Wednesday 8 September 2021

THESE SUNSPOTS COULD SWALLOW PLANETS: Solar Cycle 25 springs to life with massive sunspots AR2866 and AR2868 growing rapidly and turning to face Earth and producing a C-class flare which coincided with a mag 7.0 quake in Mexico's Acapulco area: Big sunspots can produce big flares

Sunspots AR2866 and AR2868 are crackling with C-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

It is a few years since we have seen sunspots this big on the face of our sun. Big sunspots can produce big flares. For the rest of this week, the two will be squarely inside the Earth strike zone. Any flare or CME would be a direct hit buffeting Earth's weakening magnetosphere.

THESE SUNSPOTS COULD SWALLOW PLANETS: is claiming these sunspots AR2866 and AR2868 are growing rapidly and turning to face Earth. This movie from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows their development during the past 24 hours:

How big are they? The entire planet Jupiter could fit comfortably between the primary cores of AR2868 (on the right). AR2866 (on the left) might soon be even bigger. The active region has almost doubled in size since yesterday.

The massive sunspots on our sun have produced a gust of solar wind which buffeted Earth's magnetic field on Sept. 7th around 1400 UT. The sharp uptick in solar wind speCed was unexpected, arriving too soon to be a CME from the B7-class solar flare only two days earlier.

Less than 16 hours earlier an alert was falsely generated by an automatic system at USGS claiming a mag 6.5 had occurred off the coast of British Columbia, in Canada, however the major quake alert was removed by USGS, see picture below. It was quickly confirmed to be false and manually deleted. USGS say they will update this page when we know details of the error.

Click on image to enlarge.

However, last night at around 12.00/1.00 UTC, our sun produced a medium-size C-class solar flare which coincided with a mag 7.0 quake in Mexico, see graph below.

Credit Space Weather Prediction Centre.

Credit USGS

The powerful earthquake shook the beach resort of Acapulco damaging buildings and causing at least one fatality. Yesterday's quake was the first major quake, (mag 6 or higher) of September and the 108th of 2021, according to USGS.


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