The sun is getting active again.... (5-10-12)
While the weather around central New York may be quieting down for the end of the week there is a good chance it will get much more stormy out in space. Over the last few days, solar flares on the sun have become more frequent. One of the reasons for the increase in activity is this large sunspot on the sun. It is called “AR 1476”
Photo Courtesy Zlatan MerakovIt is estimated that this cluster is about the width of 10 earths. The folks at NOAA have already observed a number of what are called M-class flares but they also say the sunspot “appears to be on the verge of producing something even stronger.” They are forecasting a 10% chance of an even stronger X-class flare within the next two days that that could cause not only the northern lights but also disrupt radio and satellite communications along with GPS systems.If it seems like there has been more talk over the last year or two about solar flares and sunspots you would be right. We are coming to the latest peak in an 11 year sunspot cycle:
While the peak over the next year won’t be as high as the last one 11 years ago our chances for northern lights because of the increased sunspots are increasing. Of course we’ve got plenty of clouds around this evening but so far (as of 5:30 pm Thursday) any northern lights would be over the higher latitudes well north of central New York anyhow. The good news is we have clear skies in the forecast for tomorrow night so if we get another decent solar flare tonight or Friday we might have a show of northern lights to start the weekend. We’ll keep you posted plus make sure you check out this web site from NOAA that has the latest on the ‘space weather.’
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