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Here comes the sunspot! – Astronomy Now

The Sun on 24 October, displaying sunspot AR2887 close to the Sun’s south-eastern limb. Image: SDO/HMI.

A serious new sunspot has simply rotated into view on the south-eastern limb space of the Sun’s photosphere. Officially designated sunspot AR2887, it was first seen peeping across the Sun’s limb on 22 October. Just 24 hours later, it had doubled in dimension and proven considerably elevated complexity because it cleared the Sun’s limb and astronomers have been in a position to get a greater take a look at it.

The Sun captured on 24 October in excessive ultraviolet (304 angstroms – 0.0000000304m) by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). Sunspot AR2887 is clearly very lively and extra lively areas are poised on the japanese limb.

Furthermore, solar spacecraft are retaining tabs on three extra lively areas on the far facet of the Sun (but to be numbered) which is able to shortly rotate into view. Indeed, the picture above, taken on 24 October by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, already reveals proof of them on the Sun’s japanese limb.

What are sunspots?

Sunspots are are momentary areas of intense magnetic disturbance which end in cooler areas on the Sun’s photosphere which look darker in distinction with their environment. Sunspots can seem individually or in teams and may final for weeks or months.

Sunspots happen over a median 11-year cycle and presently the Sun will not be lengthy into Cycle 25, which started in December 2019 and is predicted to proceed till 2030. In 2019, 281 days – 77 per cent – have been spotless, enhancing to 208 spotless days (57 per cent) in 2020. So far this yr solely 60 days (20 per cent) have gone with out a seen sunspot, so solar exercise is selecting up as we head towards solar most and we expertise sunspot most; then the Sun appears by no means to be with out some sunspots. The final solar most occurred in 2013/2014.

A launch of pent-up power within the sunspot area could cause solar flares and colossal solar storms termed coronal mass ejections (CMEs). NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) has already reported AR2887 has produced a number of B-class flares (flares are labeled A, B, C, M or X, with X being essentially the most highly effective).

As AR2887 turns to face Earth within the coming week or so, astronomers will probably be searching for additional ejections which may doubtlessly head our approach. CME’s can work together with Earth’s magnetic area to provide us splendid auroral shows. On a extra sober be aware, very highly effective flares could cause CME’s which might reek havoc with orbiting satellites and even have an effect on Earth-based know-how resembling energy grids and long-distance radio communications.

Observe sunspot AR2887 for your self

Although the Sun culminates presently at a comparatively lowly altitude when put next with high-summer, you may nonetheless simply comply with the progress of AR2887 and the potential new sunspots. One of the most secure and best strategies to look at the Sun in white gentle is by the tried-and-trusted methodology of projection.

The Sun’s disc can simply be projected via a small refracting telescope onto a chunk of white card. Note the cardboard defend. Image: Geoff Elston.

A small telescope, of 60–100mm (2.5- to 4-inches) in aperture (or a pair of binoculars) is used to undertaking the Sun’s picture onto a chunk of white card held about eight inches behind the eyepiece. Never look instantly on the Sun when aiming your telescope; quite, look ahead to the tube’s smallest shadow on the bottom. Indeed, by no means look instantly on the Sun at anytime, as ding so could cause extreme and even irreversible harm to your eyesight.

A devoted H-alpha telescope offers nice views of sunspots and different solar phenomena resembling prominences.

A full-aperture white-light solar filter, product of both metallised Mylar movie or, ideally, coated glass, and equipped by a good astronomy seller, will give nice views. You may go down the H-alpha or Calcium route by buying a devoted small telescope, resembling these manufactured by Lunt and Coronado.

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