2014-01-07

Giant Sunspot group AR1944

It is a rarity in times of weak solar activity: A huge sunspot group has appeared on the solar disk. The group, dubbed AR1944, is much bigger than Earth. While now directed towards our planet, any major eruptions in it's vicinity may increase chances of aurora at least in higher latitudes in the coming days.


I've spotted AR1944 twice today, this morning with a 200mm telephoto lens, and in the afternoon with the 8" Zeiss-Refractor of Aachen Observatory. But no fancy equipment is needed to see it, just protect your eyes with a solar filter (e.g. a pair of eclipse "glasses"), and you'll have no trouble seeing it naked (but protected) eye. Do not attempt to see it without proper protection, you will risk your eyesight!

Finally, here 's a short video of the sunspot between passing clouds:


Update: At approximately 18:32 UTC, neighboring region AR1943 released a powerful X-class solar flare, accompanied by a partially earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME), raising the odds for mid-latitude aurorae on thursday to friday. Stay tuned for updates!

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