues in the southwest while we await a minor geomagnetic storm.