Brightest StarsSun

Sun news April 24: Sun activity high, with sun-stuff coming

Help keep EarthSky going with a donation! Your gift to our 501(c)(3) organization will help support educational resources that teach people of all ages about the night sky, our sun, and outer space.

Sun news for April 24, 2024: Sun activity high, with sun-stuff coming

Today’s top story: Activity remains high today! Over the past day, we had five M flares, four fewer than the day before. All the M flares came from the big sunspot complex in the sun’s southwest quadrant. This region is also continuing to produce long, beautiful jets. In the past day, we saw prominences dancing all around the visible sun. And a filament erupted in the sun’s northeast, which sent material northward away from Earth. Meanwhile, starting tonight, we are anticipating glancing blows to Earth from perhaps up to a dozen smaller coronal mass ejections, aka CMEs. These chunks of sun-stuff will likely only sideswipe us. And, because there are multiple chunks, the timing of their effects is difficult to pin down. But any effects will be combined with fast solar wind from one of the three coronal holes currently on the sun’s visible face. So we’re anticipating geomagnetic storming at the G1 (minor) level, or higher, starting tonight and into April 26. Good luck, aurora-watchers!
Last 24 hours: Overall activity has decreased with five M flares in the past day (11 UTC yesterday to 11 UTC today). The sun released 20 flares in all: five M flares and 15 C flares. The largest event was an M2.9 flare at 17:33 UTC on April 23 from AR3638. Here’s the breakdown of the M flares from the past 24 hours:
M1.0, AR3647, 16:23 UTC on April 23. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Atlantic Ocean.
M2.9, AR3638, 17:33 UTC on April 23. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Atlantic Ocean (the largest flare.)
M1.8, AR3645, 00:13 UTC on April 24. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Pacific Ocean.
M1.6, AR3645, 00:38 UTC on April 24. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Pacific Ocean.
M1.8, AR3638, 02:30 UTC on April 24. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Pacific Ocean.
The lead flare producer of the day was AR3645 with seven flares: two Ms plus five Cs. Sunspot region AR3638 produced two M flares. All active regions now have either an alpha or beta magnetic configuration, indicating a lowered potential for flaring in the coming day. The sun currently has 13 sunspot groups on its Earth-facing side.
Next 24 hours: The chance for C flares is 99%. The chance for M flares is 75%. The chance for an X flare is 20%.
Next expected CME: There were multiple coronal mass ejections (CMEs) in the past few days. None of them appear to be directly aimed toward Earth, but trailing edges may provide glancing blows by April 25-26.
Current geomagnetic activity: Earth’s magnetic field is quiet at the time of this writing (11 UTC on April 24). It is expected to continue at quiet to unsettled levels today due to high-speed solar wind from the three coronal holes now on the sun’s visible face. Unsettled-to-active levels are expected tomorrow, April 25, from possible CME activity and the onset of another coronal hole’s influence. A chance for minor (G1) or greater geomagnetic storms persists with CME activity, although there are no obvious Earth-directed events in the coronagraph imagery.

Chart with a global map of north hemisphere North America with a green-red oval.
We might get geomagnetic storming tonight – April 24-25, 2024 – at the G1 (minor) level, or higher. Image via NOAA.
Chart with a global map of north hemisphere North America with a green-red oval.
And here’s tomorrow night’s aurora forecast, the night of April 25-26, 2024. Conditions for auroras will continue! Image via NOAA.
The sun, seen as a large yellow sphere with dark spots, each labeled.
This image shows sun activity – with the most active regions labeled – as of 0 UTC on April 24, 2024. Original image, without labels, via NASA SDO. Courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams, with labeling by EarthSky. Today’s sun is posted by Armando Caussade. Why are east and west on the sun reversed?

Sun news for April 23, 2024: 9 M flares in the past day!

