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SOLAR ACTIVITY INTENSIFIES

Huge sunspot AR1476 is crackling with M-class solar flares and appears to be on the verge of producing something even stronger. The sunspot’s ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field harbors energy for X-class flares, the most powerful kind. Earth is entering the line of fire as the sunspot rotates across the face of the sun.

This morning, May 10th around 0418 UT, sunspot 1476 unleashed an impulsive M5-class solar flare. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash:

Apparently, the almost-X class explosion did not hurl a significant CME toward Earth. NOAA forecasters estimate a 65% chance of more M-class flares and a 10% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours.

WHAT DOES A SUNSPOT SOUND LIKE? On May 9th, amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft of New Mexico detected strong shortwave radio bursts coming from the sunspot. Click to hear the “solar static” that roared out of his loudspeaker:

http://www.spaceweather.com/images2012/09may12/radioburst.mp3?PHPSESSID=3ffhkp2av97n88m4riv9672744

“The strongest burst so far occured around 1631 UT on May 9th,” reports Ashcraft. “I am observing at 28 MHz and 21.1 MHz. As I send this note I am hearing more bursting, indicating powerful magnetic dynamism within active region 1476.”

Solar radio bursts are caused by plasma instabilities that ripple through the sun’s atmosphere in the aftermath of powerful flares. With AR1476 poised for more eruptions, this ‘radio activity’ is likely to continue for days. Stay tuned.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 2MIN News May14: Gamma Ray Burst, Solar/Planetary Update « Hidden Agendas - May 15, 2012

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    […] Solar Activity Intensifies(wrc559.com) In category: ScienceTags:Powerful Solar Storms Expected , ‘Monster’ Sunspot Appears […]

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