BIG SUNSPOT, CHANCE OF FLARES: Yesterday, sunspot AR2339 unleashed an intense X2-class solar flare. It might not be finished. The active region has doubled in size since yesterday, and it has a ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field that harbors energy for more eruptions. Amateur astronomer Philippe Tosi sends this picture of the behemoth sunspot from his backyard in Nîmes, France:
As the blue-circular insert shows, several of the sunspot’s dark cores are larger than Earth itself. From end to end, the sunspot group sprawls more than 100,000 km. These dimensions make it an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. If you have one, take a look. You might catch some action. NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of M-class flares and a 10% chance of X-flares on May 7th.