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Sun news May 25, 2024: Huge active region rotating toward Earth

Sun news for May 25, 2024. AR3679 departs on the southwest limb (edge), while on the northeast a huge newcomer sunspot region appears. It may be the former AR3663, which produced X flares the last time it faced Earth. An M1.4 flare by AR3679 brings sun activity to moderate. Images via SDO.

Sun news for May 25, 2024: Huge active region rotating toward Earth

Today’s top story: We’re starting to get a glimpse of a huge active region rotating toward the Earth-facing side of the sun. The still-unnumbered sunspot group is peeking over the northeast limb (edge) of the sun. As it rotates into fuller view, we’ll get a better idea of if this was one of the active regions that launched X flares at the sun in early May. But all expectations are that this is the former AR3663. In the last 24 hours, the sun produced an isolated M flare, pumping up its activity to moderate. AR3679 blasted the M1.4 flare at 20:25 UTC on May 24. The explosion provoked an R1 (minor) radio blackout affecting an area over the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of Baja California in Mexico. The imminent departure of sunspot region AR3679, lead flare producer of the week, brings down solar flare production to only seven flares during our observation period. In addition, an exploding filament produced a gorgeous prominence on the northeast limb (edge) at around 11:38 UTC on May 24. And later on, a closed loop prominence occurred at 4:17 UTC on May 25. All in all, the sun should be fairly calm through the weekend. But big action might be in store for us during the upcoming week as the huge active region comes fully into sight. Keep tuned.
Last 24 hours: An isolated M flare during the past day bring us now to moderate levels of solar activity. Flaring production decreased from 26 flares yesterday to only eight flares between 11 UTC yesterday and 11 UTC today: one M flare and seven Cs. The largest flare was the M1.4 by AR3679 at 20:25 UTC on May 24. Shortly after the explosion, an R1 (minor) radio blackout was registered. It affected an area over the the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of Baja California in Mexico. The lead flare producer of the day was AR3679, which produced a total of five flares, four Cs and the M flare. Today our star shows six labeled sunspot regions on its Earth-facing side.  The two large coronal holes we have been observing remain. One of them in the southern hemisphere is now in a geoeffective position, meaning the fast solar wind it produces is coming toward Earth. This will bring chances of more auroral displays.
Next 24 hours: The chance for C flares is 99%. The chance for M flares is 60%. The chance for X flares is 10%.
Next expected CME: No coronal mass ejections (CMEs) were observed over the past day on available coronagraph imagery.
Current geomagnetic activity: Earth’s magnetic field is quiet at the time of this writing (11 UTC on May 25). Quiet to unsettled conditions are anticipated during the weekend thanks to the influence of fast solar wind from a large coronal hole.

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 3 UTC on May 25, 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 May 24, 2024: 5 M flares raise activity to high

May 24, 2024. Sun activity is high today with the production of five M flares. Composite AIA 304 and 131 angstrom. Image via SDO.

Sun activity has risen to high after 5 M flares were produced over the past day. Two of these came from AR3679, this week’s most active sunspot region, which is now starting to rotate out of view on the southwest limb (edge). It still bears a beta-gamma-delta magnetic complexity, meaning it has potential for more Ms and even an X flare. Will it produce an X flare before departing from the Earth-viewed solar disk? We’ll see. Meanwhile on the opposite horizon, a new sunspot region has arrived: meet AR3690. Although, we might have met this region before … We’ve been expecting the reappearance of former sunspot region AR3663 today, returning to view having rotated around the rear of the sun since we last saw it. However, specialists have not yet confirmed that this newcomer is the former hero, as it is still located too near to the solar horizon for a complete analysis. Plus, the latest imagery shows that an even bigger sunspot is following just behind AR3690, which could also be AR3663 – we’ll keep you updated. Here’s a reminder of AR3663’s past exploits: during its transit across the Earth-facing side of the sun from April 30 to May 11, AR3663 was so large that it was visible from Earth through eclipse glasses with no magnification aid. And it produced a stunning five X flares, the largest being a an X4.5 blasted on May 6. At the time, this X4.5 flare was the largest of Solar Cycle 25, later offset by the X8.8 by AR3664. AR3663 produced three X flares in less than 24 hours. If one of these new sunspot regions is a returning AR3663, we could be in for some serious action!
Last 24 hours: Solar activity today is high with the production of five M flares. We saw an increase in flaring production, with 26 flares produced between 11 UTC yesterday and 11 UTC today: five M flares and 21 Cs. The largest flare was an M2.5 by AR3679 at 13:26 UTC on May 23. After the blast, an R1 (minor) radio blackout was observed affecting an area over the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Africa. The lead flare producer was AR3679, which produced a total of 17 flares: two Ms and 15 C flares. This is the list of the M flares for the period:
M2.5 flare by AR3679 at 13:26 UTC on May 23. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Atlantic Ocean off west coast of Africa (the largest).
-M1.0 flare by AR3689 at 15:58 UTC on May 23. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Atlantic Ocean east of Puerto Rico.
-M1.5 flare by AR3685 at 7:06 UTC on May 24. R1 (minor) radio blackout over India.
-M1.1 flare by AR3679 at 8:01 UTC on May 24. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Arabian Sea.
-M1.3 flare by AR3685 at 9:00 UTC on May 24. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Red Sea.
Currently the sun bears seven labeled active regions on its Earth-facing side, including newcomer AR3690 on the northeast limb (edge). There are currently two large coronal holes. The one in the south is now in a geoeffective position, meaning the fast solar wind it produces will start coming our way at Earth, bringing chances of more auroral displays.

