Two New Sunspots

TWO NEW SUNSPOTS: On Friday they didn’t exist. On Saturday they are big sunspots. Today, sunspots AR1726 and AR1727 are rapidly emerging in the sun’s northern hemisphere. The larger of the two, AR1726, contains nearly a dozen dark cores and spans 125,000 km from end to end. Click to view a 24-hour movie recorded by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory:

AR1726 is the fastest-growing and, so far, the most active. It is crackling with C-class flares and seems capable of producing even stronger M-class eruptions. Because of the sunspot’s central location on the solar disk, any explosions this weekend will be Earth-directed.