A s t r o A l e r t
POSSIBLE STRONG SUNSPOT COMPLEX TO ROTATE INTO VIEW SOON
Roughly two weeks ago, an active region known as Region 10786 (or simply Region 786) increased in complexity as it approached the western limb of the Sun. As it rotated out of view behind the western limb, it spawned a powerful X-class solar flare and a fast coronal mass ejection. The trajectory of the ejected mass took the bulk of the space weather disturbance away from the Earth. During the last two weeks, this active region has been rotating from the western limb, behind the sun and back toward the eastern limb. In the process, it has been blamed for producing numerous strong coronal mass
ejections that originated from behind the Sun – supposedly related to
energetic solar flare activity.
Old Region 786 is due to return to the eastern solar limb and rotate
back into view during the next 72 hours (it will be assigned a new number when it returns). There is excitement concerning its imminent return because of the potential volatility associated with this region. If the region retains its volatility, it has the potential to be the source of several additional major solar flares during the next two weeks. Approximately one week from now, it should be in a fairly good position for producing Earthward-directed coronal mass ejections. As a result, aurora observers should be aware of the increased risk for auroral activity (northern lights)during the next two weeks. Much more will be known once the sunspot complex rotates into view and presents itself for material scrutiny during the next 3
to 5 days.
As the region rotates into view, solar observers should monitor the
eastern limb for signs of activity. Volatile active regions are often
associated with active prominences, strong surging and sometimes powerful sprays of mass outward. Such observations require hydrogen-alpha solar filters to be attached to telescopic equipment. For those who do not have such equipment, near-realtime views from various professional solar observatories can be seen on-line by visiting: SPACEW SUN NOW.