Old Sunspot, New Activity

OLD SUNSPOT RETURNS, SOLAR ACTIVTITY INCREASES: Crackling with solar flares, a large sunspot is emerging over the sun’s southeactive limb. It appears to be AR1944, returning after a two-week trip around the farside of the sun. Earlier today, astronomer Karzaman Ahmad photographed the active region from the Langkawi National Observatory in Malasia:

According to tradition, sunspots that circle around the farside of the sun are re-numbered when they return. The new designation of AR1944 is AR1967. “Sunspot AR1967 is as big as Earth!” notes Ahmad.

Earlier this month, AR1944/AR1967 produced an X1-class solar flare and one of the strongest radiation storms of the current solar cycle. Is round 2 about to begin? Solar activity is definitely increasing as AR1967 comes around he bend. Earth orbiting satellites have detected at least five M-class solar flares since yesterday, including this one recorded on Jan. 28th (07:30 UT) by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory:

More flares are in the offing. NOAA forecasters estimate a 5% chance of X-flares and a 50% chance of M-flares during the next 24 hours