The Sun has been acting out this week, with a July 1 solar prominence followed by a July 3 M-class flare. Both events were captured by the recently de-mascotted Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Extreme ultraviolet flash from the July 3 solar flare, as captured by Solar Dynamics Observatory with overlay from GOES (Credits: NASA/Spaceweather.com).

Extreme ultraviolet flash from the July 3 solar flare, as captured by Solar Dynamics Observatory with overlay from GOES-15’s x-ray recorder (Credits: NASA/Spaceweather.com).

Wednesday’s flare came from sunspot AR1785, which has a 40% chance of producing further M-class flares over the coming days. The M-class flare produced a non-Earthward facing coronal mass ejection (CME) and was followed a few hours later by a weaker C-class flare, which was also not geoeffective. Monday’s solar prominence, while spectacular, also had no effect on Earth systems.

In more solar fun, a massive coronal hole is spewing solar wind that may reach Earth July 6-7:

A massive coronal hole can be seen at the top of this solar image from SDO (Credits: NASA/AIA).

A massive coronal hole can be seen at the top of this solar image from SDO (Credits: NASA).

While it has been a relatively calm year for a solar max, with a sunspot number of 101, clearly our Sun has a little bit more showmanship to come.

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Merryl Azriel

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, Merryl now enjoys reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. After three years as Space Safety Magazine’s Managing Editor, Merryl semi-retired to Visiting Contributor and manager of the campaign to bring the International Space Station collaboration to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee. She keeps her pencil sharp as Proposal Manager for U.S. government contractor CSRA.