M-class solar flares, Sunspot region 2673

Monday, 4 September 2017 16:35 UTC

M-class solar flares, Sunspot region 2673

It has been a long time since a sunspot region managed to get us really excited but earth-facing sunspot region 2673 has succeeded in doing just that. Be sure to keep on reading why you should be getting excited as well!

M-class solar flares

First things first: if you follow us on Twitter or are subscribed to our push alerts you likely already know this but this night the Sun produced a small M-class solar flare. The solar flare peaked at M1.27 (R1-minor) around 05:49 UTC. Sunspot region 2673 was the culprit and that doesn't come as a surprise as you will find out soon. Sunspot region 2673 is facing Earth at the moment so the big question is of course: did this event launch a coronal mass ejection? The answer is no. There are currently no earth-directed coronal mass ejections to be seen on SOHO/LASCO imagery.

As we were writing the above text, another M-class solar flare took place. An impulsive M1.5 solar flare peaked at 15:30 UTC, again from sunspot region 2673. The flare's impulsive nature means it is very unlikely to launch a coronal mass ejection.

Note: there are currently no recent SDO/AIA images available from the SDO website. The AIA images on their website have been stuck since yesterday for some reason. We do not know the cause and hope the issue will be fixed soon. Our automated flare detection system on Twitter uses these images so keep this in mind that the flare detection image might be outdated. SDO/HMI images are not affected.

Sunspot region 2673

Today's attention goes for a full 100% to sunspot region 2673. This sunspot region has been growing at a truly spectacular rate. The region consisted of just one single sunspot only 48 hours ago but has now grown to a complex Beta-Gamma-Delta sunspot region which harbors energy for a big solar flare.

NASA/SDO HMI imagery showing complex sunspot region 2673 in visible lights (left) and magnetogram (right)

On the images above we see sunspot region 2673 in great detail thanks to NASA's SDO space craft. There are a bunch of small spots surrounding the main leader spot and if we take a look at the magnetogram we see that a whole bunch of these spots are of opposite polarity. All of these spots are connected with each other meaning we are looking at a mix of compact delta structures. It has been a long time that we've seen such a promising sunspot region and more low-level M-class solar flares (R1-minor) are almost a certainty. If the current magnetic complexity persists we might even see a high-level M-class solar flare (R2-moderate) or dare we say it: a low-level X-class (R3-strong) solar flare. No guarantees, we are still in solar cycle 24 but there is a bunch of potential in this sunspot region!

Any mentioned solar flare in this article has a scaling factor applied by the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), the reported solar flares are 42% smaller than for the science quality data. The scaling factor has been removed from our archived solar flare data to reflect the true physical units.

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