Close-up of a solar monster

By Phil Plait | July 11, 2012 8:27 am

Looking back on it, I should’ve realized friend of the BABlog and masterful solar photographer Alan Friedman would send me a jaw-dropping picture of the vastly ginormous sunspot cluster AR1520 that I wrote about yesterday.

And of course he did:

Holy solar retinopathy! [Click to embiggen.]

This huge cluster of spots is just now coming around the edge of the Sun’s disk, having formed on the far side where we can’t see things directly from Earth. It’s showing up just as the also huge Active Region 1515 is moving around to the Sun’s other side. Since our star takes about 25 days to spin once, these new spots will be visible for another week at least. They may grow in size, and they’ll certainly change shape, and it’s a decent bet they’ll blow off an interesting magnetic storm or two. AR 1515 sure did, and this cluster may be even bigger. Size isn’t a guarantee of activity, but it’s correlated.

Like I said yesterday, keep checking SpaceWeather and Universe Today for updates on this monster!

Image credit: Alan Friedman, used by permission.


Related Posts:

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For your viewing pleasure: Active Region 1302

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Pretty pictures

Comments (6)

  1. Phil, check these photos out as well. Very nice depth in them.
    http://www.astrosurf.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/034876.html

  2. Phil – is this actually AR 1520 or 1515? You corrected the earlier post – not sure if this is a new region or more of the same old(er) one.

  3. SkyGazer

    I´ve seen them with my naked protected eyes.
    Awesome.
    Long time since I´ve seen sunspots like this with no aid.
    Lovely!
    Miss a little earth in the photo though for more awesomenesiating.

  4. Carey

    > Size isn’t a guarantee of activity

    So what you’re saying is… it’s not the size of the boat that matters, but the motion of the convective plasma?

  5. Cindy

    2: Bill,

    If you head over to the Space Weather link, they have the sunspots labeled on the image and according to that one it’s 1520.

    Went out at noon today with my solar filter and saw it. Was also showing others at my school.

    Way cool.

  6. Lorena

    this reminds me of a van gogh painting :D awesome

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