HUGE SUNSPOT: If you have a solar telescope, point it at the sun. A huge sunspot is turning toward Earth. Philippe Tosi of Nîmes, France, took this picture of AR2192 on Oct. 18th:
An inset picture of Earth shows the scale of the sunspot. All by tself, the primary dark core could swallow a planet twice as wide as our own.
Big sunspots pose a threat for strong flares, and this behemoth is no exception. Last week, while it was still on the farside of the sun, AR2192 unleashed several potent blasts including this massive CME. Now it is crackling with C-class flares that could herald something stronger: NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of M-class flares and a 5% chance of X-flares in the next 24 hours.