SUNSPOT SURPRISE: Big sunspot AR2665 continues to expand and grow. It is now more than 75,000 km long with multiple dark cores larger than our entire planet. At sunrise on July 8th, Peter Lowenstein of Mutare, Zimbabwe, saw AR2665 through morning clouds and mist at the Cecil Kop Nature Reserve:
“In this surreal photograph, taken at just the right moment when clouds were not too thick to obscure it, complex sunspot AR2665 and its chain of smaller cores is clearly visible on the solar disk,” says Lowenstein. “I used a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ60 camera in sunset scene mode to capture the picture.”
AR2665 is by far the largest sunspot of 2017 and it temporarily interrupts the sun’s headlong plunge into a spotless Solar Minimum. So far AR2665 has not produced any strong flares, but this could change if the sunspot’s rapid growth destabilizes its magnetic field and causes it to explode. Stay tuned for updates as the sunspot turns toward Earth.