Sun activity: Week of April 26, 2022

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Quarter red globe (the sun) with bright patches (sunspots) and orange-yellow explosions.
The beautiful eruption of material just after the peak of the April 30, 2022 X1.1 solar flare by SDO 304 angstroms. Sun activity image via SDO.

May 1 update: Sun activity back to low

After yesterday’s X-flare and M-flares, sun activity has settled down. The sun’s rotation has carried AR2994 – the region that produced all the activity – around to the back side of the sun, the side we don’t see from Earth. Slightly elevated geomagnetic activity is expected from high-speed solar wind from May 1 to May 2. The grazing impact from an April 29 CME could keep the geomagnetic field unsettled into May 3.

The sun, seen as a large yellow sphere with small dark spots.
Today’s sun with the most active regions labeled (2 UTC on May 2, 2022). View original image, without labels, via NASA SDO. Today’s sun is posted by Armando Caussade.

April 30 update: X-flare!

Departing sunspot region AR2994 emitted an X-flare – the biggest sort of flare – at 13:47 UTC on Saturday, April 30, 2022. Looking at the X-ray emission was like seeing a flare crescendo, after a rise in intensity. This region first emitted an M1.4-flare, then an M4.8, then – bam! – an X1.1.

Any CMEs will most likely not be Earth-directed.

Over the past 24 hours, then, AR2994 and AR2993 have produced 5 M-flares and an X-flare.

Meanwhile, an M1.2 flare from spotless region AR2996 also has an associated fast CME. NASA’s models show at least a glancing blow with Earth, perhaps as soon as May 1, with possible geomagnetic activity up to G2. Look out for auroras around May 1!

There was minor geomagnetic activity overnight on April 29-30, 2022. High-speed solar wind produced a G1 geomagnetic storm and possible auroras at high latitudes.

April 29 update: M1.22-flare

After days of activity no higher than C-class flares, the sun surprised us with a beautiful M1.22 flare from a spotless region, AR2996 in the sun’s northwest quarter, on April 29, 2022.

The southeast quarter looks busy with new sunspot regions, AR3000 and AR3001.  A new region, possibly the former AR2992, is just around the corner and may soon bear a new label of AR3002 or greater.

April 28 update: Filament eruptions still dominate

Filament eruptions still dominate the activity on the sun on April 27-28, 2022, with flares only in the C-class range. Below you will find a video tweet showing the sun for the last seven days in two SDO wavelengths of light.. These wavelengths, 304 and 171 angstroms, help to highlight all the filament eruptions.

On Earth, there was a surprise for forecasters with an unexpected G1 geomagnetic storm. It was probably due either to high-speed solar wind, a sneaky CME, or both.

We do expect more activity on April 28, into April 29. This geomagnetic activity should be caused by high-speed solar wind from the coronal hole (CH HSS or coronal hole high-speed stream) we saw on April 26.

April 27 update: Minor geomagnetic storm arrived

Despite low activity on the sun, we had a minor geomagnetic storm on April 27. Last week’s Kp index went as low as Kp1 and even Kp0. On the 27th we reached Kp5. All this indicates … auroras. Unfortunately, this happened during the day for both sides of the planet. Stay tuned.

Sun activity: Red square with red disk and white circle (the sun).
A CME produced by a solar filament eruption on the sun’s northeast limb. Observed by SOHO/LASCO C2 on April 27, 2022.

April 26: Sun activity moderate, with nice filament eruption

Excitement is brewing on the sun’s southeast limb with a beautiful filament eruption on April 25, 2022. The eruption produced a non-Earth-directed CME because of its location at the southeast limb.

Meanwhile, a well-defined coronal hole is sitting near the sun’s disk center. It may provide some fast solar wind as it rotates farther west.

AR2993 and AR2994 are still the regions to watch.

Coronal hole region.
A coronal hole is growing on the center to southeast region of the solar disk, April 26, 2022. Via SDO.

Video of sun activity: April 13 to 21

Last week was exciting. From April 13 to April 21 with 2 X-class flares (X2.2 the largest so far for cycle 25), 16 M-flares (one almost an X at M9.6) and 12+ non-Earth-directed CMEs.

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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View community photos here

Recent sun activity photos from the EarthSky community

Black spots in a yellow sphere and black background.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Roberto Ortu in Cabras, Sardinia, Italy, captured this view of the sun on April 26, 2022, and wrote: “This is my astrophoto of the sunspots in the active regions AR2994 and AR2995.” Thank you, Roberto!
Yellow sphere with black dots labeled.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | David Hoskin at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, captured this view of the sun on April 26, 2022, and said: “This white light image of our sun shows 6 different sunspot groups. Sunspot group AR2993-2994, which was previously very active, is now decaying and rotating out of view. A new sunspot (circled area) is emerging from the SE limb of the sun.” Thank you, David!
Yellow sun with an orange tone in the middle. The bottom of the sphere is hidden behind a hill.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Teresa Molinaro at Bagheria, Sicilia, Italy, captured this view of the sun and some sunspots on April 24, 2022. Thank you, Teresa!
White circular projection with small dark spots.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Divyadarshan Purohit at Gurudev Observatory in Vadodara, Gujarat, India, captured this view of the sun via projection on April 24, 2022. Thank you, Divyadarshan!

Bottom line: Your latest on sun activity: On the morning of April 30, 2022, the sun produced an X-flare from AR2994, a sunspot region that is rotating away from Earth.

Click here for last week’s sun activity

April 25, 2022

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