Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's Flare Season!

Active Region 12192 has grown to 2410 millionths of a solar hemisphere (0.2410 % of one side of the Sun), making it one of the larger active regions in Solar Cycle 24. It unleashed an X1.6 solar flare at 1400 UTC (10:00 am ET) today. Here is an HMI continuum, image with the visible active regions labeled. It had already been the site of several M flares and a half dozen C flares. This pattern of large active regions (and large flares) is common for Solar Cycles. Some of the largest flares ever recorded were in the later stages of Solar Cycle 23, and were also in the southern hemisphere of the Sun. I have been told AR 12192 is visible to a well-protected eye without a telescope. The rain in the Mid-Atlantic will prevent me from testing that, but others can check that out. (Always use appropriate eye protection when looking at the Sun! Eclipse glasses or other tested and approved filters should be used.)

This active region has caused a "Major Flare Watch" to be declared, so the two calibration maneuvers SDO had scheduled for today will be done in two weeks. Here is a summary of our projected activities for the rest of 2014.

  • 10/20/2014: Null Bias Application
  • 10/29/2014: EVE Cruciform (@1800ut)
  • 10/30/2014: Null Bias Removal
  • 11/05/2014: EVE FOV (1315-1537 UTC) and HMI/AIA Flatfield (1630-1907 UTC) Calibration Maneuvers
  • 11/12/2014: Null Bias Application
  • 11/22/2014: Lunar Transit (2229-2304 UTC)
  • 12/01/2014: Null Bias Removal