A BEHEMOTH SUNSPOT EMERGES: A large and active sunspot is rotating over the sun’s southeastern limb on Oct. 17th. J. P. Brahic sends this picture of the behemoth from Uzès, France:
“I inserted a picture of Earth for scale,” says Brahic. The sunspot’s primary dark core could swallow our entire planet with room to spare.
This sunspot could cause a sharp increase in solar activity over the weekend. Earlier this week, while it was still hidden behind the southeastern limb, the active region unleashed several M-class solar flares and hurled a massive CME into space. Considering the fact that the blast site was partially eclipsed by the edge of the sun, those flares were probably much stronger than their nominal classification. Now that the sunspot has revealed itself, X-flares may be in the offing.