Sun news for May 23, 2024: Filament explodes into gorgeous prominence

May 23, 2024. Sun activity granted us a long transequatorial filament, which lifted plasma and eventually exploded into a gorgeous prominence on the southeast of our star. Composite of GOES-16 SUVI and SDO 304 angstrom. Image via NOAA and SDO.

The long filament – or rope of solar material and magnetic fields – that we observed arcing up from the surface of the sun yesterday has exploded into a gorgeous, long-lasting prominence on the southeast limb (edge). The event was a slow explosion, lasting most of the day yesterday and continuing into the early hours of this morning. It hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space, but it was directed too far south to be Earth-directed. In other news, former sunspot region AR3663 is expected to rotate back into view tomorrow, with its partner in crime AR3664 expected to come back into view by May 26. These two regions brought huge action when they were on the Earth-facing side of the sun, firing off numerous X flares and bringing us an historic solar storm. Let’s see what they’ve got in store for us this time!
Last 24 hours: Sun activity remains moderate with the production of four M flares between 11 UTC yesterday and 11 UTC today. We saw an increase in flaring production; the sun blasted another 15 C flares for a total of 19 flares over the past 24 hours, compared to nine flares the day before. The largest of the Ms was an M4.2 flare by AR3679 at 2:16 UTC on May 23. The lead flare producer of the period was AR3679, which fired 11 flares, including the four Ms. Notably, this sunspot region AR3679 has developed a delta magnetic complexity and now shows a complete beta-gamma-delta configuration – the most potent – meaning it has the potential for more M flares and even X flares. This is the breakdown of the M flares:
-M1.2 flare by AR3679 at 14:05 UTC on May 22. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast in Africa.
-M4.2 flare by AR3679 at 2:16 UTC on May 23. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Philippine Sea (the largest).
-M1.7 flare by AR3679 at 4:29 UTC on May 23. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the South China Sea.
-M1.0 flare by AR3679 at 10:08 UTC on May 23. R1 (minor) radio blackout over Egypt.
There are currently six labeled active regions on the Earth-facing side of our star, and two large coronal holes.

May 23-24. This animation shows 3 of the 4 M flares of the period. SDO AIA 131 angstrom. Image via SDO.
May 22. A planetary conjunction of Jupiter and Mars as seen by the SOHO spacecraft’s LASCO C3 imager. Image via NOAA.

