- Posted July 13, 2012 by
Belmar, New Jersey
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Light Years: Your view of space and stars
Monster Sunspot AR1520 Erupts
Sunspot AR1520 has erupted, causing the largest solar flare of the summer. AR stands for 'Active Region'.
I took these photos of the sun using a Canon digital camera through an 800mm lens. A solar filter was placed in front of lens. Never try to photograph sun in mid day without a solar filter.
The sunspot system is huge. To get a sense of scale, 109 Earths could fit across the Sun's disc, meaning the Earth could fit inside some of these spots.
When the sun erupts, it sends out charged particles in a 'solar flare'. These can interact with the atmosphere, causing aurora visible in the skies at night. They can also affect satellites orbiting Earth, causing damage or interference in communications, GPS, and other data transmission..
Astronomers have been watching this sunspot because of its large size, wondering if it would erupt, and it did on July 12th. How it will affect Earth remains to be seen. If you have clear skies at night, look to the North for signs of aurora.
Photos taken 13 and 12 July 2012 from Belmar New Jersey USA by Mike Black. Mike is a science teacher and photographer.