Wow! Sun activity has reached high levels after 9 M flares were blasted over the past 24 hours. Equally exciting is that some of the flares were sympathetic. That’s when flares in seemingly unrelated locations on the sun occur nearly simultaneously, because they are actually connected to each other by invisible magnetic fields. We saw some of this yesterday with the active sunspot complex in the southwest. On top of the M flare fiesta, it’s been a crazy day for sunspots. As of yesterday, we reached a daily sunspot number of 278, the highest in 22 years, since it reached 281 in August 2002. And we now have 14 sunspot groups on the Earth-facing side, the highest – along with one other day – that it’s been in Solar Cycle 25 so far. What a day on the sun!
Last 24 hours: We observed lots of filament activity over the past day, with some of these filaments participating in the sympathetic flaring. Between 11 UTC yesterday and 11 UTC today, the sun released 26 flares: nine M flares and 17 C flares. The largest was an M3.6 flare produced at 3:19 UTC by AR3654 on April 23. Here’s the breakdown of the M flares from the past 24 hours:
M1.7, AR3647, 13:35 UTC on April 22. R1 (minor) radio blackout over Africa.
M1.1, AR3645, 14:55 UTC on April 22. R1 (minor) radio blackout off the west coast of Africa.
M1.6, AR3646, 15:19 UTC on April 22. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Atlantic Ocean.
M2.8, AR3656, 15:50 UTC on April 22. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Atlantic Ocean.
M1.1, AR3656, 16:30 UTC on April 22. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Atlantic Ocean.
M1.5, AR3638, 21:16 UTC on April 22. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Pacific Ocean east of Hawaii.
M1.1, AR3645, 23:18 UTC on April 22. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii.
M3.6, AR3654, 3:19 UTC on April 23. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Philippine Sea (the largest flare).
M3.0, AR3654, 8:21 UTC on April 23. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Arabian Sea.
The lead flare producer of the day was AR3645, which fired off nine flares: two Ms plus seven Cs. Sunspot regions AR3656 and AR3654 also produced two M flares. There are four active regions showing potential with beta-gamma magnetic configurations: AR3639, AR3645, AR3646 and AR3647. The sun currently has 14 sunspot groups on its Earth-facing side, including newcomer AR3657. The sun has two coronal holes on its Earth-facing side, one near the disk’s center and one in the southeast.

Sun news for April 22, 2024: Bang! Activity is up

After a fairly calm Sunday, the sun has kicked it up a notch today. The sunspot region complex AR3638-AR3647 (AR3638, AR3643, AR3645 and AR3647) started firing off M flares at midday April 21 UTC time. There were also some near M flares, a C9.0 and C8.6. During the last 24-hour observation period from 11 UTC April 21 to 11 UTC April 22, these M and larger C flares had six coronal mass ejections (CMEs) associated with them. Current analysis has shown that all these CMEs were southward directed and do not have Earth-directed components. Additional data may update these determinations. This complex is the region that started producing continuous jets earlier this week. AR3638 has a beta magnetic classification and AR3647 has a beta-gamma magnetic classification. None of the regions in this larger group are especially complex magnetically. Nevertheless, they are producing some interesting action. Stay tuned for what’s next.
Last 24 hours: Solar flare activity increased over the current observation period (11 UTC yesterday to 11 UTC today). Sun activity is now at moderate levels due to four M flares. The total flare count is 18, four M flares and 14 C flares. The largest event of the period was an M3.4 flare at 21:44 UTC on April 21 from sunspot region AR3638. The region also produced an M2.2 at 15:07 UTC on April 21. Region AR3645 produced the other two M flares, an M1.0 at 12:39 UTC on April 21 and an M1.1 at 7:58 UTC on April 22. All of the M flares appear to have produced CMEs, but none of these eruptions have an obvious Earth-directed component. AR3638 and AR3645 have both shown slight growth in size. Other regions have either remained the same or decayed slightly. New regions AR3652, AR3653, AR3654, AR3655 and AR3656 were numbered this period. The sun has 13 sunspot groups on its Earth-facing side.

