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The Solstice Blog

The Sun has been going Insane lately!

26 Oct 2014, 12:57 UTC
The Sun has been going Insane lately!
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The sun is definitely hitting its usual ‘rebellious’ phase on its 11 year sunspot cycle, where it flares up at literally everything.
The biggest sunspot observed in 24 years has been releasing huge amounts of energy, in the form of X-class solar flares. In the past week this sunspot, designated AR 12192, has released 3 X-class flares, including a huge X-3.1 on Friday. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has been watching the light show.
Sunspot AR 12192 – Credit: NASA/SDO
Okay so the Sun is blowing up, what does all this mean?
Let’s start with Sunspots. A sunspot is a place on the sun where there is a huge amount of magnetic activity. This activity can slow down convection currents in the solar photosphere and cool down a region of the sun. Now when I say cooling I’m still talking like 3000-4000 Kelvin, but that’s definitely less than the usual 5500 K. This cooling causes the region to appear dark and spotty. Hence the name sunspot.
Sunspots appear in Black on the surface of the sun
A solar flare is a huge release of energy from a sunspot, similar to Trillions of Atomic Bombs going off at once. They are ...

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