THE SUNSPOT IS LEAVING: Sunspot AR2699, which hurled a CME toward Earth and sparked bright polar auroras on Feb. 15th, is about to vanish. The active region is rotating off the face of the sun this weekend. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory is monitoring the sunspot’s magnetic canopy now seen in profile over the sun’s western limb:
A sunspot’s magnetic canopy is where solar flares happen. Magnetic lines of force criss, cross, and explode in a process known as “magnetic reconnection.” Got a backard solar telescope? Keep an eye on the sun’s western limb. With its canopy in full view, AR2699 might fire a parting shot worth photographing.