A new sunspot is firing off solar eruptions and here's what it looks like on video

Our otherwise peaceful sun was rocked by a five-hour storm in the early hours Tuesday, Oct. 26.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded several eruptions on the limb, but not facing the Earth. It is unclear where the explosions originated from, given the angle they took relative to Earth. SpaceWeather.com, a space weather tracking site, suggested that it was a sunspot or dark concentration of magnet activity on the sun’s surface.

SpaceWeather.com reported that at least half a dozen explosions took place during the short movie. "The blast site is just behind the edge the sun. It is almost certain to be an unstable sunspot.

The report said scientists will be able to see the region better when it rotates in the view of Earth in approximately 24 to 48 hours. Because the sun is a huge ball of gas, its rotation can vary by latitude. However, it takes 24 Earth days for the equator to rotate and more than 30 days for the poles.

Similar: The sun's fury: Worst solar storms ever recorded

This NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory image shows an active region of the sun (visible at the top-middle right) as the sun rotates into view on October 26, 2021. Image credit NASA/SDO, EVE, HMI and AIA science teams.

This year marks the start of an 11-year cycle in solar activity. It began in December 2019. In general, the beginning of a cycle has fewer sunspots or eruptions. Those features then increase as we reach peak, which is in this case expected to be mid-2025.

Although it is not clear how strong the next solar cycle will prove to be, scientists agree that solar cycle 25 (the current one) will see a lower average number of sunspots than usual. This range will be between 95 and 130 at peak, as opposed to the typical 140 to 220 sunspots.

NASA's SDO telescope is one of many spacecraft and telescopes that look at the sun to improve predictions of solar weather. If a strong flare is directed towards Earth and is accompanied with a stream charged particles, known as a coronal Mass ejection, it can cause problems like shortening satellites or damaging power lines.

Follow Elizabeth Howell @howellspace. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @Spacedotcom


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