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Many readers are writing to ask if this sunspot is going to produce a major solar storm today, July 7th. Such a storm was "predicted" by a set of crop circles in England, and the solar blogosphere has been abuzz with speculation. The answer is "no." A major storm is not in the offing. Sunspot 1024 is relatively large, but it does not have the kind of complex magnetic field that poses a threat for major eruptions. Crop circles, it turns out, are not a useful tool for forecasting solar activity.
Today, the sunspot is growing again. It now measures 125,000 km from end to end, almost as wide as the planet Jupiter
The size of the spot makes it a fine target for backyard solar telescopes. And it is worth watching. Sunspot 1024 is the first big sunspot of new Solar Cycle 24, and it is crackling with minor but photogenic B-class flares. By itself, this one active region won't bring an end to the deepest solar minimum in a century, but it does show that the sun's magnetic dynamo is still working--a fact some had begun to doubt. More sunspots are coming, so stay tuned.
Originally posted by brokenheadphonez
Because that's where we're headed.
The electron flux readings are an indication of the number of solar particles trapped by the magnetosphere. What's happening now seems to be a return to "normal" levels after an increase which began on June 29. It seems to happen periodically and might have something to do with the so called "holes" in the magnetosphere, the connection of solar wind magnetic fields with those of Earth, allowing particles to enter and collect in regions of the magnetosphere where they otherwise could not.