Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Giant Sunspot Keeps Firing Off Huge Solar Flares

The largest sunspot observed on the sun in more than 20 years has been firing off powerful solar flares for the past week, and it's still producing strong solar storms.

Today, the huge sunspot erupted with a large solar flare, peaking at around 10:47 a.m. EDT (1447 GMT).

The flare caused a strong radio blackout on Earth, according to the National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center. This solar flare is the fourth X-flare (the most powerful kind of solar storms) in as many days.

On Sunday (Oct. 26), the giant sunspot unleashed a solar flare, which peaked at about 6:56 a.m. EDT (1056 GMT). The sunspot, called Active Region 12192 (also known as AR 2192), also shot out another powerful flare on Saturday. Today and Sunday's flares measured in at X2, while Saturday's is classified as an X1 flare.

Sunday's X2-class flare was "the third X-class flare in 48 hours, erupting from the largest active region seen on the sun in 24 years," NASA spokesperson Karen Fox wrote in an update yesterday (Oct. 26). AR 2129 also shot out an X3.1-class flare on Friday (Oct. 24).

The sun unleashed an X2-class solar flare on Oct. 26, 2014. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this photo of the flare (lower right).

Credit: NASA/SDO

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