ACTIVE SUNSPOT: New sunspot 1389 is crackling with M-class solar flares. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded this extreme UV flash from the active region at 2151 UT on Dec. 29th:
Although the sunspot is not directly facing Earth, its flares can affect our planet. X-rays and UV radiation from yesterday’s flares created waves of ionization in the upper atmosphere, altering the propagation of radio waves. The phenomenon was particularly strong over Europe where radio amateurs using low frequency receivers detected sudden ionospheric disturbances (“SIDs“) above Ireland and Italy. Student groups who wish to detect solar flares in this way can ask about obtaining a SID monitor from Stanford University.
NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of more M-flares during the next 24 hours. There’s also a 5% chance of X-flares