BIG SUNSPOT FACES EARTH: Colossal sunspot AR1785 is now directly facing Earth. The active region has a ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class flares, yet so far the sunspot has been mostly quiet. Could it be the calm before the storm? NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of M-flares and a 10% chance of X-flares on July 8th.
Sprawling more than 11 Earth-diameters from end to end, AR1785 is one of the biggest sunspots of the current solar cycle. In fact, it can barely fit on the screen. Click on the dark core below to see a complete hi-res picture taken by Christian Viladrich of Nattages, France:
To take the picture, Viladrich used a filtered 14-inch Celestron telescope. All those irregular blobs surrounding the primary dark core are boiling granules of plasma as small as the state of California or Texas. It’s a very sharp picture.