Friday 29 March 2024

NUMBER 11—More fireworks from 'GIANT SUNSPOT AR3615' which produced another X-class flare—The 11th X-class flare so far in 2024 as Solar Cycle 25 moves toward its climax probably next year!

Sunspot AR3615 has a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that threatens X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMIAR

Yesterday we witnessed more fireworks from 'GIANT SUNSPOT AR3615' which produced another X-class flare peaking at 20:56 UTC (Mar 28). Signs suggest no threatening coronal mass ejection (CME) will cause any damage to our magnetosphere. However, as the large sunspot cluster continues toward the southwest limb away from Earth it appears to be still growing. NASA is predicting a 75% chance of M-class flares and a 25% chance of X-class flares in the coming 48-hour period.

Yesterday morning giant sunspot AR3615 caused quite a stir in my house. I have recently downloaded a Magnetometer to my telephone to monitor solar flares.
Because there was a chance of flares yesterday I turned on the app, but, to my horror, as I turned it on—An alarm, sounded something like the 'Purge' screamed from my phone. I almost threw the phone at the wall and blurted out a profanity in shock! After a split second, I managed to gather what was left of my sanity and looked at my phone. The normal green numbers on the app had turned to a sort-off day-glow orange and was flashing the number '233'. I quickly realised I was witnessing a flare. It turned out it was the C8.5-class flare. Fumbling and shaking I quickly tried to grab a screenshot—And I did but, the flare had quickly subsided and I recorded the number at 99, see the pic left. At the same time, my wife came running into my office to see what all the commotion was. I'll try and do better next time!  

As giant sunspot AR3615 moves around the southwest limb of the Sun, Solar Cycle 25 is moving toward its climax which is probably next year, so far 2024 has produced many powerful flares and excitement. As the Sun heads toward a quiet spell some rather large sunspots appear to be emerging on the Eastern Limb, stay tuned.

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