Monday, August 22, 2016

Some Solar Updates

by Stephanie Osborn

Just a few tidbits today, guys.

FYI we had another spotless couple days. Scarcely two, but there was nothing yesterday and today there is a spot rotating around from the far side. According to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center there is one already on the near side continuing to decay — yet it doesn't show up — and the one rotating to the near side is one that rotated completely around. Judging by the STEREO imagery, however, there isn't another spot on the entire solar surface.

That said, there are some interesting magnetic field patterns in the inner corona in the Solar Dynamics Observatory's 211b channel, and that might indicate where the mysterious unseen spot group is supposed to be. Have a look at this image and look just over coronal hole 07, and you'll see it:

Said SDO channel image also shows the coronal holes, but they're moderate currently. We had a passage through an enhanced solar wind stream from one over the weekend, but it wasn't impressive and only mildly unsettled the geomagnetic field.

This magnetogram (also from SDO) shows that, plus the group rotating around, plus ANOTHER that also isn't showing up.

So yes, there's some activity, but it isn't a lot.

The Weather Out There Is Frightful: Solar/Space Weather and What It Means for the Earth and You

Our Sun is an active star. It may even be a variable star. Sunspots, flares, coronal mass ejections, all are signs of its activity. What kind of effect does it have on Earth? Other than the occasional sunburn, could it be dangerous? Has it been dangerous in the past? What can we expect in the near future?

With any luck, while it isn't about solar/space weather, I should have some exciting news for my fans sometime this week!

~Stephanie Osborn