Monday, February 8, 2010
The Sun is really crackling back into life !
Have a look at this spectacular image of the sun. In the centre of the image is sunspot group 1045, which has burst into life, emerging from nothing over the past few days. Spaceweather.com says the sunspot group is crackling with M-class solar flares. The sunspot number at time of writing this is 51, the largest I've seen it since the start of the current cycle, Cycle 24, a few months back.
But that's not all. On the left limb of the sun (arrowed) you can see that another group of sunspots, 1046, is emerging, so it's exciting times up there, and exciting times down here as we amateur radio enthusiasts might well benefit from a lift in activity in the ionosphere. Last night I worked Canada on 20 metres at 8.38pm local time, long after the band usually closes. 20 metres was noisy last night, perhaps resulting from an increase of electrons coming from the sun. It went quiet shortly afterwards. There was a lot of QSB also but I managed to work VE3YJ with 57 and 55 reports each direction.
One amateur radio astronomer has captured the "sound" of some of the energy bursts from the sun. Hear some audio clips of what these bursts sound like at http://www.heliotown.com/Sun_20100207_Ashcraft.html