Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tracking a Gigantic Sunspot Across the Sun

03.11.2014

An active region on the sun – an area of intense and complex magnetic fields – rotated into view on Oct. 18, 2014. Labeled AR 12192, it soon grew into the largest such region in 24 years, and fired off 10 sizable solar flares as it traversed across the face of the sun. The region was so large it could be seen without a telescope for those looking at the sun with eclipse glasses, as many did during a partial eclipse of the sun on Oct. 23.

"Despite all the flares, this region did not produce any significant coronal mass ejections," said Alex Young a solar scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, are giant clouds of solar particles that can affect technology when they reach near-Earth space.


Super sunspot AR2192 produced 10 significant solar flare while traversing the Earth-side of the sun; six X-class and four above M5-class.

Image Credit: NASA/SDO

"You certainly can have flares without CMEs and vice versa, but most big flares do have CMEs. So we're learning that a big active region doesn't always equal the biggest events."

Such active regions are measured in millionths of a solar hemisphere, where 1 micro-hemisphere, or MH, is about 600,000 square miles. This region topped out at 2,750 MH, making it the 33rd largest region out of approximately 32,000 active regions that have been tracked and measured since 1874. It is the largest sunspot seen since AR 6368, which measured 3,080 MH on Nov. 18, 1990.

The largest five active regions ever observed were between 4,000 and more than 6,000 MH and they all appeared between 1946 and 1951.

On the other hand, the region that produced one of the biggest solar flares of all time on Sep. 1, 1859 – in what's known as the Carrington event – wasn't even one of the top 50 at only 2,300 MH.

During its trip across the front of the sun, AR 12192 produced six X-class flares, which are the largest flares, and four strong M-class flares. M-class flares are one tenth as strong as X-class flares. The number provides more information about its strength. An M2 is twice as intense as an M1, an M3 is three times as intense, etc.

"Having so many similar flares from the same active region will be a nice case study for people who work on predicting solar flares," said Dean Pesnell, project scientist for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory at Goddard. "This is important for one day improving the nation's ability to forecast space weather and protect technology and astronauts in space."

The dates and peak times in EDT of the large solar flares from AR 12192 are as follows:

Oct. 19, 1:01 am: X1.1

Oct. 21, 9:59 pm: M8.7

Oct. 22, 10:28 am: X1.6

Oct. 24, 5:41 pm: X3.1

Oct. 25, 1:08 pm: X1.0

Oct. 26, 6:56 am: X2.0

Oct. 26, 8:34 pm: M7.1

Oct. 27, 6:09 am: M6.7

Oct. 27, 10:47 am: X2.0

Oct. 28, 11:32 pm: M6.6

AR 12192 rotated onto the far side of the sun on Oct. 30, 2014, however as it evolves, we may see a new version of it rotating back into view in two weeks.

Related Links:

For more on this gigantic sunspot and its flares:
> http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/sdo-observes-largest-sunspot-of-the-solar-cycle/
> http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/sdo-observes-more-flares-erupting-from-giant-sunspot/
> http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/one-giant-sunspot-6-substantial-flares/
> http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/oct-22-2014-third-substantial-solar-flare-in-2-days/
> http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/sdo-observes-an-x-class-solar-flare/

> Sunspot AR2192 Flare Family Portrait

> Sunspot AR2192 Flare Family Portrait - Unlabeled

> Download high resolution media from Oct. 24, 2014

> Download high resolution media from Oct. 22, 2014

> What does it take to be X-class?

> View Past Solar Activity


Karen C. Fox
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Susan Hendrix | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/tracking-a-gigantic-sunspot-across-the-sun/

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Astronomers release most complete ultraviolet-light survey of nearby galaxies
18.05.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht A quantum entanglement between two physically separated ultra-cold atomic clouds
17.05.2018 | University of the Basque Country

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>