12:15 PM | Sun is now showing a little life; NASA video captures a coronal mass ejection on the edge of the sun and that active region will face the Earth directly next week
For the most part, the sun has been relatively quiet this year despite the expectation that the solar maximum for the current solar cycle (#24) will be reached in 2013. Normally, the strongest type of solar flares which are classified by NASA as ”X-flares” are common around the peak of a solar cycle, yet there has not been a single “X-flare” all year. Perhaps, that may change over the next several days as the sun is now showing some life – at least for the short term.
Several sunspot regions are currently visible on the sun and a couple of these (officially called AR1730, AR1731) have magnetic fields that harbor energy for possible strong eruptions over the next couple of days according to NASA scientists. Perhaps of even more interest is what may be lurking on the eastern edge of the sun. NASA’s twin Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) probes captured a coronal mass ejection (CME) early today on the far side of the sun which will not affect the Earth as the Earth was not in the "line of fire" (CME image on The SI Weather Facebook page - courtesy NASA/Goddard/SDO). Next week, however, that active region on the sun associated with this particular CME will rotate into a position facing the Earth more directly; consequently, it will need to be monitored for possible additional eruptions. Stay tuned.