Sun news for May 22, 2024: Activity now moderate, with 3 M flares

Sun activity has been in a lull for a couple of days. But over the past day it bumped up to moderate, with the production of three M flares. The largest was an M2.3 flare from sunspot region AR3683. It exploded earlier today (4:04 UTC on May 22), causing an R1 (minor) radio blackout over the north coast of the Philippines. We also saw a beautiful prominence on the sun’s south pole over the past day. And long-lasting prominences accompanied the departure of sunspot region AR3683, now rotating out of view on the sun’s southwest limb (edge). There is a long filament – a rope of solar material and magnetic fields, arcing up from the visible surface of the sun – on the sun’s southeast quadrant. Long filaments of this type can blow out coronal mass ejections (CMEs). We will keep watching this guy for more. A bonus track today is the unearthly view captured by SOHO’s LASCO C3 imager, which reveals Jupiter getting closer to Venus for a planetary conjunction due later today (May 22). Both planets are near the sun in our sky now. We can’t see them with our eyes, but our robot spacecraft can see them. Another bonus! Former active region AR3663 is anticipated to rotate back into view tomorrow (May 23). When it does, it’ll get a new number.
Last 24 hours: Sun activity has jumped to moderate over the past day (11 UTC yesterday to 11 UTC today). The sun blasted out a total of nine flares, three Ms and six C flares. The position for lead flare producer of the period is shared today. Active regions AR3683 and AR3679 produced four flares each. AR3679 produced two of the M flares of the day, but AR3683 produced the largest M. Here’s a list of M flares of the past day:
– M1.9 flare by AR3679 at 19:31 UTC on May 21. R1 (minor) radio blackout over Baja California in Mexico.
– M1.5 flare by AR3679 at 3:13 UTC on May 22. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Philippine Sea.
– M2.3 flare by AR3683 at 4:04 UTC on May 22. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the north coast of the Philippines.
There are seven labeled active regions on the Earth-facing side of our star, and two large coronal holes.

May 22, 2024. During the past day we saw a gorgeous prominence on the sun’s south pole, a large filament lifting plasma and a long-lasting prominence on the southwest limb. GOES-16 SUVI image via NOAA.
May 22, 2024. LASCO C3 shows the 2 brightest planets in Earth’s sky – Jupiter and Venus – getting closer. Their planetary conjunction is later today. We can’t see these worlds with our eyes now. They are traveling across the sky with the sun during the day. Image via NOAA.

Sun news for May 21, 2024: Sun activity is on the far side now

Most of the activity over the past day has been on the sun’s far side. Meanwhile, on the Earth-facing side of our star, activity has dropped to low. But some far side activity should rotate into our view soon! Sun experts realized that, while analyzing a coronal mass ejection (CME) associated with the C6.7 flare by AR3683 at 5:54 UTC yesterday (May 20). They were trying to see if a component was Earth-directed. The analysis was difficult, since the event was masked and hidden by a full halo event, registered by the SOHO spacecraft’s LASCO C3 imager. Finally with the help of multiple images from NASA’s fleet of sun-observing spacecraft, they obtained the result that the full halo event came from the sun’s far side. So the CME was Venus-oriented (Venus is behind the sun now), not Earth-directed. It might have originated from one of our old friends AR3663 or AR3664. Mars is also (more or less) on the far side of the sun from Earth now. And the Mars Perseverance rover also took a photo of the far-side sun today, showing a large sunspot region that will come into view for us in the next days. Stay tuned.
Last 24 hours: Sun activity dropped low during the past day, with only  C class flares. Overall, flare production decreased as well. Between 11 UTC yesterday and 11 UTC today, the sun exploded only six C flares. The largest event was a C4.8 flare produced by active region AR3683 at 7:32 UTC on May 21. Lead flare producer of the period was active region AR3683. It produced three of the six C flares of the day.  Currently, the sun bears six labeled active regions on its Earth-facing side. The sun now has two large coronal holes on its Earth-facing side. During our observation period, a second large coronal hole emerged on the southeast quadrant. In two or three days they will reach a geoeffective position, meaning more fast solar wind coming our way and possibly good conditions for auroras.

May 20, 2024 LASCO C3 imagery equipment captured this full halo event, which can sometimes indicate a coronal mass ejection (CME) headed toward Earth. But, in this case, analysis confirmed the event originated on the far side of our star. If you look closely at this image, you’ll see the giant planet Jupiter coming out from behind the dark blue disk (an occulter) in front of the sun. The bright spot on the right is Venus. At the top, we can see the Pleiades. LASCO-C3 image via NOAA.
May 20, 2024, image from the Mars Perseverance rover. It shows a large sunspot active region near the southwest (lower right) horizon, soon to be carried into our view by the sun’s rotation. Image via NASA.
May 21, 2024. The sun bears today a couple of coronal holes on its Earth-facing side. The one on the southeast quadrant emerged during the past day. GOES-16 SUVI image via NOAA.
May 20, 2024. ENLIL computer modeling shows the coronal mass ejection (CME) produced during yesterday’s full halo event was on the far side of our star. The CME is Venus-directed, not Earth-directed. Image via NOAA.

