SOLAR WIND SPARKS GEOMAGNETIC UNREST: Earth is inside a fast-moving (~600 km/s) stream of the solar wind, and this is causing geomagnetic unrest around the poles. The gaseous material is flowing from a northern hole in the sun’s atmosphere. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on Aug. 4 as Earth passes through the stream. Aurora alerts: SMS Text.
SOLAR CYCLE 25 STRENGTHENS: There’s no longer any doubt. New Solar Cycle 25 is coming to life. The latest sign came yesterday with the emergence of a new sunspot group, AR2770, inset in this magnetic map of the sun’s surface from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO):
AR2770 has two dark cores (each about the size of Mars) and is crackling with minor B-class solar flares. Its potential for even stronger flares will become clear in the days ahead as the sunspot turns toward Earth, more fully revealing its magnetic complexity.
Active regions from Solar Cycle 25 are now strewn across the sun’s northern hemisphere. These are places where magnetic fields are intensifying, creating islands of magnetism on the sun’s surface.