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Weather forecasting and analysis, space and historic events, climate information

11:15 AM | Massive sunspot group now more directly facing the Earth

Paul Dorian


One of the largest sunspot groups in years that is officially called AR1476 continues to rotate on the visible side of the sun to a position that is more directly facing the Earth. As a result, coronal mass ejections (CMEs) will now have a better chance at affecting the Earth’s atmosphere and these could, should they actually occur, disrupt satellite communications and produce widespread, high latitude “northern lights”. AR1476 consists of four large sunspots which are all bigger than the Earth and the whole group is estimated to be more than 60,000 miles wide. In fact, sunspot AR1476 is so large that there are reports that people are easily noticing it on the sun without the aid of a solar telescope (not a good thing to do!). We’ll continue to monitor the situation over the next several days for possible CMEs from AR1476.