Sun activity: A strong storm ended this quiet week

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Sun activity
Gorgeous aurora captured by Christy Turner in Calgary, Alberta on April 10, 2022. Shared by Mizuho Kai.

Sun activity for April 4 to 10, 2022

No strong geomagnetic storming was predicted for last night (April 9-10, 2022). But, for a few hours, we had a strong geomagnetic storm anyway. The storm measured G-3 in intensity (“strong,” as described on NOAA’s Space Weather Scales. EarthSky was tagged in the first tweet below, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We saw another tweet from Red Dear in Alberta, Canada that called the storm “a clash of the Titans” between the aurora and the moon (now waxing toward full), but went on to say it was “a bit underwhelming.”

April 9: A beautiful blast

Both NOAA and Helioviewer registered a mighty prominence on the limb (edge) the sun today (April 9, 2022), as seen in the video above from Helioviewer.

April 9: More activity coming?

After last week’s very active sun, this week has been relatively quiet. But AR2975, the sunspot region that gave us such an exciting week of solar activity last week, might soon be back. Scientists using helioseismology – the study of the sun through its oscillations – to look at our sun suspect that AR2975 is still active on the sun’s far side (the side facing away from Earth). If so, as the sun rotates, it could carry this active region back into our view soon.

April 9: Auroral activity forecast

The possible coronal mass ejection (CMEs) – and mild geomagnetic storm – predicted for April 6, 2022, did not happen. The CME predicted for April 7 didn’t happen either. said on April 9:

…Minor cracks are opening in Earth’s magnetosphere as our planet passes through the wake of a CME that arrived on April 8. The CME delivered a weak, glancing blow that did not initially spark a geomagnetic storm. Earth’s transit through the CME’s wake may, however, yield some high-latitude auroras on April 9.

Forecast map for April 9, 2022. Both the NOAA and NOSWE forecasts for auroral display remain on K index at 4 (yellow). NOAA’s forecast map shows 50% chances of auroras occurring over Alaska and Canada. Image via NOAA.

April 7: A quiet sun filament

Early in the day on April 7, 2022, SOHO/LASCO and SDO registered a quiet sun filament not likely to impact the Earth. See below what Dr. Erika Palmeiro shared in her tweets.

A video of last week’s very active sun!

The sun gave us some great activity from March 30 to April 4. There were 4 M-class flares, 1 X-flare, 2 solar particle events, and 8 CMEs. Five of those CMEs were Earth-directed and 3 were non-Earth directed. The video below showing this activity in 4 wavelengths of light from SDO. Starting from the top right, gold 171 angstrom extreme UV, visibility light (showing sunspots), red 304 angstrom extreme UV, and brown 193 angstrom extreme UV. Find out what the SDO wavelengths show on the sun.

How the magnetic fields move on the sun

Sun magnetic fields
This image is a PFSS model – Potential Field Source Surface – showing how the magnetic fields generated at sunspots move in the course of several days. This image is constructed with historical data from several days. The white lines are closed loops, the green and purple lines are open positive and negative magnetic fields. Image via ResearchGate.

April 6 sun activity: Filament eruption, plus minor geomagnetic storm

At least one and maybe two coronal mass ejections (CMEs), from flares on the sun a few days ago, could give Earth’s magnetic field a glancing blow beginning midday April 6 and into April 7, 2022. Minor geomagnetic storms – and increased auroras – are possible at that time.

April 4: A valley of fire near AR2978

Red sphere with bright yellow blotches including a narrow bright line circled in white.
More interesting and beautiful sun activity! reported on April 4, 2022: “Yesterday, April 3, a filament of magnetism whipsawed out of the sun’s atmosphere. On the way out it carved a gigantic canyon of fire. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the eruption. The glowing walls of the canyon are at least 20,000 km high [12,400 miles high] and 10 times as long. They trace the channel where the filament (R.I.P.) was previously suspended by magnetic forces inside the sun’s atmosphere. A coronal mass ejection (CME) has since emerged from the blast site. Here it is. The expanding cloud will probably sideswipe Earth’s magnetic field on April 7.” You can see a video at the SDO site. Image via SDO.

April 3: A farewell blast from region AR2984

Flare on limb of sun.
A blast from AR2984 before going out of sight. This active region on the sun was carried out of sight by the sun’s own rotation. The blast happened at around 18 UTC on April 3, 2022. You can see a video of this sun activity at SDO. Image via SDO.

To our readers and community

We invite you all to send us your beautiful recent photos of sunspots and auroras! And 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

This week’s sun activity photos from EarthSky’s community

The sun as a large monochromatic sphere with small dark spots.
View at EarthSky Community Photos | Patricio León in Santiago, Chile, completed this filtered two-week composite of the sun on April 7, 2022, and wrote “A row of clear days allowed me to follow the big sunspots AR2976 and 2978, both were easily seen naked eye several days through their Sun crossing, with 2976 lagging 5 days behind 2978, the evolution in morphology and size is noted, as well as several minor companions and the concave route due to Sun south pole tilted almost 7 degrees to us. AR2975, the most active sunspot of the interval, is hidden behind 2976 so is not seen.” Thank you, Patricio!
Sun photo
View at EarthSky Community Photos | Mario Rana in Hampton, Virginia took this photo of the sun on April 7, 2022 and captured this moment. He wrote: Active region AR2985 and a large prominence. Great photo! Thank you Mario!
Sun photo
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | David Hoskin in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, created this beautiful composite from a couple of photos of the sun he took on April 3, 2022, and wrote: “The image on the left is a full disk hydrogen alpha image of our sun captured earlier today. Sunspot AR2978 is prominent while sunspot AR2976 is now rotating out of view on the western limb. Prominences, filaments and plage are also visible in this image. The image on the right is a closeup of sunspot AR2978. The filament to the right of the sunspot is of particular interest as it may have produced an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection earlier today.” Outstanding photo and great explanation! Thank you, David.

Bottom line: Sun activity for the week of April 4 to 10, 2022. After last week’s intense sun activity, this week has been relatively quiet. But we had an unexpected (albeit brief) strong geomagnetic storm during the night of April 9-10.

Click here for sun activity from March 28 to April 3

April 10, 2022

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Raúl Cortés

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