11:50 AM | Humongous sunspot AR1520 now facing the Earth, but it has been relatively quiet during the last 48 hours
Sunspot AR1520 has now rotated into a position that is directly facing the Earth, but so far it has been relatively quiet and has only produced moderate-strength solar flares. From this current position on the sun, AR1520 could unleash flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that could have a high latitude impact including auroras and potentially some satellite and radio transmission disruptions depending on how large the flare is. NOAA forecasters estimate that this sunspot has about a 15% chance of producing the strongest-type of flare during the next 24 hours which is classified as an X-flare. This gigantic sunspot, one of the biggest in years, is so wide it stretches roughly 139,000 kilometers across the sun which is about 11 Earth diameters. This particular sunspot is even larger than its predecessor, AR1515, which was visible on the sun last week before it rotated around to the back side of the sun. Stay tuned.