Solar Activity Resumes

Posted August 10, 2010 by User 1

The road to solar maximum is still a bumpy one. After what appeared to be a dive back down to "sunspotlessness" back in March, activity seems to be on its way up again.

On August 7 of last week, satellites detected an M1 flare, one the first M-class solar flare on the Earth-facing side of the sun of this solar cycle. Although a flare of class M is considered relatively moderate, the lack of solar activity for the past few years boosts its importance. A coronal mass ejection (CME) from this should reach Earth right around the time of this posting with auroras appearing shortly after for those at high latitudes. An earlier flare of class C3, the week before, triggered an even bigger CME which made a near-direct impact with the Earth's magnetic field bringing auroras down to mid-latitudes.

With the sunspot count having stabilized at around 45 (compared to July's 27), it's a good sign that our star is still alive. Forecasters probably will need to revise their current prediction as it does seem to be lagging behind again but at least the activity, as they predicted, is on the rise.


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