Just when you thought old sunspot AR3088 was dead, it’s back. The decaying sunspot is growing again, adding more than 50% to its area over the past 24 hours.

This is the sunspot’s second time around the sun. The first time in August it peppered Earth with dozens of solar flares, and later hammered Venus with one of the strongest farside radiation storms in decades. The sunspot reappeared on the Earthside of the sun a few days ago and was renumbered AR3102. It appeared to be in decay.

Not so fast? Stay tuned.

Mike Terry to WOR iog (2022-09-17)


A massive solar flare knocked out radio in Africa and the Middle East Friday.

An active sunspot that is just about to exit the visible disk of the sun shot its parting flare at Earth, causing a radio blackout in Africa and the Middle East Friday morning (Sept. 16).

The solar flare, classified as M8 in the second-most energetic category of flares, departed from the sun at 5:49 a.m. EDT (0949 GMT) on Friday, disrupting shortwave radio communications in the sun-facing parts of the world. According to in new tab), amateur radio operators in Africa and the Middle East could have experienced signal distortion for up to one hour after the flare.

The U.K. space weather forecaster Met Office predicts there is a chance of further flares today before the sunspot AR3098 disappears behind the sun’s limb (the edge of the sun’s visible disk). Space weather forecasters think a coronal mass ejection (CME), a burst of charged plasma from the sun’s upper atmosphere, the corona, may have accompanied the flare and might be heading toward Earth. If so, the planet might experience a geomagnetic storm later in the weekend, the Met Office said in a statement(opens in new tab).

There was another, milder flare on Thursday (Sept. 15), the Met Office said, associated with a CME that is still being analyzed for its potential to hit and affect Earth. All that might be good news for aurora chasers as the spectacular polar lights might become stronger and visible farther away from their usual polar areas.

After the lively sunspot AR3098 takes its final bow, which is expected to happen later during the weekend, things are expected to get quieter, the Met Office said in the statement. There are three other sunspots currently visible on the sun’s face, all of which “appear stable and relatively magnetically simple,” the Met Office said. Space weather forecasters currently don’t detect any suspicious activity that might signal an approach of other active sunspots behind the sun’s eastern limb that might not yet be visible.

There is also currently a coronal hole in the sun, an opening in the magnetic field lines, from which solar wind blows at a higher rate than usual, which might further contribute to the aurora activity at higher latitudes. All of the solar wind and CMEs combined are not expected to trigger more than a minor geomagnetic storm, meaning electrical and radio communications technologies on Earth should not experience any disruption.

Mike Terry to WOR iog (2022-09-17)


SOLAR WIND SPARKS BRIGHT AURORAS: A stream of solar wind hit Earth’s magnetic field on Sept. 4th, sparking some of the brightest auroras in years over parts of the USA. NOAA forecasters knew the solar wind was coming and correctly predicted the G2-class geomagnetic storm. However, the storm is lasting longer than expected and could persist through Sept. 5th.

Ydun Ritz (2022-09-04)


GEOMAGNETIC STORM WATCH (G2): NOAA forecasters say that G1 (minor) to G2-class (moderate) geomagnetic storms are possible on Sept. 4th when a stream of solar wind is expected to hit Earth’s magnetic field. The gaseous material is flowing from a large hole in the sun’s atmosphere:

This is a “coronal hole,” a place where the sun’s magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape from the sun’s corona. It looks dark because glowing-hot plasma that should be there is gone. It’s on its way to Earth.

If the geomagnetic storm materializes as predicted, auroras could be visible in the USA as far south as Idaho and New York (geomagnetic latitude 50 degrees).

Ydun Ritz (2022-09-03)


Unexpectedly, a CME hit Earth’s magnetic field today, Aug. 30th at 1920 UT; it was a glancing blow. This appears to be yet another CME launched by departing sunspot AR3088 near the edge of the Earth strike zone. Minor G1-class geomagnetic storms are possible in response to its arrival.

Ydun Ritz (2022-08-31)


GEOMAGNETIC STORM WATCH: NOAA forecasters have issued a geomagnetic storm watch for Aug. 18th and 19th when a series of CMEs is expected to graze Earth’s magnetic field. Individually, none of the impacts will be particularly direct or strong, but collectively they could cause a G3-class (strong) geomagnetic storm. The primary source of the CMEs, unstable sunspot AR3078, is still actively flaring today. Updates  @

Ydun Ritz (2022-08-17)


GEOMAGNETIC STORM WATCH: Minor to moderate geomagnetic storms are possible on Aug. 17-18 when a CME is expected to sideswipe Earth’s magnetic field. The storm cloud was launched earlier today by an explosion around sunspot AR3076, described below. NOAA analysts are modeling the CME for a more precise estimate of impacts and arrival time.

Ydun Ritz (2022-08-14)