Reversed Polarity Sunspot

June 2, 2022: A new and unusual sunspot has emerged in the sun’s southern hemisphere: AR3027. It is a reversed-polarity sunspot; its magnetic field is backwards.

Above: A magnetic map of the sun’s surface from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

According to Hale’s Law, Solar Cycle 25 sunspots in the sun’s southern hemisphere should have a +/- polarity. That’s positive on the left, negative on the right. However, the magnetogram above shows the opposite. Sunspot AR3027 is breaking the law!

Studies show that about 3% of all sunspots violate Hale’s Law. In some ways, reversed polarity sunspots act totally normal. For instance, they have the same lifespan and tend to be about the same size as normal sunspots.

In one key way they are different: According to a 1982 survey by Frances Tang of the Big Bear Solar Observatory, reversed polarity sunspots are more than twice as likely to develop complex magnetic fields, in which + and – are mixed together. Reversed polarity sunspots are therefore more likely to explode.

AR3027 could become a source of flares in the days ahead. Stay tuned! Solar flare alerts: SMS Text.

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