Significant Farside Explosion

Jan. 4, 2023: Something just exploded on the farside of the sun. SOHO watched the debris–a very bright and fast CME–billow away from the sun’s southeastern limb on Jan. 3rd:

It won’t hit Earth. NOAA analysts have modeled the CME and determined that the edge of the storm cloud will narrowly miss our planet a few days from now.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory detected shock waves from the blast wrapping around both of the sun’s poles. This suggests a very powerful explosion–possibly an X-flare. Radiation from the flare was eclipsed by the edge of the sun, reducing its intensity by one to two orders of magnitude, so that Earth-orbiting satellites detected only a C4-class event.

Whatever exploded will soon turn to face Earth. Helioseismic echoes pinpoint its location no more than 2 days behind the sun’s eastern limb:

This might be old sunspot AR3163, which spent the last two weeks transiting the farside of the sun. It was big the last time we saw it in December and may have grown even bigger since. Stay tuned! Solar flare alerts: SMS Text.

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Sunspot Counts Hit a 7-Year High

Jan. 2, 2022: December was a busy month on the sun. How busy? Senol Sanli of Bursa, Turkey, answered the question by stacking 26 days of sun photos (Dec. 2nd – 27th) from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory:

“There were more than 24 sunspot groups, some of them quite large, congested in two bands on opposite sides of the sun’s equator,” says Sanli.

The congestion of dark cores catapulted the monthly sunspot number to its highest value in 7 years:

This plot from NOAA shows the ascending progression of Solar Cycle 25. It has outperformed the official forecast for 35 months in a row. If the trend continues, Solar Maximum will either happen sooner or be stronger than originally expected–possibly both. Stay tuned for lots more sunspots.

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