Two Warning Shots (October 23, 2003)
Hi-res TIF image (3.5M)
As if announcing that it was approaching and ready to rumble, Active
Region 484 fired off two small coronal mass ejections (CMEs) on
October 18, 2003 not long after it rotated into view. A spectral
line of singly-ionized helium at 304 Ångstroms shows the state of the
solar plasma at roughly 60,000 C. A day later, this active region,
moving across the lower left side of the Sun, then shot off two
M-class flares (moderate-sized) and one X-class flare (the major
category). As it rotates further towards the center and right side
of the Sun, it may well send a solar storm heading towards Earth. As
of Oct. 22, the sunspot region had grown to about the size of seven
Earths, making it one of the larger sunspot groups seen this year.
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