Sunspot 1302 Continues to Turn Toward Earth


Each of the dark cores in this image from SDO is larger than Earth, and the entire active region stretches more than 100,000 km from end to end (Credits: NASA).

Source NASA: Behemoth sunspot 1302 unleashed another strong flare on Saturday morning–an X1.9-category blast at 5:40 am EDT. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash.

The movie (below) also shows a shadowy shock wave racing away from the blast site. This is a sign that the blast produced a coronal mass ejection (CME) that could deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field on Sept. 26.

Since the X1.9-flare, active region (AR) 1302 has unleashed M8.6 and M7.4 flares on Sept. 24 and an M8.8 flare early on Sept. 25. None of the blasts have been squarely Earth-directed, but this could change as the sunspot turns toward our planet in the days ahead. AR1302 is growing and shows no immediate signs of quieting down.

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About the author

Andrea Gini

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Andrea Gini is a content strategy consultant specialized in companies of the space sector. He is founder of Space Safety Magazine, where he held the position of Editor-in-Chief until March 2015. Between 2011 and 2013 he worked in the European Space Agency in the Independent Safety Office, which overviews the utilization of the International Space Station. He previously worked as Software Developer, IT Consultant, and trainer of Java-related technologies. Andrea holds a BSc and an MSc in computer science from the University of Milano, a Master in Communication of Science from the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste and a MSc in Space Studies from the International Space University.