Sun news for May 20, 2024: Auroras possible tonight. Sun activity moderate

A G1 (minor) geomagnetic storm is expected later today from a glancing blow of a coronal mass ejection (CME) hurled by the sun on May 17. The chances to witness auroral displays are for higher latitudes, extending as far south in the U.S. as Montana and North Dakota. These conditions may be extended through early tomorrow, May 21. Turning back to our sun, we saw activity rise to moderate levels with the production of three M flares over the past day. Details below. Added to that, at the time of this writing at around 5:54 UTC today (May 20), we saw a giant filament eruption in the vicinity of active region AR3683 in the sun’s southwest quadrant, near the solar horizon. Lifting plasma was observed during the event, but it looked too far south to be Earth-oriented. Earlier, another filament eruption occurred on the northwest quadrant. No Earth-bound coronal mass ejections (CMEs) have been reported so far, but modeling and analysis of both events are ongoing.
Last 24 hours: Sun activity increased to moderate during the past day with the production of three M flares. Between 11 UTC yesterday and 11 UTC today, the sun blasted out a total of 14 flares: three Ms plus 11 Cs. The largest event was an M2.5 flare exploded by active region AR3685 at 17:56 UTC on May 19. This is the list of the M flares of the period:
-M1.9 flas by AR3685 at 13:44 UTC on May 19. R1 (minor) radio blackout over the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Africa.
-M2.5 flare by AR3685 at 17:56 UTC on May 19. R1 (minor) radio blackout over Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.
-M1.6 flare by AR3685 at 21:59 UTC on May 19. R1 (minor) radio blackout over Hawaii.
The lead flare producer of the period was active region AR3685, which blasted out seven flares, four Cs and today’s three M flares. The sun bears today six labeled active regions. Three newcomers received their labels: AR3684, AR3685 and AR3686. There is a large coronal hole on the northeast quadrant.

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 May 24, 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 1 UTC on May 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 May 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 2 UTC on May 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 May 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 1 UTC on May 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 May 18, 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 white sphere with small dark spots.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Patricio León in Santiago, Chile, captured this filtered image of the sun on May 23, 2024. Patricio wrote: “Big bipolar sunspot AR3685, right of center, and multinuclei AR3679, close to right limb, give personality to the sun’s western hemisphere; the eastern one is blank.” Thank you, Patricio!
The sun, seen as a large yellow sphere with a mottled surface.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Jim Militello in Tucson, Arizona, captured this hydrogen-alpha filtered image of the sun on May 23, 2024. Jim wrote: “This image of the Sun is showing active region 3685 with a large sunspot.” Thank you, Jim!
The sun, seen as a flat yellow surface with a mottled surface.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | David Hoskin in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, captured this hydrogen-alpha filtered image of the sun on May 22, 2024. David wrote: “This active region of the sun contains sunspot groups AR3685 and AR3686, as well as a number of filaments.” Thank you, David!
The sun, seen as a large yellow sphere with a mottled surface.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mario Rana in Hampton, Virginia, captured this filtered image on May 22, 2024. Mario wrote: “Hydrogen-alpha image of the sun with many sunspot regions.” Thank you, Mario!
Collage of two solar images: a long yellow strip and a large yellow sphere with small dark spots.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Alexander Krivenyshev in New York City, New York, captured this filtered image on May 21, 2024. Alexander wrote: “Today’s sun with sunspots stretched across the disc. Picture was taken above Manhattan, New York City.” Thank you, Alexander!
The sun, seen as a large yellowish sphere with a small dark spots.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Ken Wallace in Sydney, NSW, Australia, captured this filtered image of the sun on May 21, 2024. Ken wrote: “A nice group of sunspots strung across the disc. The large groups at the left are AR3685 and AR3686.” Thank you, Ken!

Bottom line: Sun news for May 25, 2024. A huge sunspot region appears on the northeast. Sun activity is moderate as departing AR3679 produced an M1.4 flare.

Posted 
May 25, 2024
 in 
Brightest Stars

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