The sun in recent days

The sun, seen as a large yellow sphere with dark spots, each labeled.
This image shows sun activity – with the most active regions labeled – as of 0 UTC on April 23, 2024. Courtesy of NASA/ SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams, with labeling by EarthSky.
The sun, seen as a large yellow sphere with dark spots, each labeled.
This image shows sun activity – with the most active regions labeled – as of 0 UTC on April 22, 2024. Courtesy of NASA/ SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams, with labeling by EarthSky.
The sun, seen as a large yellow sphere with dark spots, each labeled.
This image shows sun activity – with the most active regions labeled – as of 0 UTC on April 21, 2024. Courtesy of NASA/ SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams, with labeling by EarthSky.
The sun, seen as a large yellow sphere with dark spots, each labeled.
This image shows sun activity – with the most active regions labeled – as of 0 UTC on April 20, 2024. Courtesy of NASA/ SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams, with labeling by EarthSky.
The sun, seen as a large yellow sphere with dark spots, each labeled.
This image shows sun activity – with the most active regions labeled – as of 2 UTC on April 19, 2024. Courtesy of NASA/ SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams, with labeling by EarthSky.
The sun, seen as a large yellow sphere with dark spots, each labeled.
This image shows sun activity – with the most active regions labeled – as of 0 UTC on April 18, 2024. Courtesy of NASA/ SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams, with labeling by EarthSky.
The sun, seen as a large yellow sphere with dark spots, each labeled.
This image shows sun activity – with the most active regions labeled – as of 0 UTC on April 17, 2024. Courtesy of NASA/ SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams, with labeling by EarthSky.

Sun images from our community

Are you a fan of sun images? We invite you all to send us your beautiful recent photos of sunspots and auroras. We love receiving them and sharing them! And to those of you who’ve already posted a photo to our community page, thank you.

Submit photos here

View community photos here

The sun, seen as a large gray sphere with a mottled surface.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mario Rana in Hampton, Virginia, captured this filtered image on April 23, 2024. Mario wrote: “Hydrogen-alpha image of the sun. It looks amazing with active regions, filaments, and prominences!” Thank you, Mario!
The sun, seen as a large white sphere with small dark spots.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Patricio León in Santiago, Chile, captured this filtered image of the sun on April 22, 2024. Patricio wrote: “Numerous sunspot groups all across the sun’s face. Big complex AR3645/47 continues very active; shaggy limbs due to an agitated atmosphere post-cold-front pass.” Thank you, Patricio!
The sun, seen as a sectional orange sphere with small dark spots.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | David Hawkes in Sheffield, United Kingdom, captured this filtered image of the sun on April 20, 2024. David wrote: “Perfect conditions, nice collection of sunspots dominated by the extended active region 3645/6/7.” Thank you, David!
A sun close-up, seen as a flat yellow surface with a mottled surface.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | David Hoskin in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, captured this filtered view of the sun on April 19, 2024. David wrote: “This filtered image shows (from left to right) sunspot groups AR3646, AR3647, AR3645, AR3638, and AR3637. According to Spaceweather.com AR3645 has already unleashed M-class solar flares and may soon unleash a more powerful X-class solar flare.” Thank you, David!
The sun, seen as a large yellowish sphere with small dark spots.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Steve Wilson in Salina, Kansas, captured this filtered image of the sun on April 18, 2024. Steve wrote: “Was out earlier this afternoon after the clouds broke away and went over to look at the sun. Saw a lot of sunspots so I got my camera out and started to take some photos. Was so amazed at the number of sunspots and the clusters of them. Am looking forward to more solar activity later this year.” Thank you, Steve!

Bottom line: April 24, 2024, sun news. Sun activity continues at a high level. We await the arrival of several CMEs from the past few days. This may mean auroras on the way. Good luck, aurora-watchers!

Posted 
April 24, 2024
 in 
Brightest Stars

Like what you read?
Subscribe and receive daily news delivered to your inbox.

Your email address will only be used for EarthSky content. Privacy Policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

More from 

C. Alex Young

View All