Violent Sunspot Group AR 1302 Unleashes a Flare
AR 1302 is one of the most active groups of sunspots that is currently crossing the sun. It is so large that it can be seen without a telescope. AR 1302's Coronal Mass Ejections (explosions of the Sun's corona which spew out solar particles-can be dangerous if they hit Earth) have caused geomagnetic storms and aurora activity around Earth's poles (blogged about last week). AR 1302 emitted x-class flares (which can cause radio blackouts and long radiation storms) Thursday and Saturday, which is the largest type of solar flare that can be emitted. Solar flares occur when there is a release of energy that was previously stored in a twisted magnetic field. It is thought that AR 1302 will be visible on the Sun